Work/Life Balance: Angela Benton Schedules For The Unexpected

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By Angela Benton (Founder & CEO, NewME Accelerator)

It’s true that we really don’t see many women in tech, both as entrepreneurs and as executives. In fact, only a handful of top executives in tech are women and about 11% of tech founders are women. What is keeping women from starting businesses? There are several discussions about why women are shying away and how to get more of us into the field. Some point to mentorship, some point to STEM degrees, while others point to a variety of different solutions. The question I’ve heard lately from the women I know is telling, “When you decide to take a leap and be a founder, how do you find balance?”

Before I describe how I balance my life I want to first address that all women are unique. Our choices have a lot to do with the type of woman we want to become. It seems to me that women regularly sacrifice what they want. Maybe they put starting a family on hold, pause climbing the corporate ladder, or put off building a killer business. If you are a woman who chooses a really, really demanding career like entrepreneurship, one that takes many of your waking hours to focus, how do you actually balance it all?

I can tell you how I do it. I don’t. I don’t actually believe this sort of balance exists. I think women have an idea of what balance should look like: peaceful morning routines, working nine-to-five, effective parenting in the evening, and quiet time with a significant other at night.

This doesn’t take into account any other goals, or allow for hectic times like closing a big deal, launching a product, or getting a promotion. Balance, when actually achieved, may not look like what you think balance looks like. In my experience it looks more like organized chaos.

Organized chaos gives me room to feel fine about the unpredictable little things that happen everyday and still have some organization and structure to move things forward and get things accomplished.

I stopped packing my days full of meetings. Instead, I have certain hours through out the day that are reserved for unscheduled events. I literally plan for the unexpected. I’ve got wiggle room and I can accomplish more with my freed time to last minute calls, have quick meetings with my team, or pick up a sick child from school.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

Angela BentonAbout the guest blogger: About the guest blogger: Angela Benton is the Founder and CEO of the NewME Accelerator, a technology startup accelerator for Black, Female, and Latino startup founders. She recently launched NewME Community which serves as a way for local minority entrepreneurs across the country to gather, learn, network, and share with each other. You can learn more about her at about.me/angelabenton. Follow her on Twitter at @abenton.