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.

Maya Arguez | Content Creator

I believe finding a work/life balance is one of the biggest challenges we face because it has so many moving parts. The biggest challenge is finding your discipline and putting that over your motivation. For me I find it especially challenging to have a full time job and have a hobby along with trying to live a healthy life by being active, sleeping enough, and socializing. But my biggest blessing is reminding myself that it only works as long as I am constantly challenging myself and gaining something from it. This can be learning a new skill, furthering my career, or just having a creative outlet. By finding these “why’s” I am able to prevent feeling out of balance. I also feel the key to finding this balance is giving myself grace periods. There are times when we get unexpected news or changes that may be big or small and I really try to listen to my body and my mind. Allowing myself a week from trying to hit goals or taking an unexpected nap when its needed can honestly make such a difference. Read more>>

Gladys Smedley | Ceramic Artist

It has been quite a journey, and continues still. It all started when I decided to return to school to complete my education in Computer Sciences. I happen to take an elective course in Ceramic Art where we hand built all of the pottery and spent time burnishing for a silky smooth finish. Yes, that one class! Doesn’t that sound familiar? I continued with my studies in computer sciences, but I was hooked on clay. I loved the feel of the clay and the possibilities it provided for creating. I dabbled in it for many years while I worked full time as a software program developer to help support my young family. Once I became an empty nester with lots of ‘Me’ time, pottery became my passion. I worked to develop my skills further, taking a few classes here and there; and, watching plenty of videos which I considered virtual training. After a while I became comfortable enough with the pieces I was making to start showing and selling them in a local gallery. As I continued to work full time, I built a client base and created pottery on weekends, which at times was barely enough to keep up sufficient inventory. Read more>>

Susanne Khatib | Tech Marketer | YouTuber | Instagrammer

Thankfully, my work/life balance has greatly improved over time. Straight out of college, my personal life was nonexistent. I was in a very intense role at a start-up where we all worked crazy hours and my imposter syndrome was SO REAL. On top of it all, I had a 2+ hour commute each way to work. Needless to say, I felt like a zombie all. the. time. I was actually laid off from that job, but it was a blessing in disguise. In my next role, I experienced a much healthier work/life balance and I learned I could achieve success without sacrificing my own well-being. Nowadays, I am intentional about working with employers that share this mindset. With that said, when my role went fully remote due to COVID-19, my whole concept of balance was thrown for a loop. My dining room table became my new desk, and the separation between home and office was non-existent. I’ve had to learn to set my own boundaries and to give myself grace as well. Some days (especially during a pandemic) I am completely drained and can’t produce my best work. Read more>>

Laura Roberts | Business Consultant, Yoga Teacher, Personal Trainer, and Content Creator

Maintaining a healthy work life balance is one of my top priorities! Looking back on my college days, I now realize that I was too focused on schoolwork: thinking about study plans for the next test or whatever paper was due next week. Struggling to relax and “let go” of the work on my plate made me a less joyful person. Looking back on this time has helped me take conscious efforts to mentally separate work from play and relaxation. My ability to mentally separate work and play evolved through my discovery of yoga, slacklining, and AcroYoga. These hobbies introduced me to many cool people who live lives full of enjoyment rather than limiting their focus on work or academia. They helped me understand the importance of being present and closing the work tab on my mental computer. This became especially important when I began traveling for work in late 2013. It helped me make the most of my time in these new places, and honestly it kept me sane while I was away from home for days at a time. When traveling, I would wake up early to enjoy extra “me time,” and work hard — while staying equally present — during the day. Read more>>

Carolina Otero | Visual Artist

I am living a superb time of my life as an artist, educator, married woman and mother. Honestly, as I see it’s the case of professional women who decide to have a family, my life used to be a non-stop chain of chores and roles to play. It is not the case nowadays. My artwork is a way of living; I cannot do without. I always knew I wanted to have kids. I also realized it was an immense and demanding responsibility. Our two children are grown-ups now, my son finished his Master in Architecture in May 2020 and my daughter completed a Bachelor of Arts also last year. They are both two wonderful, thoughtful, talented, balanced, accomplished young people, in charge of their lives. Their father and I could not be more joyful and thankful. I am now back to a fuller time with my own work. I find myself not only supported but also often in a collaborative relation with my husband and children. At home we share the chores: we all enjoy cooking, we manage to clean and grocery-shop in turns. As adults, we each have time to work, to exercise, to leisure and to share… gratefully, in much less haste these days. Read more>>

