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.

Amelia Chen | Designer & Illustrator

I grew up in a traditional asian family. The thing I heard the most from my parents is you have to study hard and work hard to succeed. It seems like a responsibility for me to work my fullest to satisfy my parents. It’s like my life goal and purpose, which is extremely sad. For many years, work takes precedence over everything else in my life. Work brings contentment and fulfillment to my life. But I was losing my happiness. When I finished my college and stepped into my career life. I started to realise I need to change my mindset, get rid of this workaholic habit, learn not to take work too seriously, and have a harmonious work-life balance. I began to read self help books to slowly change my habit and mind. It’s not easy to refuse jobs and work. But 2020 totally changes me. A year is full of difficulties, tears, fear, and tragedy. Read more>>

Terri Moore | Architect & Jewelry Designer

The one thing that drastically changed my approach to work life balance was motherhood. Before my son was born it was very easy to work late at night and on weekends and actually waste a lot of time. Studies have shown that working beyond about 50 hours a week actually starts to make you less productive and prone to burn-out. These days I am a lot more focused about how I use my time, and very protective of the hours that I get to work. There are a few habits I’ve developed over the years to make the best use of the time I have. I schedule my creative time in the morning when I’m well rested, and leave email and other administrative matters to the afternoon when my energy starts to fade. I also try to keep appointments in the afternoon so as to not interrupt my creative flow. Read more>>

Ava Ismaiylova | Film Producer & Director

For me my career was always the main goal. I always choose projects, business meetings, seminars – anything work related over family and friends. I don’t think it was bad – I was in my 20s and this is how I felt. For me it was the only right life style back then. 7 months ago I became a Mom and my life changed a lot since. Also because of the pandemic situation to be honest. I now have the most important project – being a good Mom. Now I evaluate If anything work related is worth my time, where will it take me versus jumping into so many projects and not having time for myself and my family. Also, now I see my career goals more clearly. I became much better at time management. Of course I have a so-called Mom guilt, when I have to leave my baby for work but I know that every working Mom has it from time to time. Read more>>

Coleen Janeway | Beauty & Wellness Expert

Experience changes you. The knowledge of how you use your time and how you focus becomes really evident. Building a healthy brand takes vision and heart. Manifesting your dreams is more than just daydreaming. I maintain a balance by scheduling what is important to me personally as well as professionally. I set intentions, do the research, seek mentors and put in the work necessary to see my vision come to life. Balance takes as much work as building a business, being conscious of choices I make each day allows me to evaluate where I am in my own growth process. Read more>>

Sohani Holland | Fiber Artist & Strategic Controller

Balance requires you to be conscious of the life you want within each moment. When you become aware of your own needs and flow, it is easier to navigate to equilibrium. And, as we interact and relate with others, it is also important to acknowledge that this balance point is unique within each of us. The core of what I love, what brings me joy, that has not changed, but how these essential elements have integrated within my life has naturally evolved, as my perspectives and responsibilities shifted. In the earlier stages of my life, my schedule was focused on gathering work experience, learning about business through helping others build theirs. Over time, I developed enough knowledge to know I wanted more command of my day. As someone that used to work primarily in an office setting, I needed to make more room for my creation process. Read more>>

Kim Bergman, PhD | Psychologist, Author & Family Building Expert

Work life balance is very important. When my kids were younger they were my main focus, my career, while important took a slight back seat. I’m lucky in that my wife and I both were able to have time at home and time at work. As they got older I was really able to pour myself into my career, growing my company and traveling all over the world to meet with clients. The empty nest period brought a whole new freedom and whole new focus on new adventures, like traveling the world for work and fun and writing my two books. Well COVID has somewhat reversed that with my adult daughters coming home for a time and work becoming a stay at home process. All these months at home have had me refocus on taking care of me, something I don’t usually take a lot time for. So full circle, my work, life, family, me time balance is at an all time high. I guess that’s been a silver lining in all this craziness. Read more>>

