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.

Aina Kohler | Firefighter, Surf School Business Owner & Coach

This word “balance” has recently come up in my life multiple times. It always makes me check in and ask myself, “am I balanced?” Of course I find balance important, but am I good at it? I’m guessing it is a question most of us ask ourselves. Or is it? When I go through my day, I don’t have an agenda or spread sheet that runs numbers and graphs to let me know if I am balancing everything out properly in my life. I know specific things that need to be done, and kind of fill in the day from there. What can happen though, is when your plan goes astray, or you forget something important, that this question of balance, can lead into other questions that we ask ourselves that offer a pathway into looming self doubt and guilt. Am I doing enough for my business? Am I letting people know I care about them? Am I taking any time out for myself? What is time for myself? Should I be doing more as a firefighter? Am I prioritizing my time properly. Read more>>

Anastasiya Kot | 3D artist & Designer

The world is balanced in its duality. When you work hard, do not sleep well, do not have time to eat, you’ll probably get sick. Your body will tell you to relax, take your time, and recover. And awareness is the key here. To be aware means you can choose a scenario. You understand that you do not need to get sick in order to regain strength, you have other options. And you start to manage situations. When COVID questioned our balance and we became isolated, people around the world began to unite, organize communities and colivings. Virtual meetings and events become normal. Many people even expanded their social circle, moving from local communication to virtual. When I stopped going to the gym, I started doing sports at home. I put my exercise mat next to my bed and began doing yoga even more often since the entry threshold has significantly decreased. Read more>>

Kate Flynn | Co-founder & CEO

Before launching my own business, back in my corporate days, work and life were two black and white things. Work was my job, life was all about everything outside of that. Spending time with friends/family, going on vacation, working out… and candidly, I was horrible at the balance part! I was a lot of work, very little life. Since becoming an entrepreneur, though, my perspective has shifted. Now that I have my own company, work is my life. Especially because my co-founder is my husband. We love what we do so much, and we’re so passionate about growing our business, it’s hard for us not to want to spend time on it all hours of the day. Even when we go on vacation, we want to keep working. And when we go out to dinner, we want to talk about it! So it all just starts to blend together a bit more. Read more>>

Ashlee Gardner

In the beginning, it’s always busy. There is a lot of uncertainty and excitement . When my parents opened the Cat and Fiddle in 1982, my twin sister and I were just born and had a 3.5 year old sister. There wasn’t a lot of balance in the beginning . My dad was the PR guy that loved to entertain and my mum ran the actual day to day business and kept the bits together. Together they made a great team, but being this was their first business together and no experience in restaurants – there was a lot of learning that had to happen. I think along with experience, financial security and confidence is when the work / life balance starts to unfold.. Our business 38 years later, runs on a bit of an auto pilot because we have amazing staff and long time customers that support us. Read more>>

Shar Romines | Small Business Owner & Dog Obedience Trainer

My work life balance has changed a lot over the years. When I worked in a full time office job, I would say my work- life was pretty balanced. I didn’t take work home, and I was able to “leave work at the office”. When I quit that job and opened my own business that all changed. Suddenly my whole life revolved around work. Trying to get new clients meant answering calls and texts at all hours. Stressing and thinking about my company was a 24/7 occurrence. I did 100% of the work, from accounting to marketing to the actual physical service my company provides, and it was 7 days a week (even holidays!) without breaks for the first 2 years. At that point, I realized that I had to make a change to improve my situation. After all, I had quit my job to do something that made me happy, right? So why wasn’t I happy? I hired a few part time employees, got a client portal software, and set official office hours. Read more>>

