Given the variety of personal hopes and commitments, there is no one set formula for finding balance. There are, however, a number of ways even the busiest professional can blaze a path toward a work/life balance commensurate with their needs and goals. Consider the following:
When a person’s definition of success remains open ended, that openness can lead to pursuits without end. Money, accomplishment, status – ultimately, what is enough for you? You're the only person who can set the thresholds that will allow you to feel comfortable that you’ve done enough.
Complement the quantitative approach above with a qualitative one. Over time, your definition of success can change. The markers that once signaled achievement may lose meaning, or new goals may arise that challenge old ones. Don’t defer quality of life issues until retirement; ask yourself what “living well” means for you here and now.
If you have spouse or partner, your career is not pursued in isolation, but in parallel with their careers and/or interests. By thinking in terms of the whole, as each career existing within the context of the other, you might be able to balance your mutual interests collectively. For example, if one partner travels frequently, it may be wise for the other to seek a more anchored career. Or if one is in a high-risk/high-stakes industry, it can be balanced with a more stable job with more predictable schedules and income.
Build out your support team
You (and your partner) may be able to “outsource” the tasks that would otherwise put stressful pressures on your time. Look for opportunities to hire others to help with childcare, lawn care, cooking, meal delivery, and more. Important note: Take care of your support team. Remember it may be cheaper – and more rewarding to all parties concerned – to offer attractive wages and benefits that to incur the switching costs of cycling through a revolving door of new hires.
Think strategically about location
It’s not just about having a desirable place to live. Think carefully about how location impacts your commute, your family obligations (school pick-ups and drop-offs), and access to resources that can make your life easier.
Look for opportunities that give you the flexibility you need to make the obligations you have. Can you work from home, at least part of the week? Is there wiggle-room in work hours and scheduling? Can you trade travel for time off?
Make it a practice to meet once a week with your partner to discuss the week ahead. You can remove a lot of stress by preplanning who does what during the week to come, making it easier for both of you to manage shared responsibilities with less conflict.