A matter of time…

If you start emailing people at night, people will expect you to be on email at night

Powerful women have mixed views on work/life balance, Jacky Carter discovers.

How do high-powered women approach time management?

Well, according to Emily White previously COO of Snapchat now president of investment business Venture Capital, and Global CEO Wendy Clark of Dentus, forget work/life balance – “You can sleep when you die,” they told delegates at a panel discussion at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in the US.

“Rather than the choice to consciously disconnect, there’s much more of a trend of choosing who to connect with and in what context,” said White. “It’s very much about conversations.”

White, also a veteran of Instagram, Facebook and Google, said she now relies on her phone more than her computer to get work done. “You’re not just getting information and solving problems, you’re getting to communicate in motion like never before. This is the reason I can have kids and still have a relationship with them, and work in the evenings when I get home after the kids are in bed.”

For Clark, being at work or with her family is the key to living in an over-connected world.

“The thing people want most from you is your focus and attention,” she said. “You destroy that when you think you’re multitasking, because you’re not accomplishing either.”

That means no phones at the dinner table, for her or her children.

Her advice to help speed up email processing is to make the most of subject lines. When she was at Coca-Cola employees included tags in their subject lines to help manage email flow: URGENT, ACTION REQUIRED and INFORM.

“Form habits you can keep. Recognise that you’re setting the standard for what people in your life will do,” White said. “If you start emailing people at night, people will expect you to be on email at night.

“Give yourself white space during the day.”

Clark is a fan of Google’s “speedy” meeting invitations, which are constrained to 50 minutes without an option to override the system. “By changing the standard for meetings to 25 or 50 minutes, the remaining five or 10 minutes can be used to check email or go to the bathroom, allowing everyone to be more present when they’re together.”

Writer and Founder & CEO of AIM Leadership Camille Preston believes in setting boundaries. “This will help you with willpower. Put fences up to focus on what you want to do at that time.

“Don’t hit send. If you want to work on the weekends, save your emails as drafts, but don’t actually send them until Monday unless they’re urgent.”

Jackie Carter is writer and editor at Airbnb, and was previously managing editor at LinkedIn, where she oversaw Connect: Professional Women’s Network, an award-winning online community of more than 450,000 women from all over the world