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Can Successful Women Achieve Balance in their Lives?

Updated on July 7, 2012

Work, work and more work.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former U.S. State Department official and now a Princeton professor is the author of the The Atlantic article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”. I briefly caught her interview on The TODAY Show last week and it spoke to me because the past few weeks I had been pondering the very same question. Actually, truth be told, I have been doing more than just pondering; I've been actively trying to achieve a better degree of balance in my life.

I have the great good fortune to work from home which in and of itself, is a blessing. For the past 12 years, I've worked from home, usually 10 - 12 hours a day, some days much longer. I've been doing it for so long, that I had lost sight of how little else I do! That is until my youngest son Tyler, who is 12, innocently commented that I work from the moment I wake up until it is time to go to sleep. Initially, his innocent comment sparked a bout of intense guilt, but once the guilt subsided I realized he was 100% accurate and that something needed to change.


Can I Have It All?

I asked myself, "What's Missing? I answered "Time with my family & friends, health and wellness, and interests I am passionate about" and finding time to create my own happiness. I wondered "Can I be successful in my career and still have those things as well?" Surely there has to be a way for me to have it all.

First I decided to set some goals. Over the past 12 years of sitting at my computer, I've managed to accumulate 25 extra pounds. So goal number 1 is lose them. Next I realized I have 0 hobbies that I'm passionate about so goal number 2 is find a hobby. Finally, I tried to determine why I was working so much. It wasn't my employers forcing me to work, I realized, it was me! So goal number 3 is quit working each night at 7:00 pm, learn how to be comfortable with leaving the to do list unfinished and reconnect with my family.


Game Plan

With my goals freshly set and clarified I set out to set some action items that would help me towards achieving my goals. Decisions with no actions aren't decisions at all!

I've belonged to a gym for years, but like many successful business women, rarely found the chance to go. The intention is always there but working out is always at the bottom of the to do list and the first thing to fall off of it. So if health and wellness was to be a part of my future, I had to move it to the top of my list. I decided to wake each morning at 6:00 am so I could walk/run 5 miles with my mother-in-law. This tiny commitment made it possible for me not only to work on losing the 25 pounds, but also to connect with my dear mother-in-law, Marjorie.

I committed to trying new activities to expand my horizons. I had decided to try painting, Tai Chi, Belly Dancing and I'm returning to writing. So far I've painted my first picture, see inset and please don't laugh, I've already decided I'm NOT passionate about painting, I was proud of myself for trying however! I've found a Tai Chi group and several Belly Dancing ones - those activities are next.

Finally, I set an alarm on my phone at 7:00pm that says "Quit Working". Despite the initial agony it caused me to quit working with things left undone, I've found strategies that make quitting at 7 less painful. I now make a fresh to do list at 6:45 so all the items left undone are fresh items for the next day, leaving me a sense of completion. The first few days, I had no idea what to do with myself. Then, I talked to my coach, Matt Haddad and he suggested I double up on my goals in the evening, for instance work on the weight loss and the reconnect with my family by bicycling with the kids and my husband. What a success! My youngest son was thrilled that we had family bicycle night.

Keep reading to join me on this journey to prove that women can be successful in their careers and yet achieve balance in the rest of their lives.

Chime In!

Do You Think Successful Women Can Achieve Balance in Their Lives?

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    • susiebrown48 profile imageAUTHOR

      susiebrown48 

      6 years ago from Clearwater, FL

      Thank you Jeshon! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

    • jeshon profile image

      jeshon 

      6 years ago

      I'm sure it's possible, but it's not easy for everyone. You need to come to realise that everything has it's time, also work. Sometimes it's best to be just on vacation or not at work, we donät need to be online or reachable every second every day. Great hub!

    • susiebrown48 profile imageAUTHOR

      susiebrown48 

      6 years ago from Clearwater, FL

      Hi Ruchira, that's a great suggestion, I may try to implement it a couple of times a week at least. Thank you for the compliment on the painting, I used to say "I can't even draw a stick figure" so it was a major accomplishment for me.

    • susiebrown48 profile imageAUTHOR

      susiebrown48 

      6 years ago from Clearwater, FL

      Oh Nell I know how you feel. My oldest is 23 and I remember I put him in Kindergarten and then I blinked my eyes and he was graduating high school. The last 6 years of that timeframe I was working incessantly and I wish I had been more present. My youngest is almost 13 and I'm not going to let that happen again - trust me!

    • susiebrown48 profile imageAUTHOR

      susiebrown48 

      6 years ago from Clearwater, FL

      Thank you lilalollie for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

    • susiebrown48 profile imageAUTHOR

      susiebrown48 

      6 years ago from Clearwater, FL

      Thank you Dr. Pooja and you are right, finding our peace is game one, so often we completely miss out on that in pursuit of everything else. I've found that trying to stay present in the current moment helps immeasurably with that. Rather than revisit everything that's already happened or spend immeasurable time worrying about the future, I try to enjoy the present by slowing down and taking note of my present state, activities and company.

    • susiebrown48 profile imageAUTHOR

      susiebrown48 

      6 years ago from Clearwater, FL

      Thank you houseofjcjee, you are right discipline, determination and time management are key, I think, after my day yesterday, that sense of humor is also a prerequisite!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 

      6 years ago from United States

      it is difficult for a woman to have it all esp when she is working from home. I have been doing that for the past few years but then shut down once my kid is back from school and open up once he is bed. it sure is difficult but, women are determined to draw their priorties and are good in time management.

      good luck to you and your painting is awesome! loved it!

      many votes as interesting!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi, I know how difficult it is to stop when you are working, just one more page, one more order and so on, so its great that you found time to do other things, I look back over the last couple of years, especially when my son was still living at home and realise that I could have been out doing things with him, now he's moved I miss him! wish I had stopped then, so good luck and well done!

    • lilalollie profile image

      lilalollie 

      6 years ago from The Netherlands

      I hope they can achieve balance! Like your hub!

      Lilalollie

    • Dr Pooja profile image

      Dr Pooja 

      6 years ago

      It is difficult for women to achieve the best at both fronts i.e; family and profesion but what gives us peace mst be our priority.

    • houseofjcjee profile image

      houseofjcjee 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      I have always believed that women are best in time management and multitasking. Many women have proved that success is very much possible. It may be difficult but discipline, time management, and determination are the important keys.

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