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.

Monisha Vasa | Psychiatrist, Wellness Consultant & Mindfulness Facilitator

I think the concept of work-life balance is an outdated one. With access to technology 24/7, many of are now spending working hours on a mix of home life, helping kids with homework, pursuing side gigs, and our actual “job” related duties. We are also spending traditional after work hours responding to emails and catching up on paperwork. There has been a blending and merging of our various worlds. This flexibility can be beautiful and offer us freedom; it can also result in an “always on” mentality. We have to do our best to bring self awareness to how we are spending our time and energy, and set healthy limits and boundaries where possible as we try to create a life that is fulfilling and meaningful. I do think we can have it all, but maybe not all at the same time. Read more>>

Chantal Young | Director of Medical Student Wellness & Clinical Psychologist

I am happy to report that as my confidence has grown, my work-life balance has leaned heavily in the “life” direction. I had an epiphany that a lot of my so-called “hard work” (i.e., workaholism!) was really driven by need to prove my worth, a need to feel “productive” at all times, or even worse, a need for self-punishment – rather than a heartfelt desire to bring my best to my career and serve the people with whom I work. Now, instead of overworking and draining myself dry, I try to work “smart.” I prioritize, take tasks slowly, do what’s most important first and let the rest wait, and make plenty of time to care for myself. To my amazement, this slow and relaxed approach actually leads to HIGHER productivity because I feel less fear about facing difficult tasks, leaving me free to tackle them without anxiety, and less likely to procrastinate. Read more>>

Jackie Lamping | Chief Marketing Officer

Early in my career, I was relentless in my pursuit of proving my worth as a professional, achieving financial independence, and building the life society had told me I wanted. I worked incredibly long hours and put my relationships with family and friends on the back burner while I put effort into achieving a laundry list of accomplishments — get an MBA, pay off my student debt, get married, become a homeowner, be ready to have kids — all before age 30. The people I spent the most time with were colleagues who nicknamed me “Turbo Jackie” and the “Energizer Bunny” as I checked these items off my list. And suddenly, there it was, my 30th birthday, staring me straight in the face. I remember distinctly, looking in the mirror and wondering why after all those accomplishments in life, why did I feel so… unfulfilled, and honestly… lonely? In hindsight, it’s obvious. Read more>>

Palmer Earl | Painter

Before I had kids, I could work whenever I wanted to for as long as I liked. Now I have to divide my time between work and being with my kids. I love being with my kids and need to give them plenty of time, but I also want to maintain my studio practice so when I work, I really focus and make use of every minute. Finding a perfect balance between career and family is a constant challenge. I will always feel a bit guilty if I spend too much time in the studio instead of with my family and vice versa. I guess as long as the guilt from painting is close to the same level as the guilt from being with my kids, I am doing all right. I also try to remind myself that it’s good for my children to see me working hard and following my passion as I know that it will inspire them to one day do the same. Read more>>

Jennifer Aos | Interior Designer & Business Owner

When I first started my business, I thought I had to work 24/7 and obsess about my projects in order to do a good job. I would get emails all hours of the day since my clients were on the west coast but numerous vendors and resources were on the East Coast or in another country. Then there was social media, which was a never-ending cycle. I found myself unable to take vacations during my first 10 years in business. I became burned out, less productive and felt like I was getting the short end of the stick. Later I discovered the more I took care of myself and set time boundaries with my business, the more productive I was. This actually benefited the client as I was energized and inspired and easier to work with. Creative inspiration thrives when I am rested and have a healthy work/life balance. I finally learned how to “work to live, not live to work”. Read more>>

Nasira Cooley | Registered Dietitian & Nutrition Professor

I am a driven person and have perfectionist tendencies. I tend to keep working until the work is done, and this approach sometimes leads to an unbalanced lifestyle where I find little to no time to relax and enjoy a calm moment. I’ve learned I am happiest when my life feels balanced between family, work, exercise, sleep, and hobbies. Since becoming a mother in February 2020, I’ve discovered how easily a new family member can offset this balance. A new baby quickly becomes the focus of all a parents’ time and energy! I know that my daughter is the most important investment of my time, however, I am a better mother when I maintain a sense of self and balance. Trying to work while simultaneously managing a household and caring for an infant leads to divided attention, mediocre outcomes, and stress. Read more>>

Jeanette Ascension Alchemy | Alchemist

In the beginning of my business, I worked all of the time. I would sometimes over-give, causing imbalance in myself because I wanted to assist so many people that really had no idea of where to begin in their self healing. Now in present timelines, I absolutely balance my work assignments and my life as they are closely intertwined. Each day I am in service to others but I also remember to schedule time off to heart devotion, rest, play, love and travel!!! I love my life!! Read more>>

Kate Hauschka | Photographer

When I started my business back in 2009, I was 100% focused on my business, building my brand, building my skill set, and learning the ins and outs of how to operate a business. As a new photographer, and not at all a business person, I worked long days and nights to establish myself. I took every job I could, and as I began to get busy, I was able to be a bit more picky with the work coming in and raise my prices every year to match my experience. The work paid off and after about 5 years in business I was doing very well for myself. It was also at about that time that I realized I would soon burn out and not be able to achieve so many other life goals of mine if I kept going at that rate and burning the candle at both ends. Read more>>

