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.

Amy Kersten | Actor, Writer, Editor

I advise thinking about “balance” over the course of a year – not in the immediate. I think balance is impossible, to be honest, and many people, especially women, waste time trying to find it in the day-to-day.I have accomplished big things in my career when I give them my sole focus for a time, like a screenplay for example. I was on about 7 weeks of unemployment after a tough project, and I knew this was precious time without any distractions in it. Above all things back then, I just wanted to finally finish this script. So all I thought about for the most part was that screenplay and how to solve the structure puzzle of it. During that time, the flatness of abs was not a priority and got zero attention; but I had a 120-page screenplay to show for it. You can’t multi-task when climbing a mountain. Just climb the mountain. Get to the top. Take a breath….and then treat yourself to some yoga. Read more>>

Michea Peterkin | Flight Attendant & Aspiring Actress

My work life balance has had a drastic change due to my current career change. I used to have an unhealthy balance of mostly work, and enjoying leisure between my time off from work, and school. I’m currently a flight attendant, and this job has allowed me to have the work-life balance of my dreams. The flexibility offered to me allows me to take a break when needed, as well as work my butt off when I want. I love having this balance because I am able to focus on other aspects of my life as well such as acting. Read more>>

NIkkole Rodgers | Massage Therapist

I believe this year I am really starting to learn about work-life balance. This is my sixth year as a Massage Therapist. Three of those years I massaged for medical and sports medicine clinics, a black-owned nail salon, a casino, cannabis events, spas and within many other industries. Year three, I began to take private clients while still working part-time for other jobs. Prior to the pandemic, I worked during the day, privately, as a mobile therapist in between taking clients for a corporate chair massage company. At night, I decided to provide chair massage at the Commerce Casino from 7pm to sometimes 4am or 8am. Read more>>

Weslee Kate | Photographer + Journalist

My work life balance as a creative has been a process with a lot of learning curves over time! I truly adore everything I do – so it can be easy to accidentally get enveloped in it. A specific example of a time when I was out of balance was in 2019. I was in school full-time at CSULB, working on getting the second print issue of Baltisoul magazine out, maintaining the Baltisoul blog, learning how to shoot on film, working on branded shoots, and going to a lot of press events. My schedule to maintain everything was crazy and looking back I can’t believe I even pulled it off. Read more>>

Adriana (Adri) Ibarguen | Actress & Singer

I sometimes feel, when it comes to “work,” that most consider work life and personal life to be separate. However, I often feel most grounded, connected, and spiritual while I work. I’ve begun to learn that for my career to excel, my soul is required to be balanced and connected throughout the entire process. I find myself forgetting the present pressures of this word, work, and instead get lost in the beauty of the art I am making. And if I were to preserve this any other way, suddenly the truth that I am working so hard to tell gets interrupted and less powerful. Read more>>

Jeremy Sycip | Bicycle Frame Builder / Metal Fabricator

Work life balance has changed quite a bit since I started the business in 1992. Back then, I was in my early 20’s, single, no kids and just wanted to ride and build bicycle frames. Early on, I was just trying to get orders and grow the business. By the end of the nineties and early 2000’s, we had around 6 people working for the company and we did everything in house from building all the frames to powder coating them. We were trying to build as many frames as we could and get them out the door to customers. Which all sounds great. But it didn’t feel like I had good work life balance. Read more>>

Ashley Cruz | Celebrity Dancer & Actress

My work life balance has changed tremendously over the length of my career. I think balance is important and an absolute neccesity in order to be aligned emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally. At the start of my career, I use to say “I live, sleep, and breathe dance.” Although I am grateful to have had that natural grit and dedication to accomplish my dreams within dance, I look back and I realise how narrow minded that was. It’s so crucial to have balance across the board with what you want in your work and in your life so that you are not basing your happiness on solely the outcome of one thing. Read more>>

Dan O’Connor | Owner/agent at Pacifica Properties

My balance has changed more in favor of being slightly even. Earlier in my career I was very heavily leaning towards working all the time, but now I really try to focus on both my family and fun as well as my work. For example I try very hard to make my schedule work around picking my kids up from school a couple days a week, taking them to their practices and being at their games. This is not always easy being in real estate, it’s not your standard 9-5 Job. I also try to schedule small trips every couple months and do a date night every week or every other week to connect with my significant other and stay centered. But don’t get me wrong work is my first priority and I am very focused and have a great team around me to provide the best service I can. Read more>>

