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.

Justin Shipp | General Contractor

When I first started Meridian Design Construction, like many people starting a business – there was no work/life balance. Everything blended together and it was all work, all the time. I can recall spending nights at Lowe’s looking for material selections after a full day of working in the field. As Meridian has grown and we added more employees, more projects, more moving parts, Sara and I knew that we needed to “separate church + state” so we started creating boundaries with clients and ourselves to really develop the perfect balance between our work + personal life. Read more>>

Natasha Kojic | Film Composer, Musician & Media Creator

To me, balance is the result of discipline, self-awareness, and self-control. How I interpret balance? Just like a nice music tune. When the sounds are well “organized” and mixed well so when you listen to it, you don’t have to know why or to be a musician, but you will enjoy the tune. That’s because of its balance made of so many details put together in the right way (balance). Now when you translate it to “real life”, it’s the same. When you feel happy, it means that your “tones” are flowing well, creating a good balance. In addition, without discipline, there is no balance, in my opinion. The “devil” is in very carefully organized details. Read more>>

Karen Ko | Designer & Shop Owner

Working from home definitely affects the balance between work and your personal life. Since my business has picked up recently I’ve noticed I have not had a good balance. I have a toddler who is about to turn 2 and she is at a great age to do fun activities with. I’ve felt that I have neglected spending as much time with her. Even though we’ve been dealing with the Stay at Home order due to Covid 19 I’ve been at my desk working. All my products require me to sit down and focus since it’s all hand made. I definitely plan on changing that and giving myself breaks to spend time with her during the day and work more when she’s asleep. Read more>>

Ashley Thomas | Yoga instructor & Special Education Teacher

As a special education teacher and a yoga instructor, work-life balance is something I think about often. Before I started my yoga certification program, I had been working full time as a school teacher for about 8 years. I had a yoga practice during that time but it would always fall down the priority list when work became stressful. When I did come back to my mat, I was always reminded of how much it calmed my mind, soothed my body, and actually helped me to perform better at work. This recurring realization is what led me to sign up for yoga teacher training and move from full-time to part-time as a school teacher. Read more>>

Tony Rinaldi | Freelance Trombonist & Teacher

A healthy work life balance is an essential part to being a productive freelance artist. It took me years to dial in a good sense of balance as a freelance musician in all honesty, but when I realized the value I strive to make sure I have a good balance daily now. A healthy work/life balance is something I always stress to all of my students. You can’t be productive with your art if you have burned yourself out. And if you have burned yourself out it’s going be really hard to find what makes you happy and resets those creative braincells. I started freelancing in 2012 professionally. When I first started I did not have a great perception on work/life balance. I only had a dog so I had very little responsibility at the time. Read more>>

Jordis Small | Creative Director & Graphic Designer

One of my major goals since I started my business was to create the prefect work/life balance. Almost 6 years later I am still working towards that goal and now that I am a new mom it feels even more crucial. I have always had this vision of balance, I see myself being successful in business, a present mom, and an engaged wife. In my vision everything comes with ease and everyone around is happy… of course that is just my hopeful vision of the future and every day is far from that right now! I got my start in the Fashion industry where they are notorious for crazy work hours. I was 20 years old working 10-12 hour days and the occasional weekend. It was absolutely miserable. I knew I would never be able to have a family working like that. Read more>>

Bo Spencer | Human

Balance is important but family should always come first. I learned that with the passing of my grandmother. Work and money come and go. We have a limited and uncertain amount of time as humans. My life is dedicated to building and creating. To experiencing and learning as much as possible. My life is dedicated to love. My goal is to lead with love and good intentions. Im not concerned with money, clout or the accumulation of stuff. Read more>>

Joyce Gutierrez | Business Coach For Creative Entrepreneurs

In the beginning stages of my business, there was absolutely no balance. Balance didn’t even cross my mind. I had a day job and I was trying to figure out how to start and scale a calligraphy and online education business after my 9-to-5 ended (and if I’m honest, I also thought about this while at my day job). I think in that beginning season, it was ok to work a little more in order to set up the foundation of my business. Now, I see things differently. In order to not burn out, I set boundaries for myself. That means office hours, working about 20 hours a week, saying no to opportunities I’m not 100% excited about, and setting up systems and automations to help me gain “more” time. Read more>>

