Work-Life Balance: 7 Working Women Share How They Make The Impossible Possible

Every working woman talks about trying to achieve work-life balance—but does anyone actually do it? These entrepreneurs weigh in.

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Five diverse business women gathered around a table with a laptop and papers on top of it at the office with a blackboard in the background

Photo: iStock

In partnership with Surex

Work emails on Sunday nights. Phone calls after 5 p.m on Fridays. Early morning breakfast meetings. Most of us regularly allow work to creep into in our off-duty hours. But what about making time to nurture our personal lives? It’s an ongoing challenge that can result in excess stress, fatigue and a host of physical, emotional and psychological challenges.

For some, finding a state of personal and professional equilibrium is a priority that requires a strategic, disciplined approach. For others, it’s like the fax machine and the Rolodex: a relic of the now-forgotten WiFi-less, 9-5 world.

Here, seven entrepreneurial women share how they approach balancing their personal and professional lives—if they do at all.

Think of balance as a budget

“[I approach balance] almost like making a budget and sticking to it. With my job, there are some evenings I have to spend away from home, so I set a limit for how many nights away I spend each week, and I don’t exceed it—and I don’t feel guilty about it either, because it’s what I budgeted. I don’t always achieve my goals each week, but at least I’ve defined what it looks like. If it’s something important to you, you should be strategic in how you approach it.” 

—Eva Wong, Co-founder and COO of Borrowell

Go with the (ebb and) flow

 “There is no balance, there is only an ebb and flow. Some days or weeks or months are going to be work-heavy, and [all you can do is] accept that and focus on what needs to be done. To stay healthy, you must find time for both work and life—but it is almost always at different times in your calendar.”

—Adriana De Luca, Founder, CEO and Chief Culture Officer of Tiber River Naturals

Be flexible

“The rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship means you need to be flexible and go where you are needed most. Sometimes your business needs you; sometimes it’s your family. Being flexible is a must. It’s also imperative to carve out time regularly for self-care to rejuvenate and recharge. Even if you only have a few minutes, you can sit in quiet, meditate or take a walk in the park.”

—Michelle Lalonde, President & Chief Growth Officer of Tiber River Naturals

It’s all about mind-body balance

“Work-life balance is achievable, but it means placing as much importance on psychological health as people place on physical and financial health. We need to commit “daily” time to some proven elements that help our mind-body connection. I aim for two to three things a day. I start with a stretch in the morning and a five-minute meditation; I fit in a walk midday for 20 minutes with some music on; and I give myself a bedtime—between 11 p.m. and midnight. And no phone in bed anymore!”

—Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski, Founder and President of Publicity and Promotions at rock-it promotions

Walk the talk

“I’m motivated to be a good example for my team. I have 150 women who work for Waxon and a management team that is 100 percent women, many of whom will soon be looking to start a family. I think about the example I’m setting for them, and about how I can create an environment and culture that supports my team in being able to achieve their professional goals while starting a family.”

—Lexi Miles, Founder and CEO of Waxon Laser Bar

Take advantage of flex time

“I try to do the best I can at managing it all, but when you are running a small business (especially in the early stages) sometimes it’s just not possible. I have missed bedtime for a meeting or been on a phone call while my kids are in the sandbox, but I do what I can to make it work and try not beat myself up too much over it. On the flip side, running my own business means I have a more flexible schedule, so I can take my kids to swimming during the middle of the day or surprise them at school pick-up, and that’s something I would not be able to do if I was working in a traditional job.”

—Kate Gertner, Co-founder of Play with Pieces

Find your passion and the rest will follow

“Don’t focus too much on work-life balance. Find the thing that lights you up from inside out and know that there are going to be a lot of years where it’s really hard. Have a great support network that you can trust and that will understand why you can’t see them all the time. You don’t want to feel like you’re running the risk of losing relationships because you’re working so hard.”

—Caleigh Rykiss, founder of Body Love Inc (BOLO)