By far the most common conversation we have with the folks we interview is about work-life balance. Starting a business or pursuing a creative career makes finding work life balance really tough because there is no clear start and end to one’s work day. We’ve shared some of our conversations on the topic below.

Deon Williams Jr | Singer-Songwriter

As you get older you begin to prioritize what’s important to you at a specific time in your life. What’s important to somebody varies from person to person. Since we are focused on me right now I learned over the past 3 years, that all I want to do is create. I understand that the income from music is not consistent and forces me to work that dreadful 9-5 to make ends meet month in and month out. Balance have saved me because I find the significance in both for example, music brings me pure happiness and my daily job provides stability for the meantime. I prioritize my music lifestyle with my job to make sure I am left satisfied in the end. Read more>>

Parker Lemal-Brown | Writer & Script Consultant

Work-life balance always felt like a fantasy to me, even before I ever had a full-time job. In college, the days and weeks never really ended because everything was on our phones. I got used to always being on, always working on something whether it was homework or networking for future work. My dad also taught me that if you are doing what you love as a career, they only pay you to “wait between the scenes”. The work isn’t really work, because we’d be doing it whether or not we’re getting paid. That’s how I’ve always felt about writing. I never felt naturally talented, but I would sweat until it looked that way. And I’ll do it whether or not anyone wants me to. Read more>>

Wayne Chen Delgado | Film Director

The thing about balance is that it will lead you to happiness. But, from what I’ve seen, an unbalanced life, where someone is truly devoted to one craft, job, sport, or one idea– that’s when excellence can be achieved. I’ve been focusing on my work as a director and my health. I’ve already sacrificed so much in other parts of my life. I can only imagine what some of my contemporaries are sacrificing. I don’t aim to be the greatest who ever touched a camera– I just want to continue doing what I love and spending time with those who inspire me. In that sense, my life doesn’t feel unbalanced– I feel I’m where I’m supposed to be, whatever that means. Read more>>

Kevin R. Free | Multihyphenate Artist Person

I have been hustlin’ to make my artistic career happen for 25 years. I used to do anything anyone asked me to do, just to collect money, new colleagues, and new experiences. My hustle was so all-consuming that I actually used to be annoyed when my manager would reach out about auditions! During the pandemic, I moved to a new apartment on City Island, which is in the Bronx… but totally remote. As I type this, I am looking at the water of Long Island Sound from my sun room. Since moving here, I make decisions about accepting or pursuing gigs based on how long they will take me away from enjoying my life here. Further, I’ve always had an unspoken policy of not working on weekends, but lately I have been saying it out loud. Read more>>

Lee Minton | Ceramic Artist

My path towards making ceramics was a slow step by step path as I balanced working with transferring from working as a fine artist & designer to working with my husband’s photography business while raising 2 amazing kids, yet still finding time to make creative work. During my children’s younger years, I worked part time with my husband producing his commercial photography shoots and managing the accounting. At times, I missed working directly with my own creativity, but working with my husband allowed me much needed flexibility while my children were growing up, so this was a good balance at the time. Read more>>

Amanda Cheam | Baker & Owner of Cheam & Sugar

Growing up as a child of immigrants, the idea of being overworked was glorified and even encouraged. I was always under the impression that to be successful, I always had to be on my grind hustling. I witnessed my parents sacrifice so much to provide whatever opportunities they could for my brother and me, it only felt right to do the same. When I started my small business in 2020, I was filled with so much gratitude for all the overwhelming support I received. I was riding such a high that the word “no” was just not in my vocabulary (unless it was ” no worries”). Since I am home-based, I was constantly working round the clock with little to no sleep and I found it difficult to learn how to set boundaries. Read more>>

Rachael Gula | Environmentalist & Storyteller

My father often encourages me to “make good choices” and live with “everything in moderation, including moderation itself.” This mantra has been a helpful north star as I navigate the early stages of my life and career. While working a part-time job as a full-time student, my life felt unaligned, affecting my overall well-being. My health was feeling the impact of my imbalanced lifestyle, I was not prioritizing self-care. Since our initial pause of 2020, I have felt a healing restoration of balance personally. I feel grateful to have rested this past year as the world moved through collective grief and transitioning of life. I have allowed myself to move through life at a pace slower than before, living with a balance which leans towards honoring my body and soul. Read more>>

Christie Conochalla | film director

Balance is possibly the most important thing a person can discover for themselves. When you work in a fast-paced, artistic industry where the lot of us are freelancers, it is easy to get lost in a sea of saying “yes” to everything out of fear that one day there will be no more asks. I’m grateful to myself for seeing a path for me to create that balance for myself but it wasn’t until the pandemic where I lost all my opportunities that I saw perspective on not only the industry I am in but the decisions I have made for myself, and the “whys” associated with them. We often act out of fear that things will end but what I learned is that things end whether you feel fear or not. Read more>>

