9 Female CEOs Share How They Balance Work and Life

Adulting is hard, am I right? You’ve got work responsibilities to get through, friendships to maintain, hobbies that you want to factor in—and of course, workout classes to kick butt in. But when work commitments start to bleed into your precious free time, or drain you to the point where you can’t fully enjoy all the other things you like to do when you’re not at work, it’s probably time to re-evaluate your work life balance.

Often, we work extra hard because we think it’ll give us an edge. But by doing so, you put yourself at risk of burning out. How can you find that happy medium? We asked a few female CEOs to share their best secrets for striking a healthy work life balance. And if they can get it all done and still make time for the stuff that matters, so can you! Here’s what 10 female CEOs had to say on how to balance your work life and your actual life.

1. Figure out what’s most important—and surround yourself with good people

“Get clarity. Know what is most important to you and who you are. Once we know that, we can prioritize our work day for maximum productivity by setting clear goals, training and delegating to team members, setting deadlines, and implementing systems to achieve them. We also should have a support system. At home, it could be our spouse, parent, babysitter. At work, we need to choose the right colleague to ‘hang out with.’ Surround yourself with people who understand and respect you. Work with a mentor so you do not need to re-invent the wheel. Have a group of friends who share similar goals, i.e. who will keep you accountable. The ‘balance’ you ultimately get is the peace of mind, knowing you live your full life in concert with your values, and you are there for your family and children when they need you the most.”
Dr. Emily Letran, CEO of two multi-specialty dental practices

2. Taking personal time doesn’t hurt your business

“I started a global marketing firm 16 years ago. For the first five years, I worked all the time. I was scared to go on vacation for fear that all my hard work would unravel. Then my in-laws, father, mom and stepdad all started to get sick, and I wanted to be there for them. They all lived thousands of miles away, so I started to work less. I had to take very good care of myself or I would not have been helpful to anyone else. I started working out every day. I started planning ‘me’ time on my calendar. I became more comfortable with white space in my day and stopped overscheduling myself. And guess what? My business did not suffer. In fact, it has become stronger. We moved up the food chain and have better clients. I enjoy my work more now than ever before. I am having more fun. It has truly been a case of something good coming out of something bad. Working for yourself and building a business you started is incredibly rewarding and gratifying. It is all about controlling your calendar. I no longer try to squeeze in more meetings or hit multiple events at night. As an entrepreneur, I can be selective. Less really is more. I’ve chosen quality over quantity.”  
Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO, Mavens & Moguls

3. Maximize your time

“When you plan your day or week, be sure to make a point to schedule time with your family and friends and fun activities. Consider whether you can outsource your time-consuming tasks. The more help you get, the better you can run your business.”
-Zondra Wilson, CEO of Blu Skin Care. 

4. Practice self care regularly

“I have a mantra I call 8-3-3. Eight hours of sleep a night, three nutritious meals a day, and three sweaty workouts/challenging yoga practices/meditation sessions per week. If you see your life as a three-sided tent, you can only withstand one of the flaps coming unhooked at a time. If you aren’t getting enough exercise but you are sleeping and eating well, you can withstand it for some period of time. But if more than one flap is unhooked at a time, your tent will fall over. If you always have one flap unhooked and flapping in the wind, you won’t have good stability. So practicing 8-3-3 regularly is how I try to stay centered, healthy and happy.”
-Lorna Borenstein, CEO and founder of

5. Stay present when you’re with company

“Do not look at your phone when you’re with others. I am super militant about being ‘present’ and in this in turn means I enjoy whatever I am doing, rather than worrying about emails coming in.”
-Ishveen Anad, CEO of

6. Take things as they come to you

“The day I realized there would be no perfect 50/50 balance is the day I managed my work and life modes. As a mom of four, I have so much going on at home, and being married to my husband and business partner makes it hard to keep work in the office. I tried so hard to keep that 50/50 balance and focus on the business only during office hours, then family after hours. But that only added to my stress! Once I accepted the fact that things with the kids will come up during the day, and stuff with the business can happen at night or on the weekends, I was much more at ease. Now I manage everything as it comes to me. Of course, I still have a schedule and routine. But it’s okay if things get off once in a while. I know I’ll find my way back on course.”
-Nellie Akalp, CEO of

7. Hire a trustworthy staff you feel comfortable delegating to

“I balance work and life by being ultra-organized and doing a lot more delegating. It’s important to bring on and trust your staff to take over many more tasks when life gets busier. I’ve been lucky to have a great team. I also focus on planning ahead more, especially my meals and snacks, so I can make sure I eat healthy.”
-Jackie Arnett Elnahar RD, Esq., CEO of

8. Make (and stick to) a schedule

“Managing a work/life balance can be tough, but having an organized schedule makes it possible. Every week I have workout classes on my calendar (like yoga and barre), which I make a priority, as I find working out to be stress relieving and invigorating. I also schedule specific times of day to work, which might be at night if I take a break during the day to grab lunch with friends. I have a specific number of hours of work and goals each week that I fit in around the important events and people in my life, and that has made all the difference.”
-Alexandra Pierson, founder and CEO of

9. Pause to practice gratitude

“Every morning before I get out of bed, I spend five minutes doing two things: The first is that I focus on gratefulness and identify all of the people and things for which I am grateful. It helps give me perspective on the day and my life—and it feels good. The second is that I identify the top three items I want to accomplish that day. While I always keep a list and stay organized regarding my day’s agenda items, by identifying the top three I’m able to focus on the big picture and not just the ‘to-do’ list items. It also gives me a bit of perspective on what the day will look like and where I want to put my energy for the day.”
-Deborah Sweeney, CEO of 

Danielle Page is the founder of ThisisQuarterlife.com, a blog that provides necessary information for navigating the awkward phase of adulthood known as “quarterlife.” Danielle’s work has been featured on Cosmo, Woman’s Day, Your Tango, Bustle, The New York Times, Thought Catalog, Elite Daily and the Huffington Post.