This article seeks to decentre the Global North knowledge production about ‘work–life balance’ (WLB) in academia by applying a temporal gaze to illuminate WLB possibilities in Bangladeshi academia where institutional WLB policies are absent. Drawing on Adam’s (2008) timescapes and Flaherty’s (2002) time work concepts, we focus on Bangladeshi women faculty’s experiences as an example of how a temporal gaze can help illuminate the interrelationships between time, gender, and life transitions underlying women faculty accounts of WLB in a Global South context. Drawing on the narratives of three Bangladeshi women faculty in different career stages and family statuses, we probe how women faculty manipulate, control, or customize their temporal experience (i.e. temporal agency) in response to local gendered norms and life transitional episodes (e.g. separation, academic mobility, illness, and/or retirement). We demonstrate how WLB is not a static outcome, but a work-in-progress, and that a temporal lens helps illuminate multiple time work strategies that emerge during life transitional episodes. We argue that a temporal lens troubles the outcome (quantitative, clock-oriented) and spatial orientation of WLB practices, as our participants constantly blurred work/home boundaries refracted across social positionality, gendered norms, and relationships. By examining the temporal dimensions underlying WLB, we contribute a comprehensive understanding of the interrelationships between academic/personal life, various roles, and temporality in a South Asian context.