7 Work-Life Balance Tips From Celebrities and Power Couples
A successful career and great family relationships --- you can have both!
Should I sacrifice my family responsibilities to become that independent, strong-willed, achiever I've always dreamed of?
Should I give up my dream to become a career woman [or man] and focus all my time and energy to rearing a family?
Or can I have both?
Work-Life Imbalance Plagues the World
The lack of work-life balance is a big problem for workers (and their respective companies) across the globe. For instance, in the UK, a Mental Health Foundation survey reveals:
• A third of the respondents feel unhappy about the time they spend at work.
• Because of work, 40% neglect other aspects of their life.
• 27% feel depressed, 58% feel irritable and 34% feel anxious when working longer hours.
• A person's feeling of unhappiness increase with increasing work hours
• More women (42%) report unhappiness than men (29%) due to conflicting life roles.
• About two-thirds of employees experience the negative consequences of work-life imbalance such as the lack of personal development, poor family relationships and physical and mental health problems.
Finding that “sweet-spot” between work and life is a problem for all workers, especially parents. The time a person spends at work is an important aspect of work-life balance. More time at work means lesser time for personal activities, leisure and family relationships. Like most countries in the world, America is not an exception --- an OECD survey shows that:
• 11.3% of employees are working 50+ hours a week.
• Full-time workers spend 60% of their day (roughly 14.3 hours) to leisure and personal care --- less than the OECD average of 15 hours.
If no action is done, this trend will continue to increase –-- putting the mental, physical and social well-being of workers at risk.
Self-Check: Are You Deprived of Work-Life Balance?
Many employees don't recognize that they are suffering from work-life imbalance (or choose to “endure” it for pay's sake). Identifying the problem early is crucial to maintaining a healthy body and rewarding family relationships. Consider asking yourself the following questions:
• Do you feel burdened by work and family responsibilities everyday?
• Do you feel that work is something that you have to endure until the weekend?
• Do you feel completely exhausted every time you come home at night?
• Do you think your life is out of control?
• Do you find yourself wishing you had a clone to tackle all your responsibilities?
If you've answered “YES” to any of these questions, chances are, you are deprived of proper work-life balance. It also means that you are more prone to health, mental and social issues that we are going to talk about later in this post.
“Without change, everything will
worse, not better.”
Stevan Hobfoll, PhD
“Your career won't take care of you. It won't
call you back or introduce you to its parents.
It will forget your birthday and wreck up your
car. Your career will never marry
you...treat you career like a bad boyfriend.
That way, if your career takes a turn, you can
always sleep with somebody else.
“Being a working mother can be fraught with
tension at certain times. I deﬁnitely relate to
the frantic fear that you’re screwing up — of
doing the wrong thing despite the best of
intentions. I get up very early and get a lot
of things done before my kids get up. And I
“Don't forget about your family in
your 20s. Because honestly, you're
gonna need them to baby-sit your
kids when you're in your 30s, and if
you've ignored them or been a
bitch to them, they're not going to
want to help you when you really
need it. And you will need it.
Because it's free.
“I wasn’t going to give up who I was
before I had the baby. It’s important to
stay true to that as an example — also
for my son to ﬁnd out what his goals
are, what he’s passionate about
doing...It’s a tough thing. I had a
moment leaving him today to get ready
for tonight of missing him, but every
working mom goes through it. They
know what it feels like.
“I think [balancing work and family]
is something that most women in
this country can relate to. It’s a
tough balance, trying to be the best
mom. And obviously my family is
my priority. And then also, I love
what I do, and I love that I get to
have a job that I enjoy so much and
gives me the freedom to spend a
lot of time with my daughter, frankly,
and travel and everything else. But
it is hard not to spend every
second with her.
“I was surrounded by plenty
of working moms. I was
brought up to believe I
could do anything I wanted
professionally and, of
course, be a mother at the
same time. But I’m ﬁnding
out that it’s complicated. It
requires a lot of thought
“I think it’s a false trade-off to
say quality time vs. quantity
– you have to have both. So
if you have long work hours
like I did, how do you get
rid of things in your life
you don’t need in order to
put that extra time into
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“I'll take all tasks that
can be done remotely,
like paying bills.
Sure! I'll take care of
stuffs that needed to
be done in person.”
Be explicit in deﬁning
each others' roles. And
do it in advance! It will
keep things from falling
through the cracks.
“Marriages require a lot of
attention and feeding.
Trae Vassallo You've got to make sure that the
relationship is healthy before you
worry about other things.
Many working couples take
their relationships for granted.
This should not be the case.
When you are with your
spouse, be fully present even
if you have an important
meeting tomorrow morning.
“By having logistical things taken
care of on the home front, I feel
like we’re able to spend real
quality time with our kids.
Consider hiring a nanny that can take
care of the kids and handle routine tasks
like shopping and child-chauffeuring.
No Time? Outsource!
No Time? Outsource!
With errands out of the way, you can
spend whatever little time you have in
building your family relationships.
“If the laundry isn't folded properly,
it's no big deal!”
There are no perfect marriages. If
you expect perfection, you'll end up
stressed and disappointed. Lower
you “Martha Stewart” standards and
don't hold each other accountable
for having a perfect life.
“While we were dating, we took
long walks together to talk about
issues and our relationship.
Now that we are married,
we are still doing it.
Whatever your habits are -
eating dinner together or
watching movies- make time.
It's a great way to decompress
and enjoy each other's
Rituals & Habits
You’ve got to deﬁne what is
important to you as a family,
and you’ve got to stick to it.
As a couple, set limits and
deﬁne what's best for your
family. For instance, if the
husband travels a lot, the
wife should choose a job that
doesn't require too much
I guarantee there are a bunch of [men]
in this room who say, ‘I really want to
marry someone who is a brilliant [career
person],’ but then when they get
married, they also want their spouse to
have kids and be a supermom.
Before marriage, have an
open dialogue about
your expectations of
each other. Be realistic.
Do you really want to use
your family, do you really
ever want to look at your
spouse and your kid, and
see your jailers?
Great friend, great spouse,
great parent, great career.
Is that not a package? Is
that not who you are? How
can you be one without the
A great career
Healthy family relationship
If you choose to do so, you can ALWAYS
have it all!
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HR management suit at
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