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.

Darius Koohmarey | Human Centered Technology & Wellness Founder

Myself, and many others in todays pandemic ridden world, have found themselves in period in their career and lives where we face mounting work stress paired with ongoing anxiety around the state of Covid-19. The ability to achieve work life balance has degraded given the reality of remote work and work from home. An important lesson on stress and work life balance I learned is that if you don’t change anything, don’t expect things to change themselves. Hoping that things ‘improve’ without making any changes to the inputs or tolerance of the system is an ignorance of basic control & systems theory. As a result, we need to be mindful to proactive make our resilience strong so we can handle stress, and reactively reduce our workload if we are still feeling overwhelmed. Building resilience begins with enough sleep, exercise, and nutritious diet. Read more>>

Joannie Lee | Business Owner | Pain Prevention Educator | Meditation and Breathwork Guide

When I first started Two Hands Wellness Events, my work/life balance was not a problem. As I became busier with work, the life balance was a challenge. I found myself working all the time, from answering email at 10pm at night or taking clients on my days off. In the last few years, I learned about boundaries with my clients, vendors, and for myself! The work/life balance is something I have been preaching for years! Without it, some may get anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed. I found meditation and breathwork and that has completely helped reduce any kind of stress or anxiety that comes my way. This led me to become a meditation and breathwork teacher. Read more>>

Nicolita Bradley | Photographer

Balancing work and life in the creative realm of the music industry is really difficult. Personally, I’ve found the more available you are the more likely you’ll be reached out to for gigs. This becomes extremely taxing very quickly because you somehow end up working a lot and don’t learn how to navigate saying no. When I first started out, my work life balance was non-existent. I poured every ounce of free time into shooting shows. While I don’t recommend this at all, it helped me get to the place I’m at now in my career. At a certain point the time/energy exchange stops being worth it. Once the adrenaline and excitement of shooting shows started to dim a bit I knew it was time to make adjustments. Now I pour energy into gigs that I’m stoked on. Shooting shows and festivals brings me an overwhelming amount of joy. I’m incredibly protective of that energy. Read more>>

Justine Ferrara | Pasta Lady, Dream Factory Pasta Owner

I think work/life balance is a state we are all continually searching for. I’ve found that it is a practice or a state of mind, not a place. The more in tune I am with my priorities, be it personally or professionally tells me a lot about if I’m practicing that balancing act or not. It’s different for every person and business, too. At the end of the day, only you know if you’ve done work to the best of your ability. Sometimes when that balance feels out of sync, that’s when it’s a good idea to check in to discover where too much might be too much, or perhaps where to step up your game a bit and push harder. Being an entrepreneur, you really have a long & wide runway, so setting up boundaries and goals becomes important in keeping yourself on track. You have to develop ways of holding yourself accountable and also, understand how to celebrate milestones. As we constantly change and grow, we have to continually shift and adapt to what balance looks like personally and professionally. Read more>>

Jamie Segovia | Designer, Owner, & Project Manager

I have always considered myself a hard worker. As a child of immigrant parents, the value of hard work was already drilled in my brain, and with hard work and education came success. So, I always did everything at 110%. Every job I took, I gave my very best effort, and have always moved up in whatever company I was in. However, “success” came at cost. At some point, I would ALWAYS feel burnt out. On a few occasions, it led me to the point where my work no longer brought me any joy, and I quit. At some point in my life, after my first real burnout, I took a pause on my life to truly think about my life. Although my work life always thrived, my personal life, especially with relationships, and my physical and mental health, always took a back seat. I finally decided that success wasn’t just my career or finances. My definition of success had to change. It was no longer just about hard work (I still believe hard work can get you places). Read more>>

Erica Thompson | Private Practice Therapist

Starting my own business as a therapist in private practice has helped me achieve the work life balance that I had been craving for years. I’ve always had a good self care regimen including exercise. However, prior to private practice the work life balance could be challenging at times. It was hard to maintain my ideal schedule to allow for fitness, quality times with loved ones, cooking a healthy meal when I got home, have time off (both PTO and sick leave), and attending professional development or networking events. Other work settings had limited PTO, work responsibilities could go into nights or weekends, or when I got home I would be so exhausted I didn’t always have the energy for all the other things. When I think about work life balance, I think about being able to show up in all areas of my life as my best self. It’s also spending regular time on personal values (eg education, family, friends, volunteering, career, adventure, creativity, health, loyalty). Read more>>

Taylor Sanchez | Hairstylist and Wedding Beauty Consultant

Work/life balance, I feel like this is the question of the century. I really have never been great with keeping a balance between spending time with my family and cranking out tons of work. My husband is always the first one to remind me to be in the moment with where we are. Before I started my own business it was very easy for me to leave my managerial position at the end of the day and say “its okay, I can do that tomorrow. Don’t stress.” But now, in the age of social media and the internet at our fingertips, that distinction does get harder. My balance has definitely changed multiple ways, when you are passionate about your job I do find it is hard to put the phone down for a moment. Sometimes I do find myself responding to clients all day, networking with other stylists, or even being part of seminars. The balance is dynamic for each and every individual as well. Read more>>