Lawrence Limtao | Artist & Project Manager

In the early years of pursuing my passion project, it was easy to lose sight of the fine line that lives between work and life. Because I loved what I was doing so much, I would forget that it too was work, and that I needed to take my foot off the gas pedal to stop and refuel from time to time. The nonstop go-all-the-time drive led to unforeseen burnouts and I have since learned how to take a step back and remember to live. In more recent days, I’ve readjusted that balance and may not paint every single day – Sometimes its nice to just temporarily take your focus off what you’re working on and take time to enjoy other things like skateboarding with friends or going on a bike ride somewhere listening to your favorite music. Read more>>

Richele Silva | Creative Director

When I first started my business 15+ years ago I worked day and night to get it off the ground. I often described running my own business as having a baby that never grows up. It constantly needs your full attention. I did that for about 6 years working nights and weekends to make it happen. It was not a good balance then and looking back at it I feel like it was more fear based than anything else. I wouldn’t recommend that train of thought. I made an agreement with myself a number of years ago that I don’t work Sundays anymore and generally I take off Saturdays as well. I feel better when I have more rest and I’m able to think more clearly so I would say that balance is very important. On a rare occasion I’ll have an order that requires some weekend work or getting ready for a trade show but other than that I stick to a 9-6 schedule. My body and mind both need the rest. Read more>>

Jackie Nagel | Strategist to Micro & Small Business Owners

I’ve been more intentional about achieving balance in the past two years. It was triggered by what I call my “Dorothy” moment. While training for a 7-day backcountry trip to Mt. Whitney, I opted to run my business on 3 days a week. It was then I realized I could have been doing it all along. “Hustle” is a myth. Read more>>

Mychal Prieto | Yoga Instructor & Holistic Personal Trainer

The balance between work & life is an interesting one to say the least. My work consists of teaching, coaching, listening, observing, and learning, while being empathetic and sympathetic to myself and those around me. So in essence my work is my life, but in order to keep it in balance I must allow myself the time and space that I need to recharge, regenerate, and fill my cup back up to the brim so that I have plenty to give to others and those who I teach and coach. Figuring out what refuels my soul was simple, nature. Being submerged in mountains, trees, wildlife, and clean body of water. Figuring out what drains it was simple as well, overworking, and it came with some valuable lessons along the way which I am very grateful for. Read more>>

Maria A. Rodriguez | Journalist & Marketing Expert

I’ve come to understand that self-care is necessary to maximize productivity. Working long hours at the expense of our physical and mental health won’t yield the desired outcome. I think we all need to strive to work smarter, not harder! Read more>>

Christy B | Interior Designer

Because I love my work so much I never considered the need for work-life balance. Then I had a baby and my whole world was turned upside down! I wasn’t able to juggle it all so I stopped working. That seemed like the right choice as a new mother, but it turned out to be the wrong choice for me. I didn’t feel like myself and I was suffering. I slowly started to pick up projects and it turned out that motherhood made me extremely efficient! I was laser-focused on whatever I was doing because I knew I had limited time before the baby needed me again. What I thought was going to be disastrous to my career, turned out to be an advantage. Now, I run a tight schedule and am very organized. When I’m working, I’m very focused and when I’m with my kid, I’m not checking emails or trying to multitask. Read more>>

Viktoria Tabak | Private Chef & Caterer

For years, my work life was always go-go-go. The only responsibility I had was that of my relationship to the work itself. I always pushed harder, picked up the second (or third) catering event, etc. However, when I had my son, Jack, my universe shifted, because it had to. Children force us to slow down, and force us to pay attention to something that will TRULY make an impact in forty years. Will the dinner I cater tomorrow make an impression on the people who experience it? Absolutely. But, will the boy I raise into a man possibly change the world? Could be. And I’ll work my butt off trying to find out! Read more>>

Lucy Yeh | Career and Life Coach & Bodyworker

Looking back at my life from the perspective of being 51 years old, I can clearly see where I learned what “work/life balance” actually means to me. In my 20s, I thought I lived with balance – but I didn’t know that I didn’t know what that was. I worked in HR and recruiting at the time, and loved my job. Loving work was a good thing, but it also meant I worked ALL THE TIME – 12 hours a day, 7 days a week most of the time. My diet was not healthy, and I never exercised, and because I was young I could go out late with friends after working a long day, and function fine on less than ideal sleep. That lifestyle caught up to me in my 30s. I was still in recruiting at that time, and I still loved certain things about my job – but rather than wanting to deal with and socialize with lots of people, I was drawn to deeper, more selective communication. Read more>>

Dean Nielsen | Home Inspector

When I started my Home Inspection company 6 years ago, I took every job and every call I could. Every job and phone call I took was an opportunity to grow my business and get my name out there. I don’t pay for marketing, so it was extremely important to use each job to market my business with my efficiency and thoroughness. I have a wife and three daughters who I love spending time with, so this was an extremely trying and busy time in my life. At that time, the work life balance was making the most of every opportunity I had with my family. My family is always my number one priority. Investing countless hours into growing my business meant making a lot of sacrifices in different areas of my life. Fortunately, my company is family owned and it’s run by my wife and I; we work as a team and about 25% of my work is done at home, writing reports. Read more>>