Andre Filip | CEO & Founder

I love this question. You hear a lot of people talking about work-life balance. As entrepreneurs, I believe we sign up for something a little bit different. It’s very difficult to have balance. Rather, blend, is what we need that continues to propel you toward your goal while giving you productive outlets. As an entrepreneur, you make a decision to make your business your life. This philosophy may not be popular. If you’re passionate about what you do, then this way of thinking and working shouldn’t be a problem. No matter what you do, it always has to move you forward towards bettering yourself for your business, whether it’s a course you’re taking, something you’re learning or time to decompress and rejuvenate. Read more>>

Dario Griffin | Photographer & Videographer

Pre-Pandemic, my work life balance as an entrepreneur included responsible work times, infused with recharge breaks, personal hobbies, social engagement, and keeping to a schedule that worked for me. In the first few weeks of quarantine, I was excited to use this opportunity to lean into more passion projects and binge watching – which threw my well calculated system off kilter. As I’m beginning to take on remote projects to keep my business afloat, I find that my clients expect more for less because it’s assumed that I’m sitting at home, waiting to serve them. So, how I have I adjusted to these critical times? Read more>>

Queena Wei | Managing Partner & VP Business Development

Work life balance is probably one of the most challenging things that entrepreneurs willingly and openly embrace. I can clearly recall the turning point in my life when I first became a mom and was forced to carry out this balancing act – figuring out the right mix of mindfulness and execution, which in tandem, proved to be the most difficult. I’ve learned that it’s not about how much you’re willing to sacrifice, rather that you cannot sacrifice yourself in this process. I admit that a lot of the pressure was self-imposed because I played many different roles to different people and I always ended up prioritizing everyone else’s needs above my own. Read more>>

Tamar Saunders | Herbalist & Sustainability Consultant

I learned work life balance at a young age, always doing tons of activities, such as competitive and synchronized swimming, academic decathlon, and speech and debate. Since becoming an “adult,” work life balance becomes more complicated–a balancing act of enjoying and being happy in everything you do, from relationships and professional work to creative time. I’ve learned to think about balance by evaluating all the activities I do and whether they are preventing me from truly doing well or progressing in other areas of my life. Read more>>

Dr. Allison Adams | Chiropractor

When I started my own business 3 years ago, I was so focused on getting it up and running and making sure it was successful that I pushed all the other aspects of my life to the back burner. I feel the one positive that came out of the covid-19 crisis is that it forced me and everyone else to slow down. As an essential health care provider, my office remained open to see patients during the Los Angeles County “Safer at Home Order”, however, I had to shift the way I practiced. I had to focus on how I was going to reach my patients since many were afraid to leave their homes. I had to get creative and through that creative process of sending patients exercise videos, daily affirmations and health tips, it simply reminded them to go back to the basics of their health. Read more>>

Zack Morrison | Writer & Filmmaker

I think I should preface this by saying stating that my work-life balance is awful. It’s probably one of the most unhealthy parts of my life, besides, you know–not working out and probably drinking too much. Read more>>

Mary Lai | Visual Artist & Designer

Balancing work and life has changed over time especially once I had kids. I picture this balancing act to be like surfing and reading each wave as they come. Some waves are a great ride and sometimes you get knocked out by them. Overall, I try not to be too hard on myself. The less I stress the better I balance and accomplish more. Read more>>

Ayinde Anderson | Cinematographer

When I first started to pursue Cinematography, I felt it was necessary to dive head first into all that was “filmmaking”. I converted my entire world to serve my progression of film knowledge and experience. I gave up summers with friends and family, to sit alone and study films and filmmakers. Maybe it was necessary at the time, but I learned years later how important it was for me to have a life beyond film. Not only does a greater world perspective inform my creative decisions as an artist, but it also has allowed me to find enjoyment in things that don’t hinge on the success of my career. So when work slows down, or I’m unhappy with how a project came together, I can still find happiness/fulfillment elsewhere – and that keeps me trudging along in good spirits. Read more>>

Patricia Vargas | Visual Artist

Finding the sweet spot for balancing work and non-work activities is a constant work in progress. Though over my decade of being self-employed, I think that I have made some significant strides. In the beginning, I would work from the moment I got out of bed until I went to sleep around 11 pm. I was working 16-hour days, which was definitely not sustainable. But during those early days, I was so excited to be working for myself that I didn’t even care about my long hours. However, as I got older, got married, and started finding a rhythm with my business, I realized that working that 16hours a day was unnecessary. I gave myself a time audit and noticed that I was filling my days doing “busy work” and not enough time doing the things that would move my business forward. Read more>>

