I think that is a highly personalized question. It will be different for everyone. The balance between work and family changes when you have no children, married, non-married, small children, teenagers, grown children, high-stress job, low-stress job, business owner, executive, traveler, etc. I think the right balance is knowing you are happy with both your job and your family life and they are happy with you. It may takes weeks or months to adjust, readjust and adapt.
I spend quality time with the family and most of my time working. But I must say that work is really fun when you are free to do what you want, as long as you can live on it.
I love all of these answers. I learned the meaning of this from my father after my mother passed away. He was a work-a-holic for most of his life as a business owner until my mother got sick. He said to me after my mother passed. That he would give up every night he worked late for one more day with my mother. From then on, I have made sure that I enjoy my friends and family as much as I enjoy my work. They are who allow me to work as hard as I do to keep things in perspective.
I agree with Lisa. I recently wrote an article about the myth of work/life balance (http://www.simplemindfulness.com/2012/09/02/worklife-balance-is-a-myth/). There is no one right balance and, as soon as you think you find it, things change to throw off that fleeting sense of balance. Figure out your top three values and focus/spend time on those.
It's easy to become lost in the flow of business and demanding projects, but you need to be prepared to stop and ask yourself on a regular basis, especially where your time is concerned - "Is this or will this, make my life a better life?".
I have seen and worked with so many people who have ruthlessly scaled the corporate ladders only to discover that beyond the walls of work, they have a family that don't know them or want them and friends that seem to evaporate.
I have found that the right balance is not always the best balance, but the one you can cope with and doesn't damage the relationships of those that mean most to you.
No-matter what happens if my family need me, I drop "everything" and go. The rest of the time it is the businesses that dominate my time. However, that said - I do ensure that at least once a week we do something nice together as a family. Everything I do is driven by my desire to provide for my family and those I care about - present and future.
Great answer here - particularly Lisa - I once had a mentor tell me that work life balance was less about oganising our day and time slots and more about managing seasons and all those involved in them. It was great advice and as Lisa suggested each family has its own nuances in terms of what they can and cant cope with. I would suggest you communicate what you want to achieve - what it will take (including perceived family sacrifice) and be clear with all members of your family as to how they might respond. If you have a busy season then you need to let them know - and put a cap on it - if you cant do that then perhaps the season may not end well. Other than that in all seasons make time for family - marriage / partner particularly.
If I can also say if you find yourself preferring work to family time then this would not be healthy and you would need to look at your motives, drivers etc.
I agree with Lisa's comments that it will be different for everyone. The philosophy that my wife and I share is that "life is too short". We measure our work/life balance by this (do I really need to answer this client's phone call at 10pm?, are we spending too much time lazing around the TV watching CSI and procrastinating?), and try to set boundaries between work and family accordingly. Quality family time is important so cell phones are pretty much banned from the dinner table, hehehe.
Every one has to find it for themselves, but the key is to assure there is a balance you need to keep. One of the keys is to create certain disciplines and organizational strategies that keep you from making work your life. Plan your week and priorities, leave room for emergencies and make sure your family is in your plan.
The secret is to really know what makes you happy and ensutre youi have clear boundaries in all areas of your life that allows you to enjoy life to the full. This can be as simple as never answering your work mobile on weekends or a busy working Mum can pay a cleaner so you don't spend your weekends shopping and cleaning unless you like spending your spare time doing these things! My personal favourite is to only answer emails twice a day so I don't get "distracted" from the income generating tasks I need to complete daily to keep business growing.
I don't know what provides the "balance" that everyone talks about. You decide on what you do based on what needs to get done and you prioritize. Your spirituality is the best guide because you may risk being bombarded by the collective wisdom of people who have become guilt ridden by their past. I cannot provide "balance" for another.
Quite to be simple, it'd all be the time balancing. Whatever it is, scheduling your minutes can even up the joy and pleasure with the family and work, besides the pressure.