THE BLOG

6 Ways Top Women CEOs Balance Work and Life

08/13/2014 10:51 am ET | Updated Oct 13, 2014
  • Ashley Crouch CEO of Appleseed Communications, LLC, International speaker, writer.
Brand New Images via Getty Images

Work-life balance has been a topic of angst for years. From Anne-Marie Slaughter's article, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," to Max Schireson's recent abdication of his executive role to spend more time with his family, to recently published books like The Path Redefined, women -- and men -- are still trying to understand what a full, integrated life looks like.

The fact is, women have more personal and professional choices available than ever before. But with those new options for personal and professional life comes confusion. What does balance look like... really?

I turned to the pros who mastered the fine art of juggling it all, only to find that "work-life balance" may require rethinking. Read on to learn six top ways women CEOs are changing the definition of work-life balance.

1. Integrate.

"I believe in the idea of integration over the idea of balance. Your work should be something that you are passionate about, and your loves should be the things you prioritize, whatever or whoever they may be. When you do so with ruthless focus (which involves saying no to everything else), all of the noise falls to the sidelines and all of that time that gets robbed from you returns like a breath of fresh air." -- Caroline Ghosn, CEO of Levo League

2. Don't be perfect.

"I strive for excellence, never perfection. My first priority is to my husband and our relationship, next my daughter and finally my relationships with work. If my daughter is crying and I'm on a conference call, I excuse myself from the call and say, "I'll have to call you back." I know that affects how I am as a boss, but I am an excellent boss, not perfect. And when it comes to self-care, I want to look fashionable, but leave room for messiness." -- Athelia Woolley LeSueur, CEO of Shabby Apple

3. Keep perspective.

"My number one principle is to keep everything in perspective. Having spent a large part of my work life covering actual disasters (Katrina, tsunamis, earthquakes..) I'm pretty aware that most of the crazy events in MY life are not disasters. Ergo, I freak out very rarely, perceive most things and manageable, and most problems tend to roll off my shoulders. I've seen real disasters, up close, so I don't create catastrophes around things that are just unfortunate challenges to overcome." -- Soledad O'Brien, CEO of Starfish Media Group

4. Conquer self-doubt with self-love.

"Before we can 'lean in' or 'have it all,' we have to prioritize self-care through self-love. Focusing on self-love through positive self-talk and counteracting the negativity and doubt that we commonly fall into as women will remove the roadblocks that hold us back from living optimally. I focus on being my best friend first before any professional achievement or leadership endeavor I may pursue. That opens my consciousness to be in the right headspace for success." -- Claudia Chan, Founder and CEO of ClaudiaChan.com and SHE Summit

5. Prioritize choices.

"There is no such thing as balance. It is a myth that lives where Unicorns live. It's important to prioritize choices. I have a couple of non-negotiables: including working out, meditation, and family time. I start my day at 5:00 a.m.. After about half an hour on meditation and reading, I go to the gym. I'm home by 7:00 a.m. and helping get the kids, husband and house going for the day. I try to be home by 6:00 p.m. and then it's technology free until the kids go to bed. I only get a couple of dedicated hours to them each day, so I try to do it without distraction. Some days I do great and others I fail miserably!" -- Susan Peterson, CEO of Freshly Picked

6. Make time to recharge.

"Take one day at a time. Make time to recharge, whatever that looks like for you. If I do not invest that time, the hours I spend working won't be as productive. I usually give myself Saturday mornings to relax (usually with a good magazine in hand). More importantly, I get energy from being around others, so I surround myself with friends and family -- whether it's an early morning walk with friends or a dinner with my husband." -- Alexa von Tobel, Founder and CEO of LearnVest.com and New York Times-Bestselling Author of Financially Fearless

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