A host of factors, developments, and dynamics have made most industries more competitive than ever.  As a result so many of us wonder whether there is still such a thing as work-life balance. We reached out to the community to hear perspectives on finding the right balance.

Alison Okerman | Founder

When I first had kids and was working a usual 9-5 the balance was simple. While at work, that was the priority. While home the family was the priority. The hard part was during work hours when I would get called because someone wasn’t feeling good, or I would have to be late for work because I didn’t want to miss an activity with the kids. It was a constant guilt of missing work for the kids, or missing the kids for work. Once I was out of the 9-5 routine and started doing something on my own, everything shifted. In this role I think about work 24 hours a day. I could work 24 hours a day. So now I have to put real effort into managing that balance. I have to make sure I take time off to be with my kids, or not feel guilty when I need to work. Ultimately this balance is more chaotic but much better. Read more>>

Joshua Spencer | Bookstore Owner

The balance unfortunately tipped over the years to “all work and no play makes Josh a dull boy.” I remember when I had time to actually read and hang out with friends and travel. Now, especially once COVID-19 hit and threatened the business, I’ve had to work even more. Thankfully, I love what I do but it is an insatiable monster and I fantasize about retirement every day! Read more>>

Emily Duval Ledger | Owner & Lead Trainer

I’ve been a personal trainer and business owner for over 15 years, and my work/life balance is probably the thing that has most dramatically changed for me during that time. Especially as I get older, I realize that my old habits of burning the candle at both ends and working nonstop are actually counterproductive to my success. When I finally learned how to share the load, delegate more effectively, and truly work WITH my team instead of trying to do everything myself, I found that I am not only much happier as a person, but our company is that much stronger! And the irony is not lost on me that the balance I was working so hard to help my clients find in their own lives, I was not finding for myself. I absolutely love my work, and I can see myself training for many more years to come, so keeping a good work/life balance is the key to that longevity. Read more>>

Paul Emerson | Director

I used to work all the time. ALL the time- weekends, nights, holidays. In fact I’d get frustrated when the weekend hit because less people were available to do business with. It was an addiction and one that ended up literally making me sick. It was cyclical- I’d work 80 hours a week and I’d push and push and ignore my personal needs, relationships, etc., and then finally after a few months I’d start to come down with some non-specific malady and it would put me down for three or four days. It was my body saying, “If you’re not going to stop, I’m going to make you.” After a decade of that, I got wise and imposed a “no work on the weekend” policy. A few years later, I implemented a “no work after 7” policy. And more recently, I’ve allowed myself to not do busy work- to not try and find work to do if there is none. I’ve allowed myself to rest. Read more>>

Whitnie Wiley | Organizational and Leadership Development Consultant, Coach & Podcaster

At one point, I didn’t think about balance. I didn’t need to. Life was easy and I just did what I wanted. It wasn’t until I found myself with competing priorities and limited resources, namely, having to juggle the demands on my time as a mom and a law student, that balance was a pervasive issue. All of the sudden, I had to make decisions about what was most important and how to make sure all the things that were important got done. Many people don’t believe that balance is possible and look to use other words to describe the essence of what we want to feel. Whether you use the term integration, harmony or any other, the key to getting where you want to go is understanding your values and priorities, establishing boundaries with yourself and other people. Read more>>

Ella De Gea | Photographer

This is definitely an interesting question, especially with the last few months we have been facing. When you start any kind of project or career, especially in an artistic field, you have to give 100% of yourself and dedicate the majority of your time to it. This works for awhile and inevitably results in something that benefits you for the long run, but it does wear you out. I started working full time as a photographer/editor/assistant at the end of 2017 after finishing my Bachelor’s degree and my work life balance has changed tremendously since then. I started off by taking just about any job I could get, for whatever price I could get, just to get my name out and get as much experience and exposure as I could. The money wasn’t great, but at that point I had so much motivation to get work that it was okay! It led to more photography work, bigger jobs, and ultimately making my dreams jobs obtainable. Read more>>

