By Alison Bowen
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Aimee Cohen, a career coach who owns her own consulting company shares five things high-powered women need to know about achieving work-life balance.
At a leadership conference in a Chicago hotel last summer, high-powered female executives swapped stories about their parenting struggles. They recounted concerns about missing soccer games and feeling guilt when they worked late.
These women were attending a Women on Point conference, which offers leadership training aimed at female leaders.
Many of the women who participate have concerns about climbing the ladder in male-dominated fields. For one, being vocal about assigning time to anything but work in corporate America isn’t always lauded.
“Women opt out because they think the sacrifices are too great, and they’re not going to have work-life balance,” said Aimee Cohen, an Evanston, Ill., native and Women on Point co-founder.
Cohen, who now lives in Denver, is a career coach who owns her own consulting company. We asked her what five things high-powered women need to know about achieving work-life balance.
1. Define it yourself. What balance looks like differs for everyone. A CEO with twin toddlers might want a different schedule than one with teens. So don’t assume that what works for someone else should be your aim. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all,” Cohen said. She suggests thinking through priorities and how time outside work can be attained. Do you prefer telecommuting, or coming in earlier and leaving after nine hours? “Everybody does it differently,” she said.
2. Think of work-life balance from a calendar-year view. If you work in the accounting or finance industry, before April 15 might be steadily busy. Consider balance in terms of not only the hour, day and week but also month and year. If you know June might be busy, build some buffer into July or August. Recognize needs might change as your family evolves. Employees with young children might prioritize being home for dinner, but with busy teenagers, schedules shift. Or perhaps a partner or spouse travels, and you want to align trips. “It really is a teeter-totter, you’re constantly trying to balance it out,” Cohen said.