Tomiko Fraser Hines | Model & Women’s Empowerment Activist

I’m a mother of 7-year old twin boys who are distance-learning because of Covid, so work/life balance has become a MUST DO for me. Even before Covid, my business allowed me to work from home. And that’s a great thing because when the pandemic shut just about everything down, I didn’t have to make a huge adjustment to my work life. But because my children are now home all day, I am not able to work uninterrupted. I am fortunate in that I have a good friend who works for my husband and I a few days during the week. The days that she is working, she keeps an eye on the boys and helps out with the upkeep of our home. My husband’s mother, my “mother-in-love” lives with us as well and she helps out quite a bit. So on those days that my friend is here, I can lock myself in my room and devote all of my attention to my work. Read more>>

Trey Kams | Music Producer & Engineer

I think it took me a long time to understand the balance of work and non work haha; but i think my time during school taught me the most about it. Most of my time when i was at school i felt like i had to be putting all of my attention into either school work or my own music on a daily basis or i was slacking. That sounds obvious haha but I went to school for music so it never felt like a bad thing, but i also don’t think i realized what that would do to my creative flow over time. Doing things outside of my work in some way gives me space to actually experience what i’m trying to express in my music, and I think that space plays a big role into when it’s time to create. I think now regardless of how busy I get, I know that i can find time in my schedule to do things that i want to do, and be able to balance that with my work because i know it’ll benefit me. Read more>>

Marina Haywood | Hairstylist & Business Owner

I used to know no such thing. I truly loved my work, have a deep level of passion for my career and enjoy my clients. I felt I owed them my availability, something I put on myself. After a feeling of burnout , I had to ask myself – is it productive or does it feel good to dread going to work ? (A feeling I had never felt since working in my career) After finding that my clients were just fine If I wasn’t available, and the feeling of coming in refreshed and excited – I began to have a healthy addiction to this work life balance. In the hair industry it can be tough to pry yourself away during weekends and holidays (the busiest times)but the truth is, you will a better you for yourself clients if you find a healthy balance. And don’t worry about the money (most of us don’t have paid time off) it all works itself out in the end! Read more>>

Lauren Franks | Personal Stylist & Jewelry Designer

I think work life balance is an interesting concept especially now given the additional challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. When I was single, I had very little work life balance. I had a tendency to work all of the time. After I got married, I started to “play” more. I married a stand-up comedian who prioritizes fun over all else which helped restore some life into my otherwise work-all-the-time style. Having children changes the whole game, their needs become most important and this tends to tip the scale making life take up much more of the time and work is forced to take a backseat. My children are 5 and 1 and in March 2020 the pandemic hit. With no outside childcare help and the responsibility of virtually homeschooling a kindergartener, life took over. It is a constant struggle but ultimately I thrive with life and work split 50/50. I need work to feel connected to the world otherwise too many nursery rhymes, snacks, and scooter rides numb my brain. Read more>>

Tony Arreola | Master Trainer & Author

Worklife balance? At 24 Hour Fitness, those were foul words. Vacations were frowned upon. Working late, weekends and holidays were glorified. And the end result? A burnt-out, stressed-out life. But isn’t this the price for success? It turns out. It’s not. As I grew older and experienced others’ success, I realized so many have it completely wrong. Success isn’t a number on your bank account. Success isn’t driving a fancy car. Success isn’t what I thought. True success is happiness. It means being time-affluent. It represents security and the ability to create moments with the love of my life, chasing my puppy Kona, writing my next book, competing in my next Ironman, and helping as many people live to their maximum potential. Success means spending every moment living your dreams. Read more>>

Jennifer Fujikawa | Professional Freelance Photographer

Creating a healthy work-life balance was one of the most difficult things for me to establish when I first started my career. I found it difficult to stop working when I was at home, or to not be distracted by any chores that needed to be done around the house. It was really exhausting and I knew that if I didn’t make some changes it would lead to burn out. Now I’m much better about focusing on work during set periods of my day and stopping work completely when I’m “off the clock.” As tempting as it is to keep checking my email or edit just ONE LAST PHOTO….. I tell myself that the work day is done and it’s time to relax. Read more>>

Zach Heyde | Composer for Animation & Film

I think this is a REALLY important topic to address as an artist—particularly with the quarantine and its impact on mental health.

