What’s the right balance between work and non-work time? The traditional 9-5 has slowly disappeared with the emails and zoom and texting going far beyond traditional business hours. We asked members of our community to share with us how they think about work-life balance.

Jeffy Botson | Event Organizer @TheGuttedCigar

I think constantly being told to “invest our time wisely” growing up gave people this weird work horse complex and it geared our focus strictly towards professional goals. It sold us this dream that success in the workplace is the only way to see a happy and full life. Which just isn’t true. Hardwork, realism, sacrifice, thick skin, gameplans, sleepless nights and a genuine love for what you do are all key elements to running a successful business… but that can also be said about “successfully” raising a family, or “successfully” taking that dream vacation. There comes a point in every professional’s life where they have to find their balance between work and their personal needs for the sake of their own sanity. After a decade of running my own business and making hundreds of succesful business moves, I feel like I’m finally finding my balance between the two worlds. Especially after all the chaos we’ve seen in 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic. This was the perfect example of how precious life can be and why it’s important to actually…. I don’t know… live a little. Read more>>

Jason Hernandez | Photographer and IT Professional

This issue is always a top priority for me. Work will always be a part of life as long as there are bills to be paid. For one thing, I think it’s quite easy to get caught up with when we start emphasizing our goals and aspirations over our own health, our relationships, and for the sake of acquiring (assets, notoriety, money, etc.). This mindset will eventually get the best of you and you’ll realize that despite achieving these goals, you’ll feel quite empty and will most likely not have anyone to enjoy them with. In another area, in the past, it was much easier to distance yourself from your work in that you typically had to get in your car and drive to a separate physical site (ie office) to work. Now that most of us are working from home, it’s harder to know when to stop working. The typical start and end of a workday is less definitive because it’s quite easy to open the laptop backup and resume working. In these times, it takes much more of a concerted effort and discipline to maintain the work/life balance. It’s certainly not easy, but well worth it for your health and your family when you stick to a routine as much as possible, and maintain focus on the things in life that are irreplaceable: your family and friends. Read more>>

Matthias Dörfelt | Artist

I am in my thirties now and my work life balance is in a better place than it was back in my twenties. Back then, I spent all my time becoming better at whatever happened to be driving me at the time: design, typography, programming, art. I’d dedicate almost all my energy to the topic that peaked my interest, sometimes losing sight of the bigger picture. Over the years, I started to do things just for fun. Music, dancing and DJing was most likely among the first things in that regard. While that tapered off a little bit, I still love House and Techno and everything it stands for. My wife Erika and I have a dedicated music/DJ room at our place to play records. These days my biggest hobby outside of work is bouldering and climbing. I got into it about six years ago and it is easily the biggest time-suck and life-balancing distraction from making art. During covid, it has been especially helpful in keeping my sanity. Art is a field where work/life boundaries tend to be blurry so it really helped my mental health to pick up activities that are clearly separated from it. Read more>>

Rev. Dr. Natalie Vail | Doctor of Acupuncture, Ordained Minister, Energy Healer

As a doctor of acupuncture and an ordain spiritualist minister, I am deeply immersed in the helping profession. When I first began my practice, over 10 years ago, I had pretty much a little to no work life balance. I honestly never thought that it would happen to me, but after all the stress of starting and running my own business, combined with supporting all of my clients/patients, I quickly got burnout and extreme adrenal fatigue. The signs started as subtle and insidious, but I remember when I was about four years into my practice, I had to start laying down on the floor in between patients just to regain enough strength to continue on with my day. At that point, I finally couldn’t ignore what was happening to me any longer and knew that I would have to make some very serious and intense lifestyle changes if I wanted to continue doing my work. The first step was really just acknowledging that I was overworking and needed to find some relief. The second step was for me recognizing and uncovering the underlying root issues, limiting beliefs, and distorted narratives that I had been allowing to control my life which were the actual foundation of my lack of work life balance. Read more>>

Hal Mooney | Beer Entrepreneur

My work has always been predominantly from home, which means that there isn’t much of a work/life balance. It’s kind of one and the same. My life has also been in beer, which for most people is the ultimate form of leisure, but for me is work. And my tradeoff is that I get to be at home with my dog and my wife and beer, but I’m always never “away from the office”, even on vacation. But I like work. I like beer. I like my wife. I try and surround myself with the things I like. And then I try and hike and run and do things that force me to leave my coffee table and my computer. Read more>>

Dina Lockridge Vetri | Artist & Photographer

I think about this often and am in constant practice to master this. Not master in any form of perfection but my ultimate definition and goal of balance is based on feeling that the archetype of mother and artist within me are fulfilled and nourished. Before I had children, I was that eccentric artist that would stay up until 3am just creating and painting. Coming from NYC, I would stay out with my friends going to late night exhibits and then all gathering and creating either alone or together. After I had my two daughters, (my eldest just turned 10 years old and my little one is 7 years old), everything in my life shifted as I expected. No one can quite prepare you for the changes from the obvious and ordinary of time and sense of urgency constraints but as an artist you’re so used to giving your love and attention to dreamlike thought, for me this was through my studied symbolism that is then launched into the canvas with color or a photoshoot collaboration — hours dedicating myself to theory and practice. Read more>>

Francis River | Ceramic Artist, Designer, and Farmer

When I’m in making mode for shows, exhibits, etc. I’m in the studio everyday. The routine itself of creating everyday becomes the important thing. Its a form of mesmerism for me. This process hasn’t changed, but I have become more receptive to stepping back from studio time to be present with friendships, family, nature, surfing, and exploring other outlets that oftentimes stimulate new ideas. I now see an importance to a work life balance. To pursue such iteration day in and day out, requires a good amount of physical and mental strength, and stepping out of the studio and exploring is as necessary as artistic sensitivity. Read more>>