Katie Neipris | English Professor, Ph.D. Candidate, & Writer

Now I think of it as work-work balance. As I divide my time between my dissertation, upcoming publications, tutoring, and teaching, I increasingly find that I tend to prioritize things that affect others before things that affect only myself, which means that I leave my “own” work until the end. Instead of trying to carve out time “just for me,” I try to find ways to relax while fulfilling productive tasks: walking the dog, working out, cooking. I’m really bad at turning my brain off, so I try to just let the ideas percolate in the background. Lately I have started disallowing myself from leaving my phone on the nightstand; reading a physical book before bed instead of reading an e-book or articles on my phone makes a huge difference to my mental well-being!. Read more>>

Irene Noguerón G. | Illustrator & Artist

Having a balanced life is important; I see a lot of artists who tend to forget that. Because the work, at least for me, tends to become obsessive in a way. The balance between my artistic career and everyday life has changed a bunch since I started. Especially in digital art, I saw artists grinding out art every day and I thought I needed to do the same thing in order to keep up, and it was fun for a while but doing art for the sake of producing content is the easiest way of burning out fast, both mentally and physically. I think over the years I’ve gotten better at taking breaks and just thinking instead of overthinking. Read more>>

Katie Banville | Theatre Artist and Educator

I think “work-life balance” has, in many ways, simply become a new way of pursuing perfection in the way we conduct our lives. The number of articles and posts I’ve seen promising creative “life hacks” to attain “optimal work-life balance” makes me think we’ve simply given the long-standing pursuit of perfectionism a new face and name. The concept, however, remains the same, and continues to lead people down the same fruitless path of trying to find a “perfect” balance in their lives that in many cases doesn’t exist. Instead, I try to think of work-life balance in terms of seasons. Before I became a parent, I invested most of my time in my work and I did so happily. It was a decades-long season, during which I pursued work and educational opportunities voraciously because it felt right in that season of my life. For a couple of years, I focused more on education and training as I pursued a master’s degree, which required a corresponding shift in time spent specifically on work opportunities. Read more>>

Nick Gonzales | Founder and President

The Pandemic definitely caused shift in how I work. Prior to this past year the scale was tipped too far to the side of work. We were forced to re-think how we work and adapt to the situation. A blessing in disguise was that I ended up having more time at home, with my family. I started to appreciate this lifestyle change which included not only time with my family but time for my health. I am committed to take more deliberate time as we move forward. It forced me to ponder how I need to adjust the workings of the company as to provide more balance for myself as well as for my employees. The concept of work smarter not harder comes to mind. When life is out of balance, everything suffers. It is also very important to compartmentalize, to focus on work when at work and then shift at home to be present with your family and yourself. Read more>>

Andrew McKee | Producer & Engineer (Tribal Studio / McKeezy Productions), Touring Musician (Hirie)

I think this is an important/relevant question for the COVID times we are in – I find that my to-do list is constantly bombarded with tasks that eat away at both my personal time and mental energy as they build up. It’s really important to set aside time for family & personal growth, now more than ever as a lot of people are now working from home and the lines can easily be blurred between working hours and non-work life. My wife and I recently got a puppy, and he’s been a handful to say the least! Being accountable for him has made me rethink my work-life balance and forced me to prioritize tasks accordingly – with the many projects I tend to juggle as a musician, producer, & studio engineer/manager of sorts, I feel that it’s increasingly important for me to stake out time for myself to “fill my artistic cup” and be present for my little family. Read more>>

Lile Kvantaliani | Graphic Artist & Apparel Designer

I believe when you do something you truly love, it does not need to be separated into another portion of your life for the sake of “balance,” because enjoying your work is something you do not need time away from. For many people in this country, it seems that work is usually kept separate from the pure joys of life because people settle for choosing a job that they do not genuinely enjoy. In my opinion, the obvious secret to creating a natural balance between work and life is to find something which you do not have to set apart, as it naturally intertwines with your everyday thoughts and desires. I immerse myself in my work because I indulge in it as much as absorbing every ounce of life’s treasures. I realize that I am lucky to have something I am so passionate about that I never truly consider as “work” the way other’s view it. Creating is something I choose to do everyday and my passion for it will never die out. Read more>>

Tariq Johnson | Fashion & Portrait Photographer

As a photographer you’re often taking on multiple roles. Most times you’re a photographer, other times you’re acting as a business, director, stylist, curator, or even as a set designer. Finding balance is incredibly important, interestinly my balance has always been relatively the same because I’ve always had a devotion to not just my work but myself. I’ve always held multiple hobbies outside of my career. For example, I have an extreme devotion to my health and body. To prioritize that aspect of my life while balancing my work, I’m often meal prepping days ahead and leaving time slots within my days to exercise. It’s important as entrepreneurs that we keep a clear head space and to do that I believe it’s imperative that we find time to enjoy all aspects of our lives. If we’re giving proper attention to our hobbies and interests then we’ll be happier and that happiness carries over onto the business side of things. Read more>>

Erica Taylor | Animal Reiki practitioner | Dog Trainer | Embodiment Coach

In my first business straight out of Undergrad which I successfully managed for over a decade, I had zero work life balance. Work was my life. It was my identity. There was no separation. I was a workaholic and a product of my environment having been raised by my single parent entrepreneur. I was very much in my masculine energy – action oriented, structured, meticulous, always focused on doing and achieving. I was in constant hustle mode and experienced fatigue and burn out which took a toll on my mind, body and soul. Fast forward to today, I have cultivated a healthier and more balanced work life. I accomplished this through lots of deep inner work, establishing healthy boundaries, lots of work on my mindset, prioritizing self-care and having more self-compassion, acceptance and grace. Read more>>