Jen Esquer | Doctor of Physical Therapy, CEO & Founder

Going into Entrepreneurship, you realize that the “work life balance” challenge really increases. It is difficult to pull yourself away from work when it is your passion, you want everything to be perfect, and when it is always sitting right next to you at home. Work life balance for me is more about learning the work life integration. I work well at certain times. Maybe my best creative working time is from 8pm-12am (it actually is, I know…. not the greatest sometimes), but it is when my mind is most ready to dive completely into some big projects. Rather than fighting this, I just make sure to put on my blue-light blocking glasses, and I sleep in a little more. This just means that I get to schedule in my personal, me time a little differently. Like taking time to work outside or go on a lunch date with my fiancé. Speaking of my fiancé, we both now work together! Read more>>

Lily Chan | Business Owner

There is pretty much no balance when you are in the restaurant business. Hours are long, six and seven day work weeks are the norm, and pay is low. After hours start when most people are already in bed and and last late into the morning. After we had our daughter, I knew that I could not go back to the long and late night work hours I had been accustomed to all these years working as a chef but had no idea how to do it. I knew that I wanted a five day work week and no night hours, which is almost non existent in the field. I knew it was time to work for myself. A vacant spot miraculously opened up in town and the seed for Pierside Press Sandwich Shop took root. I had plenty of restaurant experience but always worked for other people. The thought of starting our own business was terrifying and exciting. Josh worked in construction most of his life and had no experience in the restaurant business. Read more>>

Tracy Schroeder | Real Estate Asset Manager & Interior Designer

In my twenties I had more personal free time and a bigger life balance with freedom to travel and a vibrant social life. That was when I was just starting out as a working professional with less responsibility. By the time I got to my thirties my career was taking off and my work demands were much higher, focusing my social life with other creatives and young professionals usually for a purpose. Now in my forties as I am deeply invested in my career which naturally has taken precedence. I have had to be very selective on whom I share my personal time and nurture relationships that are uplifting, satisfying, and meaningful. Equally as important I find that carving out time for myself, whether it be a 30 minute workout, or an hour to relax is necessary to my overall health. Read more>>

Brittney Bertier | Actress, Writer & Producer

When I moved to New York City to become an actress, fresh BFA in hand; my father said “There are a lot of talented people, just make sure no one works harder than you.” That became my mantra for most of my twenties. That isn’t to say that I didn’t have my share of fun or adventures, but I was largely nose to the grind stone and the relationships I built were those that made the struggle more fun, but were always dotted with conversations about “the business.” How to survive the business, how to THRIVE in the business, what is the one thing we could be doing to set ourselves apart that we just haven’t figured out yet…etc. It was a one way train to success, and I was the first passenger aboard. As that train came around the bend and approached my thirties, I found myself chronically fatigued and blocked creatively. Read more>> 

Seetal Cheema | Physician, Medical Acupuncture & Yoga Therapeutics

My name is Seetal, rhyming with “lethal.” Lethal Seetal – a good pneumonic for remembering the pronunciation. It means “peace,” and I promise I won’t hurt you. My full first name is actually Seetal Preet Kaur. I am Sikh, and all Sikh women have the middle name Kaur, meaning “princess.” Preet means “love.” So I am the “Princess of Peace and Love.” I was named very appropriately for California living. A Sikh is a “seeker of truth.” And that has been my journey, to Live my True Being. Often it is assumed that since I am of Indian descent, I must be proficient in yoga, meditation and Sanskrit. The truth is that I did not take a yoga class until I was 17 years old in college, by an American teacher. I did not learn to meditate formally until I was 28, living in New York City. The only Sanskrit I know is from yoga teacher training, where I learned that vriksasana means “tree pose.” Interestingly, most people in India do not practice yoga and meditation as we see it here in the Western world. Read more>>

Sydney K. | Producer & Sound and Picture Editor

Ah – work-life balance! This is a topic I’m always shifting on and always working towards! The balance with these two spaces is always shifting with me — I also think it’s a lot more than just these two circles. I think social and personal lives enter in and I think I generally split my time into those 3; I guess dividing my “life” into my social and personal lives rather than one whole thing. None of those things or the people in those circles mean any less to me than the others, but it helps me to think about them in that way, to organize my life. I first started thinking about this balance in high school. Without going too far back, I had a major epiphany in high school in about 11th grade. I wasn’t very happy – I had been spending all my time on my studies and on school, worried about college, and how I would turn out as a person. I didn’t have very many friends. Read more>>