Ask the Boss — Balancing Work and Family

QUESTION: “I feel like my job is taking away from my family life. How can I strike a better balance between work and family without truly hurting my career? — Mary (Kent, OH)

A better question to ask yourself is how your family life would be if you didn’t have a job. There are times when we all have to consider our priorities. Donald J. Trump, Chairman and President, The Trump Organization

The key for me (married with a 9-and-11-year-old) is to prioritize. A wise woman who heads up Westin Hotels, Sue Brush, says her secret to success is to think of life/priorities as a triangle comprised of health, family and work. Personally my family is my top priority and everything falls in line after that. I think each woman has to determine for herself what her priorities are, then stick to them. This makes decisions and time allocations easier since you're clear on what's most important. Nevertheless, in my opinion the secret to balance is in the act of trying to achieve it. Cynthia Good, Founding Editor, Pink Magazine

At least three-fourths of working mothers and fathers surveyed by say work style adjustments such as flexible schedules, telecommuting and less travel have not negatively impacted their careers. Some tips to keep in mind for gaining a healthy work/life balance include:

— Earn the right. Before you approach your supervisor about implementing a more flexible work arrangement, you have to earn the right to do so. Work hard and establish yourself as a top player for the company and then propose an altered work schedule when the employer sees the value you consistently deliver.

— Keep one calendar. Schedule business and personal commitments on the same calendar to avoid overbooking yourself. This way you can avoid scheduling a client meeting at the same time as a soccer game or school play and save those vacation days for the big events in your children’s lives.

— Make time. At least once a week, schedule a family activity that involves interaction such as a game night, trip to the park, etc.

— Organize and compartmentalize. Set aside one night a week or a month to get organized at work. If you take work home with you, make sure your kids don’t see it. Check e-mails after bedtime. When you’re home, it’s all about them. Matt Ferguson, CEO,