UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School - Carolina Women in Business Conference

5 tips for prioritizing work-life demands

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School - Carolina Women in Business Conference

Photo courtesy Cindy Tsai (MBA ’16)

Between juggling a 40-plus hour work week, raising children or taking care of aging parents, many women face the ultimate balancing act.

Panelists at the 2015 Carolina Women in Business Conference shared their top five tips for striking a work-life balance.

Surround yourself with a good support team.
Both men and women need to talk about work-life balance, says Carolyn Yuen, an associate at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. As the mother of a 1-year-old, Yuen found it was important to work with her husband to divide tasks like daycare drop-off and pickup and putting the baby to bed.

Your support team can be made up of anyone – spouses, friends or family – but it’s important to have people that will support you in your goals.

Create a life plan.
To better allocate your time, outline your life in a written plan.

Looking at big picture goals will help you understand your values and help you figure out what areas are most important to invest your time in, says Danielle Bishop (BSBA ’01), founder and president of HB Hospitality.

It’s important to consider your purpose in life. For Lynne Gerber, managing member of Coast to Coast Sites LLC, this means bettering the lives of others. When making important life decisions, Gerber says she considers whether they coincide with her mission.

Be happy with your choice.

At the end of the day, you need to make life decisions that will make you happy, says Amy Kochan, principal and account manager at The North Highland Company.

Consider your purpose in life and reflect on what’s most important to you, suggests Gerber. When making significant life decisions, she considers whether they coincide with her mission to better the lives of others.

When faced with the decision to take an extra meeting at work or flip pancakes with her son, the choice is clear, says Kochan.

Whatever you decide, it’s important to be satisfied with your choice. Friends, coworkers and family can tell if you are unhappy.

You can choose an unconventional route.
Achieving work-life balance means different things to different people. For Bishop, it means feeling in control of her day.

Bishop started her own company because she wanted flexibility and power over her life. Her sister, an accountant at Thundershirt, found work-life balance by asking to work a less conventional schedule. Instead of working her five days a week, she works longer hours over a four-day work week.

Live in the moment.
Life as a working mother can be hectic, but taking time to truly be present for her family and children has been extremely fulfilling, says Kochan.

Set boundaries.
Don’t be afraid to set boundaries around the things that are most important to you. For Kochan, this means blocking off her calendar from 5-7:15 p.m. each night so she can eat dinner with her family. Make it a priority to create time in your schedule to enjoy what’s really important.