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  Maintaining a work-life balance, at peak performance, is a tough ask for the average professional or entrepreneur. And it’s extra-challenging for anyone who wants to go further, to be the beacon of excellence across the various spheres of their life.
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Mothers are especially burdened by this reality, as they also have to care for their children and ensure that their homes are in order. It’s only reasonable that they should seek the advice of women who have been where they are and succeeded nonetheless. In this article, we’ll run through some of that advice, sourced from the leading women (and mothers) of our era on how to navigate through a Work-Life Balance. Here they are:

Be Transparent About Your Responsibilities

Solape Akinpelu is the founder and CEO of Harvest, a FinTech that provides over 60,000 women with the resources they need to improve their financial health. She believes that you can keep a decent relationship with loved ones if you’re transparent about your work and what it entails. “My son asks a lot of questions and helps out with work when I’m travelling. I love that we are able to have that kind of relationship,” she says.

Act in Line with the Seasons of Your Life

Tara Fela-Durotoye, CEO of House of Tara, opines that “you can never really achieve a perfect balance”. Instead, she recommends approaching tasks that are the most important in specific seasons of one’s life. “Balance is fluid,” she explains. “There are seasons when my husband or my children need me more than my business does. Right now, we have gotten to a stage in the business where I need to put in more of my time and I am extremely busy with expansion plans (for House of Tara). It’s important for every mum/wife/businesswoman to pay attention to the seasons.”

Take Your Health Seriously

Work can take up so much time and effort that it’s easy to forget to care for oneself. That’s something that Obiageli Ezekwesili, economic policy expert and former Minister of Education has experienced firsthand. But she’s revealed that she’s learned to accord her health the attention it deserves. “My number one health habit is to get a good shower,” she says. “Then feeding…It has to be a nutritious meal, not the quantity but the nutrients it offers. (Also), my deep loving relationship with my husband is an important part of my health habit.”

As for Help When You Need It

Oremeyi Akah, CCO at Interswitch, is a wife and a mother of three boys. According to her, professionals who have significant commitments in both their private and work lives need all the help they can get. She says that she has succeeded at her job because she understands her strengths, and surrounds herself with colleagues who can fill in for her weak points. “The balance of life will come as you know and maximally utilize your personal strengths while being very aware of your weaknesses. This allows me to make better use of my time.”
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Be Firm About Prioritizing Tasks

A big challenge for many working people—including mothers –is the existence of multiple things that compete for their attention all at once. Oremiyeh Akah recognizes this; she has to deal with it every other day. Her advice for people struggling in this respect is straightforward: prioritize ruthlessly. “Knowing that you cannot do everything (at once), you need to be able to always answer this question: ‘What is important now?’” she says. “If you’re able to consistently answer this, I believe it will enable you to strike a perfect balance almost every time.”

Use a Schedule

If you’re going to achieve a work-life balance, you will have to create a realistic schedule and stick to it. Ibukun Awosika, CEO of the Chair Center and former Chairman of First Bank, advocates for this. She recounts an example from her own life. “When my youngest child was in prep school, I created a diary entry of the key events at his school. My assistant would go to the school’s website and take down all the important dates from it. All of this went into my general schedule, and company board meetings had to be fixed along with them. I did this to protect my first place of responsibility.”

Never Stop Learning

Mary Njoku, CEO of ROK Studios, describes striking a balance between home and work as “a struggle.” But she says that she’s thrived at work because she’s adopted the attitude of a perpetual learner. “I’m still learning and growing every day… All I do is to ensure that I keep pushing myself”. She notes that this has enabled her to have a successful career while trying to build her home along with her husband (who is also a well-known entrepreneur).

Own the Value You Create

Ibukun Awosika asks women in business to “won the value (they) create.” This, she says, will give them a sense of pride and will help insulate them from feeling intimidated by people who want them to feel guilty about the manner in which they allot their time. “Don’t let anyone guilt-trip you. I say this to women who are married, who have children, or are single and are building their careers.”

 Create Time to Relax

Oby Ezekwesili admits that she’s a workaholic and that delving into work gives her pleasure. But this doesn’t stop her from carving out time to get refreshed. In her case, that means spending time with her husband and reading. “I create time to relax, especially with my husband. He’s a humorist; time spent with him is plenty of fun and laughter. Fun time is also when I read; when I do so, you would think I was having the most fun time in my life.” She considers grabbing moments to lay back as essential to maintaining productivity over time.
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Know What Works for You

In the end, there’s no one-size-fits-all manual for solving work-life balance. Working women need to adapt whatever strategies they’ve learnt from wise heads to their unique situations. Doris Okeyide, Regional Manager at Cummins West Africa, makes this point quite clearly. “Work-life balance for me is about planning and knowing what works for you and your family so that no aspect suffers,” she says. Doris insists that dealing with issues arising from limited time and bulging schedules takes tact, just as it requires the suggestions of more experienced persons.

Final Words

Dividing your time between work and other aspects of your life, consistently and in just the right measure, is a goal that eludes many. But it’s achievable. Hopefully, the tips shared here by top players in business and the public sector will give you a good idea as to how to handle things. Featured Image Source: BizMerlinHR
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This article was first published on 14th May 2023


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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