Whether you're running a startup, rising in your company's ranks or otherwise trying to get ahead in business, balancing work and life can be tough. It's not impossible, though. Take it from these successful executives who share their advice on how to get ahead in your career, without leaving your important relationships behind.
1. Stay out of each other's projects if you work together.
"Try not to work with your husband or wife on the same project. [It's] really hard to separate personal from business and keep each other accountable. If you're working together, make this rule: Do not talk about or discuss work outside of the office, at home or when going out. Take time for the two of you."
--Grabr, a global peer-to-peer shopping and delivery platform.Daria Rebenok, cofounder and CEO of
2. Schedule a mandatory date night.
"Work will always get in the way as you are starting a growing a company, unless you set some strict time boundaries on when you won't let it interfere. My wife, Brooke, decided to have a date night every single Tuesday night, no matter what is happening at Weebly. We will put our phones away, turn the Apple Watches off and have an old-fashioned date night to catch up on everything that matters outside of work. We're definitely still trying to find the right balance, and I'm sure our formula will change when we have our first baby any day now... Our date night will have to be a party of three!"
--Dave Rusenko, founder and CEO of Weebly, a website hosting service featuring a drag-and-drop website builder.
3. Invest in being at peace with yourself.
"I'm not saying you should strive to be perfect--that's a losing effort. I'm saying you must strive to be at peace with yourself--with all your gifts and flaws. If you aren't happy with yourself, or if you aren't at least asking yourself the hard questions about who you are, then how can you be happy in your marriage?"
--James Rohrbach, CEO of language school Fluent City.
4. Schedule cooking time together.
"As a founder, I find my evenings are different than my partner who works a regular, 9 to 6 job as a software engineer. While in the evenings I am energized and continually thinking about my company, my partner needs to recharge, have alone time, and relax after his commute. As someone with a flexible schedule, I'm not tied to conventional work hours and my day is completely in flux. Key things I've learned are to schedule cooking time together to balance healthy dinners with opposite schedules, and to be grateful for my partner being my continuous sounding board, advisor, problem solver and cheerleader."
--Bird + Stone, a socially conscious jewelry line that helps women fight poverty.Elana Reinholtz, founder and CEO of
5. Choose your battles and admit when you're wrong.
"No matter how many years you've been together, relationships take compromise, effort, and empathy--especially when there's conflict. I can be sensitive and prone to internalize or exaggerate any criticism, when it just comes down to picking my battles. Understanding my partner's principles and knowing when to admit I'm wrong helps me stay calm and stable, despite my own aversion to conflict, so we can focus on what matters: love and trust."
-- Elliot ASTRSK PR, NYC-based PR agency for brands, apps and platforms.Tomaeno, founder and CEO of
6. Show gratitude.
"As an entrepreneur, I'm passionate about my vision and can easily dedicate all my time to make this dream come true. However, I often forget to think about how much sacrifice she had to make to allow me to chase my dreams. So I show my appreciation for her support by treating her to the spa, fine dining on weeknights or going on weekend getaways. Sometimes doing the little things to show how much you care is what matters the most."
--Victor Chang, cofounder of Tomofun, the company behind Furbo, a treat-popping dog camera.
7. Forgive and apologize.
"One of the greatest gifts one can give a marriage is the recognition and acceptance that there are times when you're going to get it wrong... When you will lose the work-life balance; when you will share too little or too much; when you will lean too heavily while it was [the other person] who needed the rest. Sometimes we find the right chord, and the role of work in your life is as important as it should be, and no more. But we inevitably falter, ask too much of them, or give too little. When that happens--as it does--we need to see more clearly, forgive more readily, and apologize more sincerely.
--Frank Zambrelli, 1 Atelier, a fully scalable, customizable luxury handbag handmade by artisans in New York City.cofounder and creative director for
8. Dial-in your communication skills.
"For me, it's all about communication, whether at AUrate or personally or specifically in a marriage. I've been with my husband for over 10 years now and you are inadvertently going to hit speed bumps, for whatever reason that may be. In order to get through this, I've noticed that communication is key. Explaining your standpoint, where you are coming from, and really listening to the other, without judgement and calmly, can get you through anything. Open, honest and frequent communication--it might sound cliché, but maybe that's for a reason--it works."
--Sophie Kahn, AUrate, a direct-to-consumer fine jewelry brand that donates a book to a school for every piece sold.cofounder of
9. Make the most of your weekends.
"The New York City pace is fast. On top of that, my husband and I are ships in the night Monday through Friday. I work a typical schedule of 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the office, plus evening hours online after my daughter goes to bed. He, however, trades Asia equities and works from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Therefore, our time together is really critical to us. So we make the most of it by going above and beyond to spend weekends as a family and have couple time as much as possible. Monday mornings my husband and daughter walk me through Central Park on my way to work so we can chat about the week. Friday nights we do whatever it takes to have dinner together as a family. Many think a schedule like this would be hard on a couple, but we get the best of both worlds. We can focus on our daughter and our careers during the week, text and email like a dating couple throughout the week, and have newlywed weekends Friday through Sunday."
--Michelle Cordeiro Grant, founder and CEO of Lively, a direct-to-consumer lingerie, swim and activewear brand.
10. Devote the same passion to relationship as you do to your work.
"The demands on a CEO can be very high and you need to first of all find the person who shares your goals and aspirations. Then, approach your relationship with the same tenacity and passion that you approach your business. Understand that your partner is nearly affected by the business as much as you are and carve out space for her to be sure that she feels important in your personal life and is also a key part of the team. Seek out her advice whenever possible, and remember that she will be more supportive when she is in it with you and a part of the bigger picture. Finally, remember that a little 'thank you' goes a long way in a relationship."
--Michael Fitzpatrick, Blast Motion, a company focused on 360-degree athletic improvement through software services and advanced sensor-based motion capture.cofounder and CEO of
11. Remember why you chose each other.
"Marriage is one of the most colorful endeavors a man and woman can experience. When you are an entrepreneur and your lifetime partner becomes your business partner, you stretch your maturity to another level. Both relationships can be successful as long as you don't lose sight of one thing: Why you chose each other for both jobs."
--Danyel Surrency Jones, POWERHANDZ, Inc., which sells performance-enhancing sports gloves and athletic training products designed to strengthen hand and arm muscles and intensify players' dexterity.cofounder and COO of