Finding The Illusive Balance Between Work and Family Life

CEOs endure an incredible amount of pressure – both from the business end of the spectrum and from the family side. While the needs of the company always seem to take precedent over the wants of the family, few CEOs of retirement age profess that they wish they’d spent more time at work and less time with the family. Rather, the majority claims that if they had focused on creating a more harmonious balance between work time and home time, they’d have been more successful in their careers. The following are five ways that CEOs can better balance their business and family time:

  • Exercise at work – While the benefits of exercise are undisputed, the mental clarity and sense of physical well being that comes from a good cardiovascular workout or weight training session can be incredibly beneficial. CEOs need to stay in good shape to counter grueling schedules and long hours, and the stress relieving benefits of working out can help balance the inevitable mental strains that C-level executives face.
  • Block out 90-120 minutes per day – It is common to want to cram meetings, calls, and collaboration time into every thirty-minute time block in the calendar. Better yet, reserve or “gray out” 90-120 minutes out of each day. Inevitably, these timeframes will be devoted to a variety of tasks that would have been later hours or completed at home – on family time.
  • Schedule Appropriately – Understanding at which point in the day one is most effective can enhance efficiency and creativity. Some CEOs are “morning people,” while others work well into the wee hours of the night. Understanding when the best work occurs is paramount to ensuring that the CEO’s schedule is appropriately constructed.
  • Pick one day and work from home – Working from home has been proven to actually increase the amount of real work that is accomplished. Depending on the home work environment, distractions can be minimized and real, focused work can take place. Plus, the CEO can take a couple hours off during the middle of the day to have lunch with the family, pick the kids up at school, or simply connect with someone outside of the work zone. One of the best pieces of advice for the CEO who wants to try working from home one day per week is to focus on spending a couple of hours thinking, rather than working, on that one home-based day. CEOs don’t typically get enough time to think and are always challenged to put in long days of work.
  • Unplug a few times per year and bond with family– Easier said than done for most C-levels, but by making a conscious choice to ignore emails, texts, routine conference calls, and other work-related interferences for a few days or even a week at a time, the CEO will find increased clarity and more enjoyment of the family time at hand.

CEOs are tasked with creating and facilitating the vision of the company. They are relied upon for guidance and must be accessible to leaders within the organization around the clock. That said, CEOs are people – just like anyone else. They need to take care of themselves if they want to take care of others. By understanding the importance of physical health, mental well being, and effective time management principles, CEOs will be able to more effectively handle the challenges of balancing work responsibilities with family time.