Toby B. Hemingway | Writer

The biggest change was having children. They sort of remove the need to think about the balance – they enforce the balance. Even if I wanted to work more, it would be hard to squeeze it in. I like it that way, it removes a lot of the “should I be working right now?” guilt you can feel when you’re creative and work for yourself. Read more>>

Lynn Richards | Mixed Media Artist

I think finding balance is one of the most important yet hardest thing to do. I have learned over the course of several years to use a schedule. It’s amazing how it has helped, considering I dislike schedules and “having” to do things! I mark out time for home, art, commitments, etc. That said, as in all of life, when the day gets blown to bits and nothing adheres to the schedule, I remind myself to do the next right thing, make an effort to look for what I can be thankful for, and know that tomorrow is another day. Read more>>

Kendra Cunov | Mother, Teacher, Seeker, Devotee of Live

I actually dislike the phrase ‘work/life balance’, because I believe it sets us up (especially as women) to aspire to something fairly unattainable. In nature, or in yoga class, ‘balance’ is brief. It’s something we see or do for, at most, several minutes at a time. Maintaining balance takes constant awareness and continual micro-adjustments, and we will often *feel* out of balance the entire time. This leads people to judge themselves for not having ‘achieved work/life balance’ – as though this is a state one can attain and then stay there. Read more>>

Jen Hartry | Music Publisher

Work/Life Balance has been a trending topic since I started working a couple of decades ago. I love to work. I love creating and building. I love completing projects and accomplishing goals. I love the feeling of being tired at the end of a busy day, or when a project comes to an end after months of hard work, or when a successful year naturally winds down to a close each December (leading to the beginning of a blank slate and a new year). Read more>>

Mercy Quaye | Founder, President

This question! Earlier in my career I was so focused on getting to the top of my game that I saved very little, if any time to root myself and find wellness. All through my 20s I hustled and worked, and hustled and worked until I had a wellness breaked at 27 and crash. I had to take a three month medical leave to repair. When I came back to work, I realized that working for someone else in a corporate non-profit that didn’t invest a great deal into their employees was never going to be an ideal place to work. Read more>>

Lenise Bent | Audio Engineer/Producer

Balance is essential to a long career. When I was in my teens and twenties I was immortal and bulletproof and I figured I’d sleep when I was dead. Well, that almost happened. I worked crazy hours, ate poorly, consumed stimulating substances and basically ingnored well being in general until my body said “ENOUGH!”. I was diagnosed with stomach cancer and told by my holistic doctors to “quite your job or die”. At 27 I still wanted to live so, after finishing a fantastic record with Blondie I checked myself into the clinic in Mexico and started my wellness journey. Read more>>

Leah Cevoli | Storyteller (Voice Over, Host, Actress, Producer ) & Founder of Greenlight Your Passion Project

Great question and super relevant I think for most people in 2021, we’ve had a big perspective shift around work/life balance. When I was in my 20s/30s just starting out, I said “yes” to everything. Like, everything!! Not only was I pursuing a full-time acting/voice over career, audtioning, taking classes, going to networking events etc., but I must have had a dozen evening and weekend freelance jobs and another dozen volunteer positions, often back-to-back and even overlapping at times. I was paging thru an old planner a few years back and was exhausted and frankly amazed that I pulled that kind of a schedule off for so long. Read more>>

Nicole R. Brown | Chief Creator at Ruth Nathan’s

Last year brought about rapid changes for many of us. Personally, I’m glad that being at home made me revisit and commit to regular mediation practice. It’s been the greatest and most fulfilling change in my work-life balance that I could imagine. Regular meditation helps me to be more grounded and make better decisions. It makes me a better friend and a better business owner. Read more>>

Ray McKenzie | Founder and CEO of StartingPoint and Founder and Managing Director of Red Beach Advisors

I have always liked to work…maybe you could say loved to work. I always felt a level of accomplishment from work, completing task, and being paid for the work I did. It was an achievement for me. So throughout my career work has always been important. As I started my career early, I had a young family and young son. So I had to work hard to provide for my family which was what was required. As my son got older it became more important to be at his school functions and sporting events. As my career continued to grow, I traveled more and more often. Every two weeks to be exact. I would plan my schedule around my wife and my son’s games to make sure I could make it. As our family has grown to four children, my work life balance has become more important. Read more>>