Cecilia Chang Lee | Art Director & Designer

I think over time a lot of jobs end up becoming all-consuming. Whatever the profession, you need focus and drive in order to channel a passion into career. It does get overwhelming sometimes. Trying to find balance can overtake perspective. I’m constantly trying to find what inspires me to create versus creating because it pays the bills. It’s easy to lose focus on why you started creating in the first place. People in my industry sometimes spend 50-60 hours a week working. Sometimes 100. What we all have to remember is that it’s okay to step away and take a break doing something completely unrelated to the job. As hours get longer and expectations become higher, it’s so important to find time for yourself. To rediscover that passion and reason for starting in the first place. Read more>>

Katie Hayward | Owner

Work life balance in my opinion is different for everyone and it is always a constantly evolving metric. How I looked at work life balance 10 years ago is different from how I look at work life balance today. Prioritizing what is important to me is a major part of my balance and is why it is constantly evolving as I age and my priorities change. I am a true believer in taking care of yourself so that you have more to give to the world. One of my favorite quotes is “never give from the depths of your well but from the overflow.”-Rumi. With that said there are a few major items in my toolbox I do to keep my well full. Read more>>

Susana Yee | Digital Marketer

Work life balance is tough when you own your own business. It is not like you can go to the office and leave at 6PM and not think about it until the next day. If you have people working with you and vendors working with you, emails are always coming in. What I have learned over the years is that I have to decide when I will stop and end each of my work days and create some space for myself and my family. There are weekends when I have a deadline and I end up working all Saturday or all Sunday and that is just how things go when you own your own business, but the great thing is, if I need to do something in the middle of the day on a weekday, I can also take that time for myself and make it up later that night or the next day. Read more>>

Jasmine Betancourt | Fashion Stylist

I believe that risk-taking is adaptable and can lead to positive outcomes when the conditions are favorable. By taking a risk, I was able to pursue my dream job as a fashion stylist. Read more>>

Decue Wu | Illustrator

I used to work 40 hours a week for my full-time job, and dedicated my nights and weekends to freelance projects. It was exhausting. Gradually, I realized all of my time and life was about work, and more work. So, I decided to change my lifestyle, and better balance my work life this year. I learned how to reject clients properly and how to only choose the projects that I am really interested in, without exhausting myself. I learned to not think about work after work time, and tried to dig into other hobbies beside my career, such as gardening and wood shop. This really makes me feel so much happier than before. I now have a chance to learn many other skills other than illustration, and whenever I go back to work, I feel more energetic and inspired by my life. Read more>>

Mahaley Patel | Marriage and Family Therapist & Trainee; Pediatric Sleep Consultant

Balance, or rather, integration, is a daily practice for me. I work as a pediatric sleep consultant and a marriage and family therapist trainee, I am finishing my last six months of graduate school, and I have a toddler—all in the middle of a pandemic. For me, I look at each day as an opportunity to integrate rather than balance. Balance always suggested to me that everything should be equal or of the proportion I would like. But that never felt attainable. Instead, I try to ensure that I am making room for the things that I want to do each day. Some days, doing that looks like a 15-minute workout in between appointments. Other days it might be more indulgent, and life allows me to get in more time for myself. Read more>>

David Mansanalez | Writer & Film/TV Producer

Honestly for me I have learned to balance my work and personal time. As a writer, I would read books that say, “try to write five pages a day… devote an hour a day to your craft…” I think those books are great to read, but for me, I had to learn to use them as a guideline. I usually find my self always creatively working, whether it’s with my team or alone. So for me, knowing when to turn off, have fun and be in thew moment is something I value. I guess the term is “work hard, play hard.” Read more>>

Isabel Moreno | Bakery Owner

Work and life balance has always been essential to me. When I initially opened my business I recognized that I needed to close the shop at least one or two days to give myself somewhat of a break so that I wouldn’t burn myself out. Most of the time I am still doing some sort of work away from the shop on these days, whether it is answering emails or buying ingredients along with with self care and exercise to create balance. I close my shop Sundays and Mondays, and almost seven years later I still look forward to work on Tuesday. My work life balance has evolved over the years in a positive way. Read more>>

