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13 Quotes on Achieving Work-Life Balance from Successful Women

“You can't do a good job if your job is all you do.”

Balance beam cartoon gif

By Abbey Slattery

Is it ever possible to achieve that mythical work-life balance?

In reality, there’s no secret formula. No hidden tricks, no “life hack” to achieve the perfect work-life balance. There will be times when everything is in balance and others when it simply can’t be. It’s all about finding what’s best for you, which might look different than what’s best for someone else. 

Need some inspiration while you navigate your balance? Consider these words of advice from a few wise women. 

1. “Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we’re scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own to-do list.” 

―Michelle Obama, lawyer, author, and former First Lady of the United States

2. “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” 

—Dolly Parton, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, music producer, businesswoman, and actress

3. “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” 

—Arianna Huffington, businesswoman, author, and founder of HuffPost and Thrive Global

Read more: 13 Busy Women on How to Stay Organized

4. “Don’t confuse having a career with having a life.” 

—Hillary Clinton, lawyer, author, senator, former Secretary of State, and former First Lady of the United States

Read more: 25 Tips for Dealing with Burnout

5. “Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.” 

—Betsy Jacobson, businesswoman

6. “I've learned that you can't have everything and do everything at the same time.”   

—Oprah Winfrey, media executive, talk show host, TV producer, and businesswoman

7. “Burnout is about resentment.  Preventing it is about knowing yourself well enough to know what it is you're giving up that makes you resentful.”  

—Marissa Mayer, cofounder of Lumi Labs and former CEO of Yahoo!

8. “You can't do a good job if your job is all you do.” 

—Katie Thurmes, cofounder of Artifact Uprising 

Read more: 38 Powerful Quotes from Women Who Don’t Mess Around

9. “I think taking vacations and turning off the phone and only doing emails or social media for a specific short amount of time helps with work-life balance. If I'm checking it all day I start to feel cuckoo-bird. So I just do it once or twice a day instead of a thousand. And then remembering that it doesn't matter. It just doesn't matter.” 

—Maria Bamford, comedian and actress

10. “Striving for excellence motivates you. Striving for perfection is demoralizing.” 

—Harriet Braiker, social and clinical Ph.D. psychologist, author

11. “When I think about work life balance, I don’t imagine it as a perfect day where I got to spend the exact right amount of time having an impact at work and snuggling with my kids at home. I never achieve that. But over the course of a month, or a quarter, or a year, I try to make time for the people and experiences I value.” 

—Jane Park, professional golfer

12. “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” 

—Lily Tomlin, comedian, actress, writer, producer, and singer

13. “Framing the issue of work-life balance—as if the two were dramatically opposed—practically ensures work will lose out. Who would ever choose work over life?” 

—Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and founder of

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