Over the years, I have heard senior executives complain that they don't get enough time with their kids and family. Those moments with the family don't come back, and soon the kids are gone to college never really to be back home as children ever again, and executives carry the regret of not having spent time for the rest of their lives.

Let me see if I can make it simple today and give you a few ideas to improve your work/life balance.

Working smart is key. Simple things work. At the start of the day, writing down what work, calls, emails you need to get achieved today.

Working through the list in an organised fashion, and scratching off items completed, will give you a sense of satisfaction and also ensure the work's done. It forces some prioritisation.

Hijacked schedules

For those who complain that their schedules get hijacked by their bosses, my only response to that is, it depends on how much you allow it to be hijacked.

Also remember to keep some time for yourself during the day. And definitely delegate what can be done at levels below you.

Put discipline in an organisation - not to copy senior executives on mails. Be forceful about it. Not having to read mails that you should not be reading, can easily clear out at least 30 minutes in a day.

At a senior executive level, learn to work hard and smart during the working hours but make it a policy to get home just before dinner at least for your family and kids.

For those who travel, do it in a way that it does not destroy your health, schedule flights so you can maximise evenings with the family.

Also I have found rather than working on a flight, or reading a management book, just reading any not related to management is a welcome break. A great novel will do. Also enjoy the hotel besides the room and the internet connection!

Family weekend

Protect your weekends. In this area, the Americans, and even the Europeans do a great job. Unless you are an investment banker or consultant, everybody else shuts down work by Friday evening and focuses the weekend on family and the chores.

And most importantly take your full holiday quota. Here the Americans are lagging. Less than 50 per cent are taking all their leave, and over 70 per cent are checking their blackberry's on leave. Nowadays it is hard to take 3-4 weeks at a time.

Take a maximum of two weeks at a time, and then use the rest of the days during the balance part of the year to do short holidays. You will find yourself recharged over and over again.

Finally, what about your other wife - the blackberry? Learn not to let it control you. When you get home, learn to shut it off, or in a worse case check mail a couple of time in the evening, rather than when the red light goes off every time.

My kids taught me my lesson here. I kept complaining that they never sat and chatted with me at home till they said - what's the use since I was always checking my blackberry.

You only live once. Make sure it's not only for the shareholder!

- The writer is managing director of Cedar Management Consulting International.