Hannah Parrott | Composer

I have always been an over-worker. I think this stems from a good place of desiring purpose and excellence in what I do, but it easily turns into detrimental obsession if I’m not proactive. Through instances where I have seen the outcome of years of this sort of obsessive work-aholism in others and through my own trial and error, I have come to realize that work, while it is important and life-giving, is not strong enough to sustain the weight of my full love and devotion. I have seen the heartbreaking fallout of sacrificing everything for your career and it looked incredibly empty to me, an addiction that in the words of C.S. Lewis had become “an ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure.” Read more>>

Ashley Hayward | Live Performance Artist & Producer

As a live performance artist and producer, there’s so much work people don’t know about. Often times when I say I have work to do during the day, people always follow-up with, what work do you have to do? It seems people just assume you show up to the gig, do your thing, and you’re done. What they don’t know is if you don’t work to build the foundation, remind people you exist, you will no longer have gigs to perform at. It’s a constant hustle. 9-5? How about 24/7. This is where work life balance can be a challenge. The freedom of being a business owner also comes with great responsibility. Read more>>

Jingqiu Guan | Filmmaker & Choreographer

For a long time, I felt that having a child actually forced me to better achieve work-life balance. I enjoy my work very much and used to work long hours. However, after my son was born, I learned that it is not only necessary but also much more enjoyable to take evenings and weekends off. It took me some time to stop feeling guilty about not working constantly, and I had to re-evaluate what work means to me. Once I was able to adapt to the new rhythm, I felt that my life became a lot more balanced by being able to separate work and family time, and my work also became more efficient. However, recently, I had to quickly shift my ideal vision of maintaining a sense of work-life balance to pursuing work-life integration. Read more>>

Johan Carpenter | Creative Consultant & Producer

24 hours. That’s all you get, regardless of status, creed, or wealth. Time and its utilization is arguably the only true currency that we are given. As someone who is deeply passionate about his craft, career, and personal relationships, the daily challenge presents itself in the allocation of this currency. This is no easy task, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this everchanging mental jigsaw puzzle. In the years following my college graduation, balancing the accumulation of wealth, proper regulation of health, improvement of craft, and social upkeep of friendships, proved to be more difficult than any academic coursework. Until graduation, much of my life had been conveniently scheduled and organized by institutions. Read more>>

Daniel Joo | Actor

My concept of balance has changed over time. I am beginning to understand that there is no such thing as balance, but the importance of having and executing priorities. I stopped trying to be good at everything and focused on doing things I am passionate about. I equate this to big brand companies such as Nike. Whenever I think of Nike, they are great in producing shoes and sports apparel because they focused all their time and efforts in being the best at that. I have never seen Nike attempt to make cheeseburgers, fries, or desserts because it does not fit into their goals. Nike’s success comes from focusing on their priorities rather than trying to be balanced. Read more>>

Clarissa Wright | CEO & Digital Marketing Strategist

I think finding balance is extremely important. The way I look at it – what is the point of achieving all of this success if you can’t enjoy it or actually take time for yourself? So I make a commitment to myself everyday. Every morning between 6 am to 8 am is “me-time”. I start off with a 30-minute workout followed by meditation for 15-20 minutes, have my morning coffee, and do my morning skincare routine. Then, I start my work day at my home office desk but not a minute before 8 am. I owe it to myself to take make that commitment every morning. Because the more we work on ourselves, the more we can be present with everything and everyone else around us. It’s a win-win – for me and my clients. Read more>>

Noor Molvi | Founder & Designer

Time management is not my strong suit. I’m the type of person that works best at night and feels the most creative at 2 am, it’s great to have that creative rush late at night but it’s not very conducive to running a business. As an entrepreneur I relish having a flexible schedule but for the first few years of my business I was working all the time. Even though I was sitting at my desk for so many hours, I wasn’t necessarily being productive. If I had a meeting on a Monday I would cancel any weekend plans in the name of “needing to prepare” for said meeting when in reality I would spend most of that time procrastinating and feeling anxious about how much work I needed to do. Read more>>