Beth Ribeiro | Camera Assistant

I think this will be a constant challenge in the life of a freelancer – it is for me anyway. I live with the constant reminder that ANY project can come up at ANY time, And I have had numerous situations where I make a personal commitment and I’m then met with a job offer conflicting the time. For me, it is a constant see-saw of what-ifs. And both are really hard – turning down family or friends and turning down work. Especially at the start of my career. But I’m getting better at this see-saw. I think I am growing and the best solution I have found up to this point, is deciding when commitments are non-negotiable right from the start, Read more>>

Carter Brown | Actor & Product Manager

Over time, I started to prioritize the things I care about the most. And in that time, I also realized that you do not have to do everything all at once but start small and build over time. I think about balance is between doing what you want versus doing what you need and having patience along the way. Read more>>

Mary Lou Sandler | Creatrix, Photographer, Cinematographer, & Owner of 3 cubed studios, LLC

Work life balance: how has your balance changed over time? How do you think about the balance? When I was younger in life and career, all I wanted to do was WORK! All I could think about was work work work! I missed events, ruined relationships, and missed out on the memories that would have lasted way longer than the money in my bank account. Then I started getting physically sick and the doctors couldn’t figure out why. About 5 years ago, I read “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes and I was forever changed by that book. If Shonda Rhimes can have a work/life balance with everything that she creates, then why can’t I? I learned from her life lessons by first not working past 7pm and then by not working on the weekends unless it was impossible to reschedule. Read more>>

Meera Sharma | Radio Host

My work life balance has certainly changed over the past years, more so since the pandemic hit. Pre pandemic, whilst I would go on vacations, outside of this I was always working or spending my free time working on a project. I would never have a Sunday where I would just read or do something that is not related to work. Now I’ve realized the beauty in saying no to things and not having to do everything. It’s fine to take days off to just chill and watch your favorite TV shows or read a book, there’s nothing wrong with taking time away. Read more>>

Leon Walker | Comic, actor, yogi

I feel finding your healthy balance will always be a work in progress because we are constantly changing, growing, adjusting and attempting to find ways to connect with others and with the work we were put here to do. Just when you feel like you have a good balance life throws something else at you. For me continuing to find my balance relies on my ability to adjust and shift through or past an unexpected event. Speaking about finding balance seems to be easier than actually finding balance. Actually listening, responding and honoring what you need in the moment so you can travel forward as your best self. I know when I have my balance because I got that glow like Bruce Leroy! I am at my highest vibration. I believe that is what real balance creates. I know when my balance is off because I frustrated, angry, resentful. Low vibing. Balance is essential but finding true authentic balance takes effort, practice, and being honest with yourself. Read more>>

Ashleigh Akilah Rucker | Theatre/Film Director, Playwright & Activist

Work Life Balance has become a brand. Something to hashtag, like “work hard, play hard”. It’s morphed into an influencer’s mantra for the unobtainable. For some of us, balance isn’t an option. It’s a privilege for those who have the resource and access. Balance wasn’t even on my radar into much later in life when progressive groups began highlighting the importance of mental health. Even then, the complexities of intersectionality were not discussed or taken seriously in mainstream media. So where does that leave people like me? My work life, while rewarding and joyful, is still fraught with microaggressions, biases, prejudices and the weight of navigating systems that are set up for me to fail. Read more>>

Jill Hoppenheim | Producer

When I first started out in the entertainment industry, my understanding of work/life balance was that it didn’t exist. I believed that true success could only occur by working to the point of complete exhaustion and burn out. Over the last couple of years, the conversation about work/life balance has been at the forefront. Companies like THRIVE GLOBAL and apps like CALM and HEADSPACE have become increasingly popular — for good reason. We are currently living in a time of information overload and we are seeing an increase in stress, anxiety, burn out and depression. There has never been a time where work/life balance was more important and it’s something I’ve thought about for many year but didn’t know how to make it happen. Read more>>

Jada Ford | Television Producer

Early on in my career, before I started a family and a business. I dedicated so much of my time to my job. I worked several hours, wore a ton of hats and at times felt guilty for not answering emails right away on my days off. I continued this habit for awhile. When I had a family. The killing myself for work wasn’t as intense but the need to overwork myself was still there. When the pandemic hit and everything stopped, I used that time to really figure out who I was. There was more to me than just spends hours at the office or on set. Cooking and cleaning when I got home, and caring for my family. Read more>>

