How do the world’s most successful women achieve the necessary balance between their working and home lives? Business Optimizer investigates.
In today’s fast-paced world, all of us can, at times, feel under pressure to “have it all”. As we juggle our home and work lives and seek to grasp the opportunities life offers, it can be hard to find the right balance.
Finding this optimum work-life balance can be especially difficult for women because there are no hard-and fast rules. Expectations may have changed about work, yet it is often women who retain much of the responsibilities of primary home maker and carer.
Business Optimizer has looked at how some of the world’s most successful women organize their lives in order to achieve an optimal work-life balance.
Spanx founder Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely is a billionaire businesswoman and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2012. Having created a multi-million pound business empire based on her chance invention of the breakthrough lingerie product, Sara is a champion of women in business.
She recognises the challenge many women face at work, telling the Balance Project: “I just layered the full-time job of being a mom on top of another full-time job at Spanx and then wondered why I was so exhausted. I started to notice changes in my health and couldn’t think as clearly. I feel like this happens to a lot of women. We just assume we will figure it out. There is no manual, and no way to truly prepare.”
To manage these competing demands on her time, Sara tries to organize her schedule and create routine wherever possible. She’s also a big fan of delegating – even if the delegated work is only 80% of how you envisioned it, that’s good enough, she says.
Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington
Huffington created the Pulitzer prize-winning Huffington Post. In 2011, AOL acquired her online publication business for US $315 million, making Arianna Huffington editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group.
Since taking a step back from operations, Arianna has spoken widely on the subject of improving work-life balance for both men and women. She argues that the pressure to succeed makes it very hard to look after oneself – and has done a lot of work to emphasis the need for sleep and self-care.
Professional Organizer Barbara Reich
Barbara Reich offers services to declutter and streamline the homes, schedules and daily lives of discerning NYC clients. She’s become a TV and online personality thanks to her success in helping others organise their lives.
However, she warns against the myth of “having it all”. She told the Balance Project, “No one has it all. The really successful people have done a good job of determining priorities and have learned to say no to other obligations and distractions.”
Reich is a big fan of eating the frog. She advises, “When you have a lot to do, do what’s the least desirable first. It will pave the way for a more productive day.”
Actor and Producer Reese Witherspoon
Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon agrees that the notion of “having it all” is a myth. She has said, “No one has it all. No one… even if it looks that way from the outside. You do the best you can and try and not worry.”
While her work schedule is far from predictable and can be punishing at times, Witherspoon tries to balance periods that are busy with work with fallow periods when she can spend time with her family.
She told TIME magazine, “I’m just trying to hold on, trying to make it through. My older kids help with the little one. It’s nice to have a big family… My mom worked, and I think it’s good for kids to see women working and being successful. I think it’s going to make them hard workers because they see that I don’t get much sleep. But I love what I do. I want them to grow up with passion. This is the one life you get, and you have to live it to the very end.”