A Collection of Work-Life Balance Quotes to Inspire You

A growing collection of quotes about work-life balance, work-life harmony and work-life integration, from successful leaders, entrepreneurs, thinkers, designers, writers, coaches, and more.

Balance the Grind has been fortunate enough to have had conversations with many of these people from all walks of life, around the world, to get an idea of what work-life balance means to them.

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On developing work-life balance as a skill

“I think feeling truly balanced in our lives is less about what we do externally, and more about developing trust from within – self-trust. It’s one of the most challenging skills to develop because it requires us to reflect on where we currently don’t trust ourselves.”

Karen Williams // Coach, Trainer, Speaker & Writer


On sleep

“Sleep is precious to me. I’m very disappointed if I don’t go to bed before midnight. We have a rule: no laptops in the bedroom. Being on computers all the time makes me feel gross.”

David Karp // Founder & CEO at Tumblr


On experimenting to find your unique balance of work and life

“For me, work-life balance is very individualized. I also feel that striving to achieve a “perfect” ratio of work and non-work is a bit of a trap. It’s something you have to experiment with and over time you learn what recharges you, what drains you, what’s neutral and how much of each you do to find your own balance.”

Sherry Holub // Creative Director at JV Media Design


On prioritising family above all else

“There’s only one override to all the workload and scheduling, where priority and order are perfectly okay to be ignored and that’s family. Always make time for family no matter what, literally everything else can be adjusted and/or replaced.”

Mandar Karlekar // Product Management Consultant at Thiga


On women’s mental and physical health

“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 // Former First Lady of the United States


On the satisfaction of doing good work 

“I actually love to work. So to me, work life balance is not about limiting the number of hours that I work, but it’s making the most of the hours that I work. I want the majority of my hours at work to feel energizing and I should feel like I did good work by the end of the day.”

Michelle Broderick // SVP Marketing at Automattic


On the increasingly blurry lines between work life and home life

“There isn’t that delineation between work life and home life, with so many people running their own businesses, side hustles, working from home or remotely, there just isn’t that distinction anymore. And I think that’s a good thing, so long as we get the balance right.”

Michael Ellis // Culture Strategist at Pragmatic Thinking


On defining what success looks like for you

“For me, success isn’t defined by revenue targets or big numbers; it’s defined by these questions: ‘Do I want to go to work tomorrow and do the same thing I did the day before? Am I enjoying this? Do I like the people I’m working with? Am I challenging myself intellectually and creatively?’ Those are the things that matter.”

Jason Fried // CEO & co-founder of Basecamp


On setting boundaries and enjoying life

“For me it’s balancing between giving to others and nourishing back to myself. It’s also about setting some boundaries to be able to switch off and close the tabs that are open in my mind. I also have to remind myself to have fun and enjoy the journey, and surround myself with great quality friendships and collaborate with people who want to raise their vibration and live their purpose.”

Terri Bertakis // Founder & Brand Designer at Future Present Branding


On veering away from traditional career paths

“Some people think veering away from that traditional path means that you’re killing your career. That’s not true.

It’s possible to do different things at different points in your career: changing functions, working remotely, moving to contract or consulting, or taking time off. If you position your experiences accordingly, they can add to your expertise while giving you the life experiences you want.”

Vidhya Ravi // Director of Marketing at Automattic


On the impact on your work performance

“Take care of yourself: When you don’t sleep, eat crap, don’t exercise, and are living off adrenaline for too long, your performance suffers. Your decisions suffer. Your company suffers. Love those close to you: Failure of your company is not failure in life. Failure in your relationship is.”

Ev Williams // Founder & CEO at Medium


On being honest with yourself about work-life balance

“I don’t believe work-life balance is a static “goal” that can be achieved, it is a series of honest conversations that you need to just continue having with yourself. And as long as those conversations keep happening, you’re going to be just fine.”

Michelle Bourke // Founder & CEO of Foresight Digital


On viewing work-life balance as work-life integration

“At Freshworks we like to see it as work-life integration, and I very much agree. Speaking to a friend or relative while at work or taking a customer call late in the evening happens and that’s the nature of the world we now live in. Work-life integration is about being as passionate about work as the other activities you enjoy in life and not seeing these as different worlds that need to be balanced.”

