I've just watched a video in Stanford's E-Corner where Carol Bartz of Autodesk talks about balancing life and career.
Carol's advice? Don't expect short-term balance. She reminds us busy women that there is always see-sawing, that perfect balance is not sustainable in the short term.
"Just catch it before it falls to the floor" she advises. If you're conscious that you've ignored one aspect -- your mother, your flowers, whatever, "just go do some of it." If you've neglected your professional literature, sit in a room with the door closed for a half hour and read.
In the long-term, balance is important. Carol urges us to aim for a healthy mix between work and life over the longer run. This clearly requires setting priorities and regular planning: Sundays with the kids and no email. Tuesday afternoons for followup calls to propects. Improve order processing by January 1st. Listen to Carol Bartz' entire 43 minute interview, or see short videoclips of its segments, organized by topic, such as Managing a Balanced Life. In the Stanford E-corner, you'll find more video and audio interviews with many big names, like Carly Fiorina, formerly of HP, and Marissa Meyer of Google. Men too, of course.