Elizabeth Camilletti | Instructor and Artist

At times in my life I have felt the ticking clock of time counting down. When I was newly out of college I would regularly set deadlines for myself. When I was in grad school I felt like the days never stopped and I was living through a cycle of sunrises seen from the window in my studio cubicle. At the end of my grad school experience, when I realized how much I had accomplished time felt like it was moving as it should be. I took note of the days of the week again, and most importantly, for my health, I accepted down time for what it was meant to be, a break from working. So the balance see-saws, depending on where I’m at in my life. I feel that as I’ve gotten older the balance has gotten healthier. I pay attention to an internal monitor that lets me know when I really want to get into a new piece or when I’d rather go on a walk with my dog. I still keep deadlines, because I like knowing what I’m working on, it helps me stay on track of making my way through my list of ideas, but the deadlines don’t feel nearly as fatal as they did when I was 21. I look at balance on a semi-long term. Read more>>

Tamara Franks | Owner of At Your Side Home Care

Finding a balance between work life and home life is a critical and challenging task for many parents. As a business owner of a 24/7 operation, it is unrealistic to think that my family life will never be interrupted by a call to action, thus making acceptance of that an important aspect of my perception of balance. Perceiving your life as balanced is probably the single most important factor! About 4 years ago, I transitioned from stay-home-mom to Home Care owner. As a stay-home-mom, I took great pride in keeping my home clean and organized, preparing healthy meals and snacks for my family, and staying in good physical shape. As the demands of work have increased over the years, I’ve had to adjust how I define those things in order to not feel overwhelmed by the combined tasks of work and family life. Over time I’ve shortened the distance of my runs, found ways to meal prep and share food responsibilities with my husband, and found a way not to let those completely disorganized drawers and cabinets in my house bother me so much:). Read more>>

Lauren Chapluk | Graphic Designer

This is an interesting question because creative ideas come at the strangest of times. You could be driving to Palm Springs and see the windmills and suddenly realize how you can make a design you’re working on flow better and function better with nature (taken from a real-life experience). I work about 60 hours a week and sometimes very odd hours, so now, when I am off work I keep my phone in my purse and take the time to be away from technology and with loved ones. Read more>>

Alexia Domini | DJ & Artist

I have struggled with maintaing my work/life balanced ever since I began working in high school. Now that I am older, I have come to realize that it’s one of my top priorities in my life. When I first began DJing, all I wanted to do was focus on just that. I never had time to do anything else like focus on my family, mental health or social life. I’ve always had a “day” job along with Djing ever since I began. I remember how difficult it would be for me mentally and physically when I was playing 3-4 nights a week at night gigs along with a 40 hour day job; getting home at 4 am and having to wake up 3 hours later to start my “day” job. It was rough. I feel like my work/life balance priorities didn’t really set in until COVID-19 happened and I had no choice but to quarentine with the rest of the world. My whole life was turned upside down when I was not able to DJ at venues in person. I feel like it was a big wake up call because I didn’t realize how hard I was working myself before the pandemic. Read more>>

Jessica Brown | Owner

When you’re a small business owner, it’s difficult to separate yourself from the business. You’re basically on 24/7, especially when you’re first starting. You have to be prepared to live and breathe it. As a one-woman act, I am the business, from buying, to curating, to selling bookkeeping, social media, accounting, packaging, shipping, and all the other behind the scenes things that we don’t think about when we shop other small businesses. It is often difficult to create space for myself that doesn’t in some way involve the shop. More recently, I have found the importance in gifting myself moments to refocus and reset, which helps me in my personal life and ultimately helps the business. Yoga has been a long-time passion of mine, so I make an effort to practice at least three times a week. I also love road trips, so I aim for a few each year. Traveling is also a great way to seek out small businesses and local talent in other parts of the country. Balancing my personal and professional life’s has been the most challenging and rewarding part of being a small business owner. Read more>>