David McCullough | Drummer, Pianist, Songwriter and Producer

I used to think I had to focus on music 100% of the time. I realized I truly needed exercise. I have a tendency towards lethargy (might have a light case of narcolepsy lol) and lifting weights gives me energy throughout my week, allowing me to focus on my music and other tasks longer. I’ve developed a habit of meditating, doing yoga, and lifting that has given me WAY more energy to focus on my craft. Bob Marley played soccer regularly and I’ve heard he used to run up and down a hill before coming into the studio. Staying strong and healthy is key for me. Just to give perspective, I usually meditate for 5 minutes, do yoga for 10 and lift for 15 minutes, all at home. I try to get a heavy workout at the gym for 40 minutes at least once a week. Life changer for me. I definitely aspire to meditate longer, but don’t stress if I’m only able to breathe deeply (through the nose) for a few minutes. Presence positively affects all aspects of life. Read more>>

Charles Unger | Indie Producer/Director, Hollywood Film Editor, Filmmaking Professor

This is a great question for me because I deal with it on a daily basis. First, on the personal side, let me say that I’ve been married for 23 years this November. I also have a daughter that just graduated from College this past Spring. For LA Standards, my wife and I had our daughter “early” in our life, but I can honestly say that having a family has helped my career, but I could never get my single or childless friends to understand that. Second, on the Work side, I am an Independent producer / writer / director, as well as a Hollywood editor in the Motion Picture Editor’s guild. I work on films and TV Shows. Finally, I also teach filmmaking, editing and film aesthetics in both four-year Universities and community colleges, full-time and as an adjunct. Okay, so now you know both sides of who I am. Let’s talk about how I’ve balance them throughout my career. Read more>>

Jeff Bauer | Vice President of Keyboard Concepts, Inc.

Love what you do, never work a day in your life. Well, I do work quite a lot, lol, but I would say I do love what I do. When people ask what I do, my answer is short and simple: I sell pianos. I spent my childhood fascinated by music, and pianos became an important part of my process at an early age. Fun fact, I never had a piano growing up (I had keyboards). I would go into music stores, piano stores, browse and play until I get kicked out. In college (UCSB) I took a minimum wage janitorial position at a local piano store. It wasn’t long until the owner recognized I could be utilized in sales. That was 1994, the rest is history. Read more>>

Carolyn Carter | Freelance Artist & Generalist

I love to keep busy. I enjoy many things. I love learning. What I don’t love–being broken. Sure, I come from a broken family, a broken society that created this environment in which I was barely raised, and took it upon myself to continue that cycle because if you’re just surviving–there’s not much else you can do especially if you don’t have the means to pull yourself up out of it. I overworked myself to the point of breaking and it became a cycle. I’d break in some small way here or there, bounce back because I had to, until eventually I broke down physically, mentally, and emotionally after I moved here to LA. By that point I had dealt with too much trauma. Read more>>

Cathy Lee | Founder of LEYT

When I got my first job as a designer out of design school, I was so excited about the job and I worked all the time. I was working 12 to 14 hour days on average and had to go in on weekends too. When I calculated the amount of hours I worked vs my annual salary, I was getting paid next to nothing. I didn’t care. I thought that was what it required to work in the fashion industry, to be a designer, to live my dream since I was a child. Read more>>

Andrea Jensen | Private Yoga Instructor and Teacher Trainer

When I first started teaching yoga, there was no balance in my career whatsoever (kinda funny considering what my job is). I did my teacher training in a very “Eat Pray Love” way, where I quit my job, left my relationship, moved out of my house, put everything into storage, and went to India. I came home without a job, but knew I wanted to teach yoga full time. So the hustle began. I took every teaching job I could, and would bartend private parties on the weekend to make ends meet. I didn’t take a day off for the first few years. Now, I make sure to take at least one day off a week. I use that day to recharge, to do the things that bring me joy, and to fill myself back up. This way, I have enough to give to my clients. It’s hard to hold space for people when you don’t hold space for yourself. Read more>>

Kathleen Duke | Actor

I am not sure I ever had or understood a work-life balance before Covid. Being forced to stop work and have downtime with the pandemic allowed me to realize the importance of a work-life balance and avoid future burnout. I think I would always feel guilty if I focused too much on “life” activities. I would convince myself I wasn’t doing enough or that I wasn’t spending my time wisely and focusing solely on my career. Especially after moving to LA, I would compare my work ethic to others in the industry and in my field and that became overwhelming and exhausting. I don’t think that way of thinking is sustainable in such a competitive city, so I am thankful. for the time I had in quarantine to realize that this way of thinking was not beneficial. I am now in a phase of my life where I am still working on finding a balance and relaxing and enjoying life without feeling guilty about it. Read more>>

Minh Nguyen | Director/Writer/Producer

Given my hard work ethic mentality and process from the past, life has changed my perspective, I have experienced my health being affected when I over worked, I had to learn to take some time to relax a little more and find some play time to strike or reach that necessary balance. I think balance is extremely important to our health in the realm of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well bein Read more>>