Meng Shang | Producer, Actor, & Owner of a Multicultural Production Company

It is the question that many working moms are asked. As a mom of two young kids ( 3 and 6), I run my production studio as director and producer. I also do auditions as actor for TV and Films. As 1st generation immigrants to Canada, my husband and I have no family support in the country. The covid-19 situation also makes it difficult to find a reliable nanny when kids both are home, doing online classes. It sounds overwhelming, right? It was challenging to me at the beginning of the covid lockdown. My husband and I both had many client calls on Zoom while kids kept coming to ask attentions. Read more>>

Kelsey Hunter | Miniature Effects Artist & World Builder

Working in an artistic field has its pros and cons, the pros being that you are being paid to do what you would generally be doing in your free time, the cons being that when you want to work on your own projects you just spent all day using those same muscles. This used to bother me because I felt like I had something to prove, and that I had to create work that I felt proud of all the time. I would start big projects in this mindset and never finish them. As I’ve spent more time in my field I feel comfortable being satisfied within my work life. Read more>>

Rena Risby | Painter/ Fine Artist

I believe balance probably is the most important thing to master in life. No matter what anyone chooses to do, or what path they take, if there is a lacking of balance things just don’t work out. When I was younger, I struggled a lot with balance and time management. I faced a lot of frustration because I would always have these big ideas of things I wanted to accomplish and I would never put in the time to build it. Spending time with friends and family is important, but I had to learn when to stop experiencing and start expressing more. Read more>>

Grace Huang | Cardiologist & Potter

As a full time interventional cardiologist, wife, and mother of two, being a ceramic artist provides me the balance I need to maintain my sanity. I enjoy being in the studio, where I feel grounded, using my bare hands to create vessels from clay, without any burden of expectation or result. Read more>>

Justin Rosenberg | Photographer

This is such an interesting question in light of the past year+ of pandemic life. My answer is definitely a bit different than if I was asked before 2020. Prior to 2020, I really didn’t have much of a work/life balance. I knew and understood the value of balance and self-care and rest/down time, I just didn’t much pay attention to things like that. I was go go go all the time, whether money was on the line or just to create art for the sake of art. The past year has really taught me a lot about the value of down time, rest/relaxation, building quality human connections, etc. So going forward, as the world slowly opens back up (hopefully), I’m definitely going to be prioritizing my new found conceptualization of work life balance. Read more>>

Áine O’Regan | Yoga Instructor, Movement Specialist, Runner

Funny enough this is the one question I think everyone tries to strive for and perfect. I think over time, depending on what is currently going on in your life the way you balance out your life will reflect that. The answer is you can not perfect balance. It is a dance, a flow. Its on-going, readjusting, reevaluating your self, your needs, your goals. Nothing ever stays the same it always changes. For me personally before I became a teacher I used to take multiple yoga classes in a day. As I took on the roll of a teacher my personal practice took a back seat for awhile. I really toed the line of what I thought it meant to be a successful teacher in LA and burnout. Read more>>

Zach Brose | Songwriter, Producer, Multi-instrumentalist

This has always been pretty tricky for me to navigate but I know I’ve reached a balance when I’m generally content and the work is going well even if that means that things aren’t exactly where I want them to be. It’s a constant battle. It’s so easy to feel like you should be working all the time and to fall into a place where you do. At some point, I see diminishing returns if I don’t take a step back and reassess when I get to that place. It makes the work better when I balance it with things like an active social life and other interests. I’m very much of the mindset that nobody is one-dimensional and diversifying your work and interests all play into one another. It all feeds you and, therefore, is reflected in your work. Read more>>

Pilar Swanson | Mother, Full Time Art Teacher, & Ceramic Artist

Balance is difficult for me to define currently. This is partially due to being a full-time teacher, mom, wife, small business owner, and community member of the various organizations that I am affiliated with. I’ll be honest, I am still trying to figure out what is ‘balance.’ This last year has been very tough since I am being asked to teach during a pandemic when mental and social health is taking precedence over academic performance. Read more>>

Joy Pate | Therapist & Entrepreneur

When I first got in my profession I hit the ground running and quickly learned that I needed to find a balance in order to foster longevity in my career. Finding that balance became not just something that would be helpful but would be imperative to my mental health and my ability to give my best over time without running the risk of burning out. I began to think of balance as more of a necessity than a luxury and it required a certain discipline to consistently implement it Read more>>