Denise Berger | Professor, Advisor & Jewelry Business Owner

I like to think of work and life as being integration and a dance that work and life do together, as opposed to each taking a turn of equal proportion. Throughout my career I have found that proportional balance between the two is difficult to achieve at any given moment, but being aware of how the are integrated seems to be more realistic. With technology creating greater work access points in our personal lives, the two are increasingly intertwined. I think it takes some discipline to make sure that neither work nor life take over. Yes, I know we think we want the life part to dominate, but I think there is more to the equation. First, I was in the World Trade Center on 9/11 – on the 103rd floor. Read more>>

Barbara A. Thomason | Artist & Author

My life work balance has changed a bit over time. When I was married I had to juggle domestic life, work and artistic work and it was not always easy. I always did the artwork but it was exhausting to work full time be a housewife and art maker. My husband was not very helpful. Not being married is much better. I like being alone and I have time for work and art. I taught for many years and would come home and paint half the night. I am a night owl so this worked for me. I retired a couple of years ago and not much has changed. I still paint at night until the wee hours. During the day I do what ever I please. Read more>>

Chevonne Hughes | Actor & Foodie

Honestly, my work life balance used to be horrible. I had no hobbies except watching movies and TV. With each passing year, doing so was becoming more of a learning tool than entertainment. I didn’t have passion projects outside of acting because my career was my passion project. Now that I’ve established a solid base resume from which to grow, I’ve been able to relax a bit more. And now with Covid 19, I’ve been forced to relax and find ways to fill my time. I have found some wonderful new hobbies. Some I’m good at, and some…..not so much but it’s been awesome to have something outside of developing my career to focus on. As an actor you have to have a complete life. Read more>>

Carolina Rubalcava | Visual Artist & Graphic Designer

I would absolutely say work life balance is a job in itself. Things WILL come up, and you will get derailed but the most important thing would be is to allow yourself to find the balance and the new normals that come up without punishing yourself. My balance changed massively due to the very unexpected pandemic. My normality shifted and things changed drastically. It was something I found hard to accept but once I did I started to feel less pressure and more creativity to make pieces I love for me. Read more>>

Donnie B. GotDaBeats | Music Producer & Recording Artist

This is a work in progress for me…. Work life balance, for me, is something that requires a great deal of extra effort to maintain. I’ve worked really hard, throughout my life, to get really good at the skills and talents that I have. However, People seem to underestimate how busy I am, or can get, which ultimately affects my balance daily. It has soured some of my relationships and I’ve lost some really good friends in the process. With that said, I’ve had to make sure that family and my kids’ well being are at the center of my balance in order to ensure i’m focused on the most important pieces of my puzzle. Read more>>

Angela Cochran | Production Makeup Artist, Heart and Vascular Medical Professional & Student

Well, I currently work in the hospital in the medical profession full time and attending school full time. Education and maintaining stability has always been important to me. It gets hard, but worth it. There were times I was taking my medical classes at night after work while freelancing at the news station. That was brutal but again, worth every minute. I recently have been signed to a talent agency as a production makeup artist. Signing with Talent Plus Agency has been the most exciting experience. Time wise, I always try to communicate with my agent, my work, school schedule and make time for the agency so I can do my job. Honestly, I would be nothing without a planner and God. Read more>>

Andre Martinez | Voice Actor, Sound Editor & Director

This question really starts to hit you when you make the switch from amateur to professional. For a quick definition, Let’s define amateur as unpaid acting for passion projects and student films, and professional as running a business working paid work as a primary source of income. When you start a creative profession, you initially start it because it seems like the best way to mold work and life together; the sort of thing people mean when they say “if you enjoy what you do, you will never work a day in your life”. But I’ve found it’s not always that simple. Sure, you start out with a few paid gigs and classes that you genuinely enjoy and power through like no other, but once your work as an actor and your free time also being an actor start to blend together, you find yourself in the feedback loop of being at work ALL THE TIME. Read more>>

Barbara Nathanson | Artist: Fine Art Painter

When I first started, I had two young children, a 30-hour-a-week job, a home to run and a hard working husband who also needed some attention from time to time. I had no studio so the kitchen table and later the garage was my work space. These areas also had to be shared with the family, daily. Space, time to work and money for materials for many years were at a premium. As my children grew up and left home I no longer needed to work at a “day job”, money issues abated. I had more time AND now a studio! Hallelujah! Thanks goes to my loving, caring and very supportive husband. Throughout these years I continued to join art associations to meet and dialogue with other artists and to increase avenues to show my art. Read more>>