CEO Personal Development: Balancing Work and Well-Being

Feb 5, 2024 | Careers, CEO Best Practices, HR/Talent

CEO is an impressive position that many professionals aspire to. However, the demands of a hectic work schedule can take a toll on mental wellbeing. Many executive leaders deal with excessive stress that can affect their personal life and their emotional and physical health.

Fortunately, there are things CEOs can do to reduce stress and ensure they have enough time for friends, family, and recreational activities. Read on to learn what a CEO can do to strike the right balance in their lives.

Maintaining a Work-Life Balance for CEOs

Create the Right Balance

CEOs must find the balance that’s right for them. Some may choose to work 40 hours a week. Others may find they can work 50 or 60 hours a week and still make time for leisure activities.

There is no right or wrong. It all depends on how they juggle their time.

In addition to setting time limits, CEOs should also determine the best times to work considering their personal needs.

Multitask Your Personal Life

CEOs are master multi-taskers. They can integrate that skill to achieve a work-life balance. Take the kids to school in the morning to get in some family time. Exercise during your lunch break to eliminate gym trips after work.

Use Leisure Activities to Boost Productivity

Many leisure activities can boost productivity and may help CEOs become stronger leaders. Kirk Kjellberg, CEO of Ideal Concepts, says working out in the middle of the workday helped him get through a difficult company reorganization.

Pastimes like playing piano can also keep the mind sharp and help with work-related endeavors. Rather than give up these activities, use them to your advantage.

Just Say No

CEOs must maintain focus on friends and family. Sometimes that means saying no to tasks that interfere with leisure time.

Gregg Renfrew, CEO of Beautycounter, prioritizes her children by answering the phone every time they call her at work. “They know their importance in their life,” she says.

Practice Stress Management


Several CEOs believe meditation is the key to stress management. The list of CEOs who use meditation to improve focus and destress is too huge to mention. Jeff Weiner, Ariana Huffington, and Andrew Chert are among the most well-known CEO meditators.

Laxman Narasimhan, CEO of Starbucks, sticks to a firm schedule of 20 minutes of meditation in the morning, and 10 minutes before bedtime.

Proper Scheduling

CEOs who feel overwhelmed may relieve some of their stress with the right scheduling techniques. A schedule will lay everything out, so they know they have enough time to get everything accomplished. They can also check off tasks to gain a sense of accomplishment.

Get Some Sleep

Many CEOs try to get more time out of their days by forgoing sleep. But a lack of sleep can increase stress levels. It also reduces focus and negatively affects productivity.

A CEO must set aside 7-9 hours a day for sleep. They should also decompress before bedtime so they can enjoy a more restful sleep.

Maintain Physical and Mental Wellbeing

Consume a Healthy Diet

CEOs often eat unhealthy foods. They eat on the go and often find themselves consuming fast food which may not contain the best ingredients. These foods can add to stress and reduce focus.

Unhealthy food is also bad for your physical health. It can cause obesity, heart problems, and other medical conditions.

CEOs can improve their diet by packing healthy meals to take to work. They can also make healthier choices when eating out.


A CEO’s busy schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time for exercising. But exercise should be a priority. It’s a great way to lower stress, boost productivity, and maintain optimal fitness levels.

Seek Help If Necessary

CEOs are often seen as strong leaders that people go to for advice. However, there are times when CEOs need to seek out help for emotional issues. They may need to talk to a therapist, friend, or relative when the stress becomes overwhelming.

A CEO should not equate showing emotions with weakness. Keeping emotions bottled leads to poor mental health that can affect physical health. A therapy session can do wonders for wellbeing.

Sign up for our Chief Executives Council Newsletter for more guidance on your CEO career.

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