Cecily Gish | Actor-Singer-Prducer & CFO

I used to think there was such a thing, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to recognize there isn’t. “Balance” is less of a seesaw and more like Michelle Obama’s MyPlate. You portion things, but there is no balance, only priorities. And, as a woman, my priorities are constantly switching. You cannot give equal time to your work and your life; one will always be the priority and that’s okay! I really enjoy the ebb and flow. It gives me the permission to work harder on my career for a few days while my dishes and laundry pile up. LOL! And, conversely, it gives me the opportunity to take a weekend off of work to focus solely on self-care, which for me, usually consists of napping, snuggling with my pets, deep skincare rituals, getting takeout and watching movies with my husband – although I can never watch a movie for entertainment anymore; there’s always some aspect of viewing through a creative lense. 🙂 Read more>>

Ramona Chen | Character Designer& Story artist

To be honest, it’s something I have been trying to figure out all the time. I used to occupy most of my time with heavy-loaded working and find it difficult to switching back to the real-time small enjoyable moment. I believe work-life balance is the art of maintaining or optimizing your creative state. It’s about the mindset that keeps you continues to risk, fail, grow and keep going. It’s also like a performing art. Process plays a big role in it, not specifically about the skill at the moment. Read more>>

John Panichella | Digital Media Specialist (Publicist, Talent Management, Editor)

I believe having a health work life balance is the key to having a thriving career and also mental clarity in your personal life. However, I think it takes time to get to the place where they can be balance. For me, I spent the early years of my career focusing on nothing but my work. In high school, I was able to create a blog that generated north of a million impressions each month while remaining a straight A student. This, however, would not have been possible without a lot of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. I had to choose to allocate my time between friends/family, school work, and my blog. Out of those three, I chose to spend most of my time on my blog. School came easily to me, and I had a very small circle of friends. I was okay with that though because I knew I was building my foundation. Read more>>

Grace Jeon | Costume Designer

Work life balance is something that, I believe, is easier said than done. I made a very selfish decision on my part on wanting to go to New York University because it was my dream school. My parents were fully supportive on their end, but I knew that financially it was asking a lot. So, I made the decision that I would waste no time while at school. There was one point where I was taking the full number of credits allowed, working two part time jobs, an internship, and doing extra studio shows both as an assistant and as the costume designer. I told myself that it was for the better and that it would help me build a resume to make things easier after I graduated, that I was making it financially easier for my parents by also working part time. Read more>>

Emily Perry | Recording Artist / Creative Director

Over time I have had to remind myself of the importance of a healthy work/life balance. I think as artists we constantly use life itself as our muse. We write and create based on what is going on around us and the life experiences we have. Unless we are expanding that creative palette, we will never grow as people and therefore never mature as artists. On a daily basis, I am working to expand my knowledge in different areas … finding different passions besides what we normally consider part of our career. Right now my biggest hobbies include photography and going to museums! Read more>>

Bernice Chao | Creative Director at R/GA California

I’m currently 16 years into my creative career and a mother of two. For me, the definition of work-life balance has changed over my career. Early on I thought the work-life balance meant that work shouldn’t be all-consuming in my life and for me it was as practical as the hours put in vs hours left for fun. Now I see the balance being less about practical hours and more about the sense of satisfaction or overall mental balance. If I’m loving what I’m working on then the extra hours don’t feel like “work” and I leave the project energized even if I’m working long hours. This sense of satisfaction is how I quantify if I take on extra tasks or if I’m spending enough hours with my family and will adjust my commitments accordingly. Read more>>

Sarah Hartman Naar | Writer and Producer

I don’t necessarily agree with the concept of work/life balance, because it’s impossible to give every aspect of life equal time and energy. I’ve always found when I try to complete “balance,” I get really stressed and burn out quickly. For me, it’s more about prioritizing. I have a few things that are really important to me on a daily basis – exercising, sitting down for aa meal with my partner, and working are pretty much always going to be part of my day. Read more>>

Nobuo Wellington (Nobu) Yuko Makuuchi | Woodwoorker, Ceramic Artist, Entrepreneurs

Work life balance? Life . . . What? We’ve been in a pandemic for the last year. There is no life, only stay at home and shelter in place. Seriously the Covid-19 pandemic has been many things; scary, maddening, frustrating, lonely at times. But in many ways covid has been a big opportunity for our burgeoning business. This question kind of ties in with your question about taking risks. When Yuko and I decided to take WM Craftworks to the next level, it meant that I would not be going back to “regular” work. It was a pretty big risk, we were no longer going to be D.I.N.K.s (double income no kids). We were becoming a single income household with the same number of bills and a lot of questions. We felt like we were taking a huge risk. Read more>>