Deborah Lee | Writer, Photographer, Movie Critic, Avid Reader, Mother and Friend

I must admit that achieving work life balance was extremely difficult as a young mother, it seems like it was a different time, a different era and yet it feels like yesterday. Earlier in my career you didn’t receive any passes, if you were a mother and you worked you were still expected to do your job without any excuses of motherhood. Things changed over time in that if you were a mother that worked it was no longer frowned on when you asked for time off to go to your child’s play or have lunch with them or if you needed to take your child to the doctor or if you just took a day off because you needed it. In the past you were scrutinized for doing any of those things but today it is encouraged that you do this when needed. It has been discovered that by doing this we become better versions of ourselves, able to continue on and do our jobs more efficiently. I applaud the change, this balance was long overdue. Read more>>

Natalie Macam | Yoga Teacher, Essential Oil Educator, IIN Health Coach

Yoga, meditation, and nature are my steady anchors I rely on to stay balanced. They bring me back to my center, helping me to weave body and mind through each and every breath but life balance is a dance… My yoga and meditation practices are not fixed. Some days I skip my yoga asana practice and some days I skip formal seated meditation. In fact, one of the insights I have uncovered during my exploration of these practices is that mindfulness is not dependent upon form. I can take a walk on the beach , go for a hike, sing, play my harmonium, garden, dance freely in my living room, lie in the grass, and practice mindfulness. It’s all about being fully present both in body and mind. By permitting my needs to shift I honor the fact that ‘life balance’ looks different from day to day — from moment to moment as if it were a mindfulness meditation. Read more>>

Melissa Beck | Sculpture Artist & Professor

A friend once shared with me how she prefers to think of life in “seasons” versus “balance”. That really stuck with me. I think it’s more natural that our lives happen in seasons versus a consistent balance all of the time. There are many times in my life where I am not striking that work/life balance very well, but it’s always just for a season and I am at peace with this. I think most creative lifestyles happen this way. At the time my friend shared her thoughts on “seasons” with me, I was in the midst of a long battle with some illnesses and my life was far from balanced. It was a dark time and I didn’t know how long it would last. I’m grateful it did end and I’m on the other side of it now but it was very intense and I lost a lot during that time. That season helped me realize how fragile life is and now I’m more grateful for the time and abilities I have and to use them wisely toward my goals. Sometimes the “unbalanced” or darker seasons help us become more balanced, healthier and stronger once we’ve gone through them. Read more>>

Sharna Fabiano | Artist & Life Coach

It doesn’t make sense to me to separate “work” from my overall concept of “life,” so I have a bigger collection of categories that I choose to balance over time, usually work, creative, personal, health, relationship, community. When I have all of these active in my life, I feel balanced, and when any one of them goes away for too long, I feel a little off, like something’s missing or like I’m not as vibrant as I could be. I think about balance more like an ebb and flow over time and less like a fixed schedule. For example, when I have a lot of work, I might turn down the dial on other areas of life, and when I have less work, I might add extra creative or personal time. Some parts of life generally take up more space than others, and that is ok as long as it feels sustainable for me and is how I want to be spending my time. And sometimes things overlap, like when I work out with my husband that’s both health and relationship together. I think before I became a coach I wasn’t really aware of the need to take care of myself in all of these different ways. Read more>>

Jennifer Allen | Jeweler & Nurse Practitioner

In my other life I work in medicine. It has always been important to me to have a creative outlet and since the pandemic it feels even more crucial. I need time to escape the worry and stress of navigating healthcare and focus only on a single task, be it designing a pendant or soldering an earring. Banging on and melting metal is surprisingly therapeutic, as a result I find myself in the studio more and more these days. Silversmithing quiets my mind and lets me escape to another place. Read more>>

Lucy Woodward | Singer, Songwriter, International Touring Artist

I was born into a family of workaholic New Yorkers so the go-go-go mentality was just something we did. I was the type of kid who couldn’t wait to fall asleep at night because I couldn’t wait to get up the next morning to jump into this thing called LIFE! It’s kind of cute but also a bit weird. And when I think about it, I didn’t know other kids who were like that. As a young musician in NYC going from studio session to studio session, I was a maniac and always said “yes”. A typical day would be racing to gigs, shoving lunch into my system on a subway platform somewhere (kind of typical for a New Yorker) fueled by massive amounts of coffee, crunching it all into a small amount of time. NYC can do that do that to you – the deadline is always yesterday. Any creative person can say doing what they do is usually driven by a force, a nagging or invisible push so I know this lifestyle made me who I am, born this way or not. No regrets. Was it all worth it? Absolutely. Was there balance in my life? Absolutely not. In my mid-20’s I started noticing strange patterns from pushing myself too hard. Read more>>

Amy Ning | Illustrator & Artist

My marriage and my illustration career kicking in happened about the same time. I was happy to be immersed in art/work. Having married an artist with similar goals and values called for this lifestyle to be an ideal situation. I missed the ultimate assessment of work life balance, it should have been addressed when my kids came in to the picture. My career at a peak and I was more determined to keep it all together. Answered to every call efficiently to my best as artist, mother, wife, daughter, et al. Quality of work morphed to stress. Life all work was destructive. Many years off-balanced went astray. Now my sons have grown and the kind of time I need for art is returned. At this point, the quality of work and life will not go ignored. The work in the balance weighs in heavier and feels healthy and fulfilling. Read more>>