Jamie Cegelski-Gaebe | Founder & CEO

Work life balance is very very important to me. My father was a highly successful businessman and entrepreneur. I didn’t get along with him growing up because he was either to stressed out and was unpleasant or was gone working. In my 20’s I found a way to be closer to him and got a job at his company without him knowing (and wasn’t too pleased about) which then led to me being able to work with him directly for 1.5 years. At the end of that time he reached out to me and said he would like to setup a private equity company with me and several others but required that I go get my MBA. In the midst of my program he found out he had lymphoma of the brain and his chances of survival work slim. I dropped out of the program and went home to be with him for the next 7 months. Read more>>

Jemma Swatek | Designer & Owner

I think as I get older I have realized how important it is to set boundaries between work and personal life. Being a small business owner does not make that task easy but I have started to make my weekends email and work free as much as possible. Also as a creative person I think it’s important to find those still moments where your mind can really wander because I find when you aren’t trying and you are just being free, the best ideas come to you. You need that space for creativity. Read more>>

Lauren Lobley | Host

Oh, work life balance. It’s such a moving target! Wouldn’t it be so nice to go back to the days of living with our parents, not having to pay any bills, and just having to focus on our studies during the week and having fun with our friends on the weekends? Ah, those were the days! I say that in jest, but in truth, I have been in a relationship with work life balance ever since I decided I wanted to be a straight A student. I was 6 years old. When I was in the first grade, my family had moved from Toronto, Canada to Montreal, Canada. In Toronto, English is the first language. In Montreal, French is the first language. This may not seem important, but this move and those two languages shaped my relationship with work life balance forever. I can’t have been more than 6 years old when I was sitting in my grade 1 class. My teacher, Madame Lalancette, was reading out words in French. Read more>>

Jonathan Kim | Audio Engineer & Songwriter

I used to destroy my sleeping patterns just so I could finish a certain project or put in that extra effort. 4 am bedtimes were the norm. Sure, I was able to get a lot more done in the beginning, but I was paying it forward as the fatigue eventually stacked and collected its long overdue debt. My work suffered, and there were times when I was too tired to do anything. Now, I know better. Sleep, rest, and pleasure are all important elements of productivity. I’m more in tune with my body’s alerts to burnout. While still dedicated to my craft, I no longer consider myself a workaholic. I have made more time for friends, family, and new hobbies, giving me a sort of relaxed confidence when it comes to life in general. Read more>>

Lois Keller | Artist

I think of balance through the lens of great artwork not equal amounts of sand on a scale. In art, balance is an element of composition. It communicates much about a work of art and can contribute to the overall effect. It can make it appear dynamic and lively or restful and calm. If it’s unbalanced it can reveal feelings that are unstable, create tension, and make the viewer uneasy. I used to strive for balance by giving equal attention to all aspects of my life. What I’ve learned is some parts may need more attention than others to make the rest of my life harmonious. Whether it’s caring for my family, being politically active, or spending weeks in a figure drawing class concentrating only on light and shadows. For example, I was overwhelmed by the effects of climate change and decided to give that more attention by volunteering for Climate Reality Los Angeles. Read more>>

Dahn Gim | Artist | Independent Curator

Not too long ago, I used to dedicate 80% of my time in teaching and organizing art-related events and organizations with many artists and professionals in the arts. Despite how much I appreciate those learning times, there were several incidents that propelled me to set a very clear boundary and strict rules in order to balance between “we” and “me.” As few of the unpleasant incidents working in collaboration with others were about the inequality of race/ethnicity, gender, and lack of diversity as well as an imbalance of workload began to teach myself how to speak up for injustice and to foster teamwork and solitude. Balance (in the context of working with others) begins with keeping boundaries, which to me was the most challenging yet important. Read more>>

Sara Beaudoin | Creator

Work life balance in my opinion is like riding a bicycle, you must keep moving to stay balanced, or your bike will fall. Life is always changing and we are continually growing, so balance to me is not necessarily something to achieve, but more something to continually strive for and maintain. The younger me would get frustrated if I didn’t have my schedule perfectly organized or my list of to do’s always fully completed and crossed off by the end of the day, at that time under the impression that I wasn’t ‘there yet’ with life balance. The present me understands and provides room that life is going to present things that weren’t in the plan or on the list of things to do to begin with. So for me, as long as I keep moving and don’t fall over while I’m riding the bicycle of life I know I AM balanced. Read more>>