Matthew Kratz | Composer, Producer & Publisher

When you own your own business it is very difficult to balance work with non-work because they are so intertwined. I have always struggled to create a clear line between the two. I used to feel like I ALWAYS needed to be working to just stay even, but it’s immensely draining and a quick road to burnout. After a while I knew I just had to ease back on the work throttle and let things go a bit. Focus on top priorities. Get done what I can get done each day and allow for the business to be a work in progress rather than a masterpiece. Read more>>

Garrett Goto | Woodworker and Crafter

GMG Woodcrafts is the balance to my full-time job. I work for an international environmental NGO, which requires a lot of desk-based research and screen time. Woodworking has always been a hobby of mine that has provided a creative outlet to balance the 40-hour work week. I’ve dabbled with a lot of different mediums over the years but decided a few years back that I wanted to focus in and commit to woodworking. Mental (and definitely capital) investments into woodworking have steadily been increasing over the years, providing me with functional art that can continue to fund more growth. The work-woodwork balance is shifting, and now that I’ve launched the business we’ll see how long it is before I take the leap and go full time with GMG Woodcrafts. Read more>>

Jose (Pepe) Diaz | Designer/Artist

Work life balance? Thats a good question, it has definitely changed throughout the years. When I first started getting gigs and traveling was my priority, nothing else mattered and it definitely shape me to who I am now, but as the years went by I learn to work smarter rather than harder, not because I was tired of doing work but because I wanted to better understand the relationships I had with my clients. Fast forward to now, my schedule has changed, half of the time I spend meditating, learning, taking care of my health, and the other half I am consulting and working on projects, the less stress I am the more I can give my clients and feeling I gave them my 110%. How do I think about the balance? Well I have learn that if you don’t take the time to balance your life, your clients and your work will suffer, so the only way up is to relax. Read more>>

Sarah Van Berkum | CCO at Luno & Freelance Graphic + Web Designer

Before I moved to California and started my own business, there wasn’t much emphasis on having a healthy work/life balance. Reflecting back, I think that’s because I was working for someone else, at a secure, 9-5 job. As an employee, it was easy to distinguish work and life, as I only had so much involvement at the company. There were agreed upon expectations for working hours, responsibilities, etc. When I started working for myself, there were no predetermined expectations. Technically, as my own boss, I could work any hours, do any job, and perform any task…but where’s the line? In my experience, it can be difficult to set boundaries with yourself when it comes to your own dreams, especially when society has made us believe that being busy = being successful. Read more>>

Camilo Velez | Artist | Record Producer | Composer

Work life balance is such an important topic, especially during the times we’re living in. Speaking just for my industry, there’s this feeling among record producers, engineers, composers and songwriters that you’ve got to be constantly over-worked and sleep deprived to be “successful”. There’s a lot of flexing going on in the industry where people brag about having slept an average of 3 hours in a month, drinking 10 cups of coffee a day or falling asleep at the wheel on the 405 after going at it for 36 hours straight. Read more>>

Jocelyn Tsaih | Artist

I’ve always been a “work hard, play hard” type of person – often taking on too much at a time and having to find outlets to relieve stress. Since the pandemic started last year, I realized I had to adapt and shift to a different mentality. At the beginning, I took on a lot of work because I was anxious about how the year would look, but my life became extremely imbalanced since I was unable to “play hard” in the ways I usually would. I’ve become a lot more mindful about the projects that I take on. I’m more aware of the kinds of work that make me feel fulfilled and the kinds that make me feel otherwise. Now, I’m conscious of giving myself more time to rest. I’ve learned to relax a little more, which helps me maintain a good balance. Read more>>

Desiree Patterson | Brand Development Manager

I used to think there was no such thing as a work/life balance. And that if you wanted to be successful you tilted the scale towards the hustle until you hit the goal. Then you could slow down and find that balance in between. However, real things become road blocks to staying off balance. Burn out, relationship issues, health, etc. all can take a hit. Sometimes all at the same time. Years ago when I hit that wall I realized I had to find a different way to balance my love for my craft and a love for myself. As a workaholic, perfectionist this was and still is not easy. However, I first and foremost allow myself grace. Reminding myself that everyone’s journey and sense of balance is different. You cannot compare! And when you step back and look at the overall picture, it’s impossible to stay perfectly balanced. But if you can find the right dance to tilt back and forth you’ll enjoy the journey that much more. Read more>>