Abisola Barber

Let’s face it: working in finance and in Investment Banking specifically can make it difficult for you to achieve a good work-life balance that suits you. We wanted to get the best insights for you to use in your (future) career in finance, so we asked one of the busiest women we know: how do you balance work with life?

Abisola is a Director at a Global Investment, Corporate & Consumer Bank, as well as a Board Member, Consultant, and a devoted Diversity and Inclusion champion. Her vast and long-standing experience expands across different industries and spheres. But what is important is that among a wide array of activities and a demanding full-time job, Abisola successfully manages her time. How does she do it?

Navigating a busy lifestyle

Abisola thinks that prioritising is very important when it comes to your time, whilst keeping room for last-minute changes and not neglecting aspects such as her interests, relationships and mental health. 

“There’s no easy or simple answer, and sometimes I fall on the wrong side of the balance equation; but I take a lot of pride in my ability to schedule my priorities, and I prioritise my schedule! Naturally, I have to place some leeways for meetings to be rescheduled, last minute appointments, and other things one cannot plan for. 

But for me, I’ve found that the best way to manage my workload, my interests, my physical and mental health, and my relationships, is to ensure I have created and assigned appropriate time to do them. I evaluate at the end of every week what went well and what could have gone better, and I take those lessons into my next week to improve.”

How to reach the balance that is right for you

Of course, there is no fixed ‘template’ that you can immediately apply to your life and have great results. This is why it’s important to keep what is right for you in mind. 

“Don’t try to copy and paste what you see (or perceive) others are doing, as it might not work for you and may send your equilibrium into disarray! Balance looks different on everyone, and can change as time and life circumstances progress – I certainly have had to adapt how I balance my work and personal life as I have gotten older, changed roles, health circumstances, and general interests have shifted.”

Dealing with the inevitable challenges

It might happen that sometimes, you are going through challenging times when finding the right work-life balance for you just doesn’t work out. Whether it’s stress, pressure or unexpected circumstances, Abisola thinks that finding your own way of relaxing and taking a step back.

“Personally, I enjoy a healthy amount of stress and pressure in my life! I find I am able to use it as fuel to energise and engage me, and it allows me to get through a great deal of tasks or activities – but I can also spot where too much stress stifles my creativity, drains my energy, or deflates my mood. To relax or de-stress, I still have to do something I find practical (I really struggle to just sit & watch TV!): whether that’s going for a walk or to the gym, or listening to music whilst I reorganise my cupboards, something that engages a different part of my brain always helps calm me down.”

The bottom line is this: that balance everyone is talking about is unique to each individual and evolves over time. But Abisola’s advice can be a wonderful starting point for you to navigate the path to a fulfilling work-life balance that suits you best.

Be part of the change.

Become a member of Female x Finance today.