Sreelesh Pillai // General Manager of Freshworks Australia


On finding your work rhythm

“So find your rhythm, understand what makes you resentful, and protect it. You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you. And thinking that way empowers you to work really hard for a really long period of time.”

Marissa Mayer // Former CEO of Yahoo + Co-founder of Lumi Labs


On empowering yourself to achieve work-life balance

“It is ok if you don’t have balance in your life at this point in time, I didn’t once too, but know that you have the power to change it. The sooner you empower yourself with this realisation, the sooner achieving balance isn’t so foreign.”

Emmaline Raggatt // Co-Founder at Mirrored Horizons


On the choice of work-life balance

“We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond to it. We never “don’t have the time” to do something; we just choose not to prioritize it or to spend our time in different ways. We always have a choice.”

Evelyn Chan // Software Engineer at Square


On reminding yourself that work is not the only thing that matters

“On the days that feels like work is dominating my personal life, I try to remind myself that my job is not my life and it doesn’t define me as a person. That simple clarity, makes it easier for me to relax and appreciate basic things like a really good meal, a book, time with my loved ones, even a strenuous work out that I dread and appreciate afterwards.”

Alice Suh // Head of Global PR at Deezer


On looking at life as a juggling game 

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them — work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls — family, health, friends, and spirit — are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”

Brian Dyson // Former CEO of The Coca-Cola Company


On staying in your own lane and doing what makes you happy

“It is hard when we work and live in a world full of comparison, so remembering to stay in my own lane, be true to what makes my heart feel light and not get caught up in what others are doing (we never really know what is making people happy or successful when we are just following them on social media) is what I encourage for everyone.”

Michelle Palmer // Co-Founder & Director at Modern Currency


On nurturing your physical, mental and spiritual health

“For me balance is nurturing my brain, body and spirit (or psyche). A perfect day consists of activities and rituals that serve all three. A good way to measure balance is observing thoughts if my mind is noisy or I am thinking of work, it’s a sign my wellbeing and personal development needs focus – I learnt this measure from Alison Rice on her podcast ‘Offline’.”

Sarah Fritz // Founder & CEO at Yes Queen


On the importance of mental and physical health to longterm success

“When you’re passionate about what you do, it’s easy to fall into bad work habits. I think losing momentum is probably every startup founder’s biggest fear. However, your mental and physical health is just as important as your work.”

Alex Zaccaria // Co-Founder of Melbourne-based startup Linktree


On having a routine to recover and self-care

“Set yourself up to succeed but remember to celebrate successes, have mental health days to recover from setbacks and don’t let work get in the way of self care habits like eating well and exercising.”

Danielle Buckley // Coaching & Consulting Psychologist


On creating themed days for focus 

“All my days are themed. Monday is management. At Square we have a directional meeting, at Twitter we have our opcomm [operating committee] meeting. Tuesday is product, engineering, and design. Wednesday is marketing, growth, and communications. Thursday is partnership and developers. Friday is company and culture. It works in 24-hour blocks.”

Jack Dorsey // Co-founder & CEO of Twitter + Founder & CEO of Square


On getting the basics right 

“The basics are simple, but they are not easy. If you can master nutrition, exercise, and sleep AND create an environment where you can focus on your work, it is enough to achieve great things.”

Artur Piszek // Cognitive Engineer at Automattic


On building better offline relationships

“In today’s world of virtual collaboration, whether that is in a distributed team or not, we mostly chat online, or talk to avatars in video calls. I hope that we don’t forget there are humans behind those avatars and that we should care about building better relationships.”

Marcus Wermuth // Engineering Manager at Buffer


On not measuring work by the time spent at our desks

“I believe that people work best when they have the space to do so. Whether that is physical space or mental, we need a calm environment for both body and mind. This may look different to different people so I believe in the freedom for individuals to choose. Our worth should not measured by the time we spend at a desk.”

Jessica McLeod // Founder of The Conscious Space


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