Silva Depanian | Marriage and Family Therapist

Life is a bit of a juggling act. This is especially true for me, as I must balance the work and activities I love with my limitations due to chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Of course, this is a lesson I ended up learning the hard way, and with a lot of practice. Due to a fairly active childhood spent dancing ballet and running around theme parks, I grew up accustomed to having lots of stamina and a level of energy that matched my level of enthusiasm. The concept of balance and knowing my limits did not exist. Over the years, however, I began to realize that my energy is finite, no matter how enthusiastic I might be about an activity I’m doing. It took lots of trial and error to understand the limits of my energy and learn how to still enjoy doing things, even if I have to take breaks. Dancing ballet has been replaced by conducting therapy with clients, both individually and in group sessions, and my enthusiasm for my work has only increased over time. Read more>>

Eron Rauch | Artist, Writer, Curator & Designer

Like many people in creative fields, early in my career, life was defined by my work. This was especially true because I came to photography, art, and design comparably late, so I had a lot of technical skills and historical knowledge to backfill. Living in a loft with other artists, working until 3AM, talking work at bars where other artists talked shop—I learned so much so fast—and regularly cratered into burnout, production stalls, and emotional breakdowns. My response was to attempt to strict lines between work and “life.” But that seemed to only make the problem worse. Moving forward twenty years through a multifaceted career touching many fields, I’ve increasingly found the very idea of the split implied in “work life balance” to, itself, be a problematic idea. Read more>>

Vivienne Manuel | Massage Therapist & Aesthetician

I’ve been in the Spa Industry for over 10 years! Where I worked and who I worked for took over most of my time. I mainly had little to no social life,I worked all weekends and holidays. it was all about work! Now that I have The Serenity Studio, my work is my work and my life outside of that actually exists! I am able to create a healthy balance between my work life and my life in general. Read more>>

Arman Aloyan | Composer & Music Producer

This is a topic that crosses my mind all the time. As an artist of any sort, it’s important to prioritize work and having a life. I used to think that working on music was the only thing of importance to contributing to my success. I would spend countless hours learning and developing a musical voice. I don’t regret any of it, since it made me grow both as a person and artist. Over time, I came to realize that balance is the key to a successful career. Yes it’s important to constantly learn and stay up to date with music and perfect your art and there will even be days where you don’t sleep because of how excited you are to work. But being able to enjoy free time and coming back with a fresh ear the next day can be even more helpful! Read more>>

Nekaya Carter | Real Estate & Mortgage Broker

Since living in and through a pandemic, work life balance has become top priority! It’s so easy to just hop on a Zoom, zone out, put yourself on mute, shut the video off, turn on Netflix, let the kids eat how often they like, go to sleep at whatever time they fall asleep, respond to emails in the middle of the night, not maintain a schedule, etc. With the addition of the civil unrest, it’s become even harder to focus beyond professionally, but emotionally and mentally. I am a black woman. I am the mother of two black sons. It’s frightening, it’s unpredictable, but nonetheless my reality. Everyone’s reality. I have been thankful to live another day. This is how my balance has changed. I’ve had to redirect my own thoughts, feelings, emotions and literally walk by faith. Read more>>

Delphine Lippens | Founder, Artist & Writer

“Balance”. That’s a loaded word! Funny enough, the work of Humble Ceramics is all about “balance” and the beauty of opposites and yet, when it comes to work/life … that is still a work in progress. I do give myself one day a week “off” (I try), connecting with family and friends overseas and having dinner with a friend at least once a week! Being an entrepreneur in the first few years of a company, we work looooong hours, practically everyday, and right now, I am learning to delegate so that the company can eventually run without me. To be honest … I don’t know if I’m passionate, obsessed, addicted, or truly inspired and feel like stopping would be putting a cork in my creativity. I am more happy “doing” than “being” … doing is one form of expression, of being in service, and I am building something that I hope will be around for generations to come. Read more>>