 I used to push myself to work at my limits nearly every day, including weekends. I’d roll out of bed and go straight to the computer, usually skipping breakfast. There would be days where I wouldn’t eat my first meal until around 2pm, when I’d only remember because my stomach growls would get caught in my recordings. (I’m only half kidding.)
 When COVID initiated self-quarantine in late February, the few outlets I had outside of work—social meetups, shopping with my now-fiancé, going to concerts—were cut off from me. I quickly began to burn out with my all-work mindset, and realized that my careers as artist is just as much about sustainability as it is drive. Read more>>

Beverly Morrison | Sculptor

I think the phrase “finding balance” can sound very misleading. It insinuates you are searching for something outside of yourself, when balance is anything but. However, let’s back up a bit…Art is Life. Life is Art. In order to create you should know yourself. You should know your process. What hours of the day you work the best. What hours you begin to falter and need a recharge. Where you find your peace mentally and physically. How you get those creative juices flowing again. Most of all, artists should embrace that all of these things are part of the creative process… So when you understand yourself (ie your creative process), how you work, live and embrace that down time… you are not just ”finding balance”, you are living it. Read more>>

Ilia and Velly Tosheff

One of the biggest challenges of a business owner is the work-life balance! Bringing a family and a child to the equation bumps up the challenge by a whole another level! Topping that with the fact that the whole parade needs to march out through the windy and steep road of a global pandemic just adds another layer of obstacles to the course. You realize that your work-life balance is like walking on a tight rope! Juggling between kid’s distant learning, virtual business meetings, research, songwriting and maybe some house chores and family time all blend into one! Every room in the house is an office, a classroom and a library where every existent electronic device is constantly rolling and barely ever turned off. Your day starts early with child’s school and ends late, just to barely be able to cover the basics! Read more>>

Darla Jackson | Sculptor

My work/life balance has changed dramatically over the course of the last 15 years… In 2005 I was working full time and spending every moment outside of work in the studio. 12 years ago I made the jump from working full time to part time so that I could focus more of my time on making art. 6 months later I found out that I was pregnant… Around the same time got asked to do a solo show at the Philadelphia Art Alliance here in Philadelphia, so I was working part time, making art full time and trying to get ready for my life to change dramatically. I took a few weeks off once Olivia was born, but got back to making work quite quickly. I began bringing her to the studio with me every day and just made it work. Being a full time artist/ full time mom was intense but doable because everything was on my schedule. Read more>>

Jenny Hager | Visual Artist

Work life balance…it’s always been an oxymoron for artists, but at this particular time, I would like to be specific. I have had the lifelong benefit of being surrounded by women professionals and mentors who have been outspoken about managing careers while raising children and supporting their families, but all gloves are off in this Pandemic. The news told me today that over 800,000 women have left the work force due to job loss or to oversee their children’s online education, homeschool, or manage their household. Before the Pandemic, I was lucky enough to have robust studio time due to careful time management and organization. My son just turned 16 in September, started the school year online, and it has been a struggle. Read more>>

Amanda Julina Gonzalez | Animator & Comic Artist

You can’t balance things that are intertwined, so untangling the work-life amalgamation is a constant process for me. As a millennial who is an artist and an artist who is a millennial, distinguishing my self-worth from my productivity is not only difficult, but something I’m often resistant to. I’ve always been chaotically comfortable in the “deadline mode” zone, but that type of frantic productivity isn’t a sustainable lifestyle – I’ve had to learn where my burnout point is because I can’t control what happens when I push that far, only that I can stop myself before I do. My work is my passion is my hobby is my ticket through the door if I hustle, if I do it right; it’s a feedback loop, and it can become insidious. Breaking that cycle is something I’ve focused on more as I’ve transitioned into full time freelancing. My creativity exists independently from my work, but my best work is fueled by my creativity. Keeping that balance is a constant negotiation. Read more>>