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.

Rena Hamilton  Potter & Teaching Artist

Finding balance has always been a struggle. I am in my 21st year as a secondary school art educator, mostly all the while maintaining my own personal studio practice and at times pretty rigorous in outdoor, athletic pursuits, home and garden projects, and trying to not neglect my partner and furr-family too much, too often. The reality of the unsustainable pace of trying to juggle all of this is starting to set in. I am finally, sincerely, recognizing that I can’t do it all, all of the time. I still don’t have the balance figured out but I am learning how to say no more often and trying to get better at identifying the the small things to let go, particularly in the teaching realm. One example is consciously becoming vocal and encouraging of more active participation from members in the Flagstaff Potters’ Guild I formed in 2011 (sharing the responsibility of event planning, website updates, etc). Being willing to ask for help, though it still pains me a bit, I think will get easier with practice. Read more>>

Sara Stepnicka | Candle Maker

Early on we are programmed to go-go-go, full-time work, full career development, fully goal-oriented; and then we realize some point along the way that life, personal relationships, family, community, fun, and relaxing are crucial for a truly rounded experience. If I feel stressed about work, that means the balance has been tilted, and I have to find where that imbalance is at and think about ways that are not associated with work to bring me back. We love hiking for that time away, to reflect, enjoy the company of one another and nature, and that helps bring the mind back into harmony, and we can then be in the best space to do our work in. Without that work-life balance in harmony, something is pulling your attention away from where you are trying to focus it. It is oftentimes overlooked because there are so many facets to human existence, that balance for one person may be complete chaos for the next. Read more>>

Kristal Hoeh | Artist and Art Educator

As an artist with two part-time teaching jobs, two elementary school-aged children, and a love for sprint triathlons, time and energy are in short supply. Before my children were born, I was a full-time elementary art teacher for Kyrene School District in Chandler, AZ, working about 50 hours a week. I had 800 students to prep supplies and instruct on a weekly basis. When my daughter was born 10 years ago, I decided to switch to being a part-time online Art History and Drawing high school teacher for Primavera Online High School. This allowed me to arrange my schedule to have my office hours any time of the day I needed. I was able to have my daughter go to my in-laws house a few hours each day so I could make phone calls and prepare lessons without interruption. I also would throw in a load of laundry or do a small household cleaning job. It also gave me a reason to structure my day and keep a part of my own interests on the front burner in-between changing diapers and going to toddler story time at the library. Read more>>

Sonja Monsen | Postino’s Restaurant Manager & Lifestyle Blogger

Between trying to manage my blog, my social media content, my social life all on top of managing Postino WIne Cafe in Gilbert; a lot of things fall to the wayside. It’s hard to put yourself first when you’re too busy to even get enough sleep, but the longer I continue to grow in my career and with my brand the more I have realized how important it is to find a balance. When the pandemic hit and restaurants were shut down, I thought this would be my opportunity to focus mainly on my blog and my Instagram content. Instead, I ended up still working full time at the restaurant doing curbside business. I was excited to have income during such a difficult time but I was hopeful for some much needed time off from management to really give my dreams of running a creative and interactive blog my full attention. Once the restaurant industry reopened I was working even more than before and then I was promoted from hourly manger to a salary position. The new found responsibilities and commitment pulled me in so many amazing directions but after a while I started to get burnt out. Read more>>

Jennica Klemann | Massage Therapist, Spa Owner, & Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist

When I was a young single mother 16 years ago, I was attached to my phone and computer at all times. I responded to texts, emails, and phone calls as soon as they came in. My son who was 5 at the time, hated my phone because I was always on it. My business was my “other child” and my actual son couldn’t compete with that. I justified it, of course, I had to work to provide for him…he didn’t understand that my business paid our bills. But now in hindsight, and knowing what I know now, I regret it. I’ll never get that time with my son back. In 2011, I opened my spa. Again, getting a business going requires a lot of time and attention, however twelve years into my practice, and six years into my business I finally learned proper time management. It wasn’t easy to let go and maintain my boundaries, but it was necessary for my life as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. I began keeping lists, and eventually a task journal. Setting alarms on my phone allowed for sleep & wake times, and prioritizing my daily and weekly tasks. Read more>>

Ivy Morris | Digital Content Strategist

I’ve learned some valuable lessons about work-life balance throughout my nearly decade-long career. Like, keep your guard up around the boss who says they value your life outside work, but then makes you feel guilty about having a life outside work (or won’t give you time off!). Be careful working at places where the employee of the month is praised for being the “first to arrive and the last to leave.” And, finally, if you work somewhere with a flexible schedule, remember that you still have to finish your projects when they’re due! When you find a place that trusts you, don’t take advantage of it. To me, “balance” is impossible to achieve unless employer and employee give each other equal respect. Read more>>

