Top CEOs Share Their Secrets for Living a Balanced Life


We all have those days where 24 hours just doesn’t seem like enough time. We stare at our calendars, overwhelmed with the combination of work, home responsibilities, and social invitations that are piling up, wishing that a Time Turner, a Tardis, or a DeLorean would appear and let us bend time to our needs.

But would these cheats actually solve anything? Probably not – no matter what tools you have, it’s hard to escape an unstable and unhealthy schedule if your routine and mentality don’t foster a balance.

Time management and work-life balance are universal struggles, so let’s turn to the experts – executives who somehow find the time to manage their personal lives while directing massive organizations on a national or global scale. These leaders have had decades to make mistakes, hit walls, battle fatigue, and come out victorious. We can gain significant insights from their experiences and words.

Time and Choice 

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch said, “There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences, ” during a 2009 Society of Human Resource Management conference.

This is a powerful reminder that, even when you feel like the demands on you are untenable, you still have agency over your schedule. How often do you exercise the power to say “no” to social outings or work assignments that could push your schedule out of control?

Balance with Environment

Former Intercontinental CEO Andrew Cosslett told Forbes, “That’s the nice thing about the British pub–it’s a nice mixing pot. The great thing is, talk about business or family is not allowed. It’s another place I can switch off.”

Understanding and maintaining the barrier between your personal space and your workspace is extremely important for a balanced life. This is particularly crucial for those who work at home, since the lines between your personal and professional life can blur. Remote workers should explore ways to keep their work life separate by considering a shared office or co-working space, or by partitioning off an area at home where the purpose is work-specific.


In her article for Business Insider, CEO of Palo Alto Software Sabrina Parsons emphasizes the need for companies to prioritize family and work responsibilities — something that’s especially important for working moms.

“Let’s demand that corporate America’s norms change to accommodate women — those who want to have families and realize that having a family does NOT make us work less or achieve less. Companies that dictate our schedules, decide when and how we work, and believe that a pregnant woman is a liability is what prevents women from rising to the top.”

The Many Facets of Life 

The “work-life” dichotomy can become a limiting view of the world, especially when you think about all the other skills needed to achieve your goals. CreativeLIVE CEO Mika Salmi contributed this advice, which emphasizes a well-rounded approach:

“My ideal balance is more than work + life.  It is a combination of family + intellectual stimulation (usually work) + physical activity + creativity (usually art). Occasionally I do things that involve two or even three of these at one time but all four is very hard. So the key is to make time in every week or even every day for all of these four to be touched. This does not happen by accident and requires being purposeful about it.”

Executive leaders can teach us volumes about productivity, effectiveness, and time management. What are some of your favorite life balance quotes? Feel free to share them below in the comments!


Loraine Kanervisto FOLLOW >

Loraine Kanervisto has been writing business, technology, and lifestyle features since 2008. She loves exploring how diverse communities interact with technology. Loraine spends her time tinkering with gadgets, exploring Seattle's lit scene, and hanging out with her two black cats.