24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week. Junior investment bankers regularly work 80-90 hours a week. Many other high profile professions require the same level of commitment. Often those on the outside claim that working 80-90 hours a week is bad/wrong/terrible/silly/etc but we’ve spoken with so many folks who say working that much has been the best decision of their life – it allowed them to develop a deep and strong skill set far faster than would have been possible otherwise. In other words, by working 2x the hours, they were able to generate 5x or more the rewards. And depending on where you are in your career, investing heavily in your skills and competence can pay dividends for a long time.

Caroline Langford | Fiber Artist

I have found work/life balance to be more of a goal than a destination. Our lives are always changing, we go through different seasons of life, a difference in one year of our kids’ lives can make a huge difference in what their needs are, etc. I try to find the best balance in the moment, and also be open to making changes when needed. When I first started my handmade business, my kids were 1 and 3 and I could really only work when they were sleeping. Now just two years later, they are 3 and 5 and I am able to do so much more work during the day as they are playing together and have a better understanding of why and how I am working at home. I also think we need to always give ourselves so much grace. No one is doing this perfectly and it’s ok to go through short seasons of feeling like we have a super full schedule. If it feels like that all of the time, maybe a change needs to be made. I’m a stay-at-home mom, my kids are nearly always with me, and I homeschool, so I do my best to have my priorities straight, maximize my time, and fit in things when and where I can. Read more>>

Mackenzie Belcastro | Novelist & Mindset Coach

I used to think that “perfect” work-life balance meant running my own business on the weekdays, between 9-5, taking a “perfectly timed” lunch break midday, for exactly one hour. In other words, I used to think work and life were optimally balanced if I operated within the general societal structure. This didn’t work for me though. The reason I left the “typical world,” if you will, is that I operate in an atypical way. My rhythms are different. And I had to find those through listening to intuition. For example, because a portion of my work is highly creative, I’ve found I am personally most suited to working during the early hours of the day (5-11AM). Then I tend to work out, have lunch, go for a walk, and only then return to do my less creative work. This is all to say that balance, for me, means living not according to societal standards, but in unison with my own intuition, my own flow. Oftentimes, that means working on the weekends. And that’s more than okay. Provided I’m not overworking myself, of course, and that’s best identified, for me, by checking in with myself. Not by some standard suggesting what I should / shouldn’t be doing. Read more>>

Natalie Underdown, Ph.D. | Executive Coach & Organizational Psychologist

I hate the word balance. It implies perfection. I prefer work-life alignment instead. It creates a different visual in our minds, whereas instead of thinking of a see-saw that needs to be perfectly balanced with work on one side and life on the other, alignment conjures up a line made up of a series of activities. If they make sense for you and what you value, they line up. If they don’t, they stick out (making it obvious when they’re out of alignment). Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way lol… My concept of work life balance has changed a great deal. In my 20s, it was work hard, play harder mentality. As a management consultant who was working Monday-Thursday at a client site in a different city from where I lived, I would often work 60 hour weeks and then jet off somewhere to play with friends for the weekend. I balanced the intensity of my work with an equally intense social life consisting of friends, travel, concerts, parties. Read more>>

Kris Gatta | Tattoo Artist

Balance in all aspects of life is important. It took me a long time to figure out exactly what that meant for me. My work doesn’t stop when I leave the shop for the night, I’m constantly drawing, replying to clients, and setting future appointments regardless of where I am. All of this can become overwhelming and I end up feeling like I am always on the job. On a daily basis my balance comes from going to the gym and a solid meditation practice. On a larger scale travel helps me decompress and inspire me in all new ways, allowing me to come back to work refreshed and fired up. Early in my career I wasn’t aware of how much I needed to take time away, even if it was just to relax. I would work 7 days a week and not take care of my physical or mental self. Always working led to irritability and a serious burn out. Read more>>

Adriel Cogdal | Interior Designer

A few years ago I was rushing like crazy to get some projects finished in time for Christmas. I was working evenings and weekends to get this accomplished. I was also doing all the holiday things I needed to do to provide a wonderful Christmas day/evening for my friends and family. Everything got done, projects installed, house decorated, meals planned, gifts purchased and beautifully wrapped. Everyone had a great time. But when the holiday was over I realized I had not enjoyed one minute of it. And I saw what was meant by Work life balance. I obviously didn’t have any. So that changed from that moment. If I need to get a way for a weekend, I do it. When the holidays come around, I take time off to enjoy them. My office is now closed for two weeks so I can experience the joy I get from making Christmas a special day. I now set the expectation at the beginning of any working relationship that I do not work on weekends or holidays unless there is an urgent need. And I don’t promise things I can’t comfortably deliver. The result has meant I have a much less stressful life and I maintain control of my schedule. Read more>>