Gemma Thomas | Healthcare Executive

Work-life balance is a lot like making a soufflé. Too much or too little of one ingredient throws the whole recipe off. And honestly, has anyone ever gotten it just right on the first try, all on their own, without messing it up royally at least once? While baking at home has been on trend recently, and some have maybe even perfected their soufflés (spoiler alert, I haven’t), many have been forced to throw their old work-life balance recipes out the window. My personal work-life balance recipe has evolved continuously, even pre-pandemic. As a driven, hungry-for-accomplishment young professional, I often bit off more than I could chew. Okay, enough of the food metaphors, let me give you a real life example… While finishing my master’s degree several years ago, I was working full-time, in school full time, and working much more than I was living. Because I still had an ounce of free time somewhere between 5 days of work, 4 days of school, and 2 days of an internship, I decided to take on a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training to become a registered yoga instructor simultaneously. Read more>>

Michael Polakowksi | Painter and Muralist

The concept of “work life balance” has evolved for me over the years. I think when you are just starting out as a creative, and especially as a painter, you can’t afford to have balance. Painting will probably not pay your bills at first, which is a reality that I experienced in so many different ways. At the start of my career I worked in retail, as an in-house designer, and eventually as a manager for a company that produced murals. After every work day I always had paintings to make and it was a lot like having two jobs. Luckily, I looked forward to being able to paint every night never had any difficulty motivating myself to work. That scarcity of time really makes you appreciate the time you have just for yourself, and my favorite moments were after work at the diner half way between my work and my studio. Later on I took part in an artist residency that allowed me to paint full-time for the first time in my life. I was able to live in the same building as my studio at the time, so the temptation to work was always there. Read more>>

Gary Taylor | Producer, Writer, & Director

Balance has always been a crazy balancing act: day job, college classes, family time. It’s a lot of time management and planning. As I’m taking on more and more projects, I’ve learned two very valuable lessons. The first is not let the workload overwhelm me and create anxiety. Set firm deadlines, but make them flexible to accommodate the rest of life. The second is to learn how to say “no” to things. Sure, I want to be creative and take on the world, but there are limits to what I can do with my time. I have overextended myself in the past and the films suffered and entire work/life balance suffered. Fortunately I have a strong support system in my family and my film colleagues are there for me whenever I need them. Read more>>

Jill Mancuso | Owner and Designer at Modern Roots Kids Co.

Work life balance – holy smokes, I feel like I could write an entire series of books on this and still have more to tell about. Even still, I am no expert on this topic, by any means. Work life balance, what it means to me, and how I achieve it has changed SO much for me over the years. My balance has really changed significantly over time due to two factors: the business growing and getting busier, and me growing my family as well. When the business first started I obviously had minimal orders so it was easy to keep up. I also only had two kids at the time. Fast forward to today and my business has many more orders including wholesale orders and I have four kids all seven and under. Over time I have shifted my work life balance. There are times when I am able to give a lot more energy to the business and times where I am able to give little to no energy (hello, newborn baby!). The thing with this is just knowing everything is a season. It was hard for me to compare myself to other businesses who were killing it and putting out so much product and getting a ton of sales when I had just had a baby and couldn’t even sit down to process one order. Read more>>

Sobe Stanford | Professional Photographer/Makeup Artist/Blogger

Sustaining a business can be challenging. In my case balancing life and work has been a struggle. Entrepreneurship is not easy, you have to wear different hats to handle some of the workloads you can’t afford to outsource. You will always encounter struggles, but staying optimistic plays a huge role in overcoming them. Read more>>

Shannon Wilson | Dance Studio Owner, Wife and Mom

I have been a studio owner for over 23 years and the balance in my life and how I think about balance has changed drastically over the years. When I first started out, I used to think there actually was such a thing as balance – that I could split my time, energy and attention equally between work and home. I tried really hard to give equal attention to my work, myself and my family and I failed miserably. I was unhappy and stressed, but just kept thinking, if only I could find more balance. You hear all the time about work-life balance, so I assumed it was a real thing, just something I was struggling to grasp and that if I put more attention on “finding balance” then I would feel more energized, more focused, happier, less stressed. I went through years of this struggle, because when you are first starting out in a business it requires a lot of your attention, time and energy. Some days I spent 16-18 hours at work, came home to tell my husband I loved him and crashed. I missed my first child’s first steps because I was at work. I would come home from a long day, lay on the floor of his room while he was asleep so I could have some time with him that day. Read more>>