How Do You Balance It All?

Welcome to Dialogue, a new project here on Design for Mankind. I’m so thrilled to introduce a fantastic group of people who are participating in this video series— dedicated to all the things we as a creative community SHOULD be talking about, but AREN’T.

Our first episode topic? Balance. In today’s world of virtual luxuries and overbooked schedules, how do you, as an artist/designer/blogger, hold it all together? What does your work/family/personal life balance look like, and what happens when you drop the ball?

Special thanks to the following individuals for making this series happen:
Duncan/Aaron Anderson, Annie and Clyde Music (ASCAP)/Twice Publishing (ASCAP)
Kenneth Loechner, Freelance Editor
+ our lovely cast of contributors, who you’ll meet soon enough!

Sit back, relax, and enjoy our dialogue. ;)


  • Damn it!
    And I’m at work and can’t watch it just right now :-(

    I must say, though, that the topic is SO VERY RELEVANT. I’m so worried about balancing my time surfing the interwebs vs. crafting and doing creative stuff vs. updating my “virtual identity” vs. stuff I want to do with my partner… Can’t wait to hear what others have to say about it!!

  • totally dig it! balance… a hard thing to achieve, but somehow you try to keep everything in place & time. Can’t wait for the next one, congrats ;)

  • Thanks for this. It was great to hear others word my mind, to feel that this struggle is going on an on in every little corner. Thanks.

  • A-MAZE-ING! Thank you Erin and all the lovely contributors! It’s so wonderful to see the human side of all these amazing talents! It makes me feel so much better about my neglected housework! ; )
    Can’t wait for more!

  • i love it and the topic is so relevant! it’s also neat to see and hear favorite artists actually speak. great job – the music is fun, too!

  • THANNNNNNK YOU! That was awesome to watch. I will be waiting to see all the new ones every week. Great idea.

  • First thought? How cute everyone looked! Second thought? Wonderful series Erin! How do you do it all?? I can’t wait for the next episode!

    p/s–Kenneth did a great job (I seriously think it’s better than TV!) ;)

  • oh erin! you’ve outdone yourself again! It is so nice to hear that other artists are going thru exactly the same thing that i am everyday! it truly brings a smile to my face. it also makes me feel not so alone in this journey of the self-employeed, workholic life that i’m living! thank god for my husband and his daily support as well as people like you bringing this wonderful handmade community together!

  • thanks erin for having me be a part of this! Ha, watching me talk reminds me how tired I was when I filmed that, I had just got home from a 12+ hour day in the studio and it was super late.

  • remember when you were like,”I don’t know if I can do this blog thing full time…” I do! You are doing so great!

  • Yeah! I love this video. It is full of such honest insight and truly represents our journey of practicing the art of life balance. I’d love to be able to share this on my blog!

  • Erin you clever little thing! yay! and HOW cute are you on the video! xxx speak soon petal. love ebony xxx

  • Oh Erin it was SO GOOD – finally got to watch it on home laptop. And you are SO cute! Love these video series…can’t wait for future episodes.

  • How cute are you, Erin?! This was such a great and relevant topic. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing from these artists too.


  • Fabulous! I think there must be 55 of you!

    Thanks so much! I love this idea.


  • E…you’re a GENIUS.

    I saw the link for your video on twitter when I was at the coffee shop and thought, “when am I gonna have time to watch this?” I put it off for a moment when I strolled back over to my studio. I came back to your site and pushed the play button WHILE I ran credit card invoices from the show I did this Sunday.

    That whole experience made me laugh. I really like how you’ve put it together: very down-to-earth, real, and accessible. (and funny).


  • Thank you so much Erin, I’ve had such a crappy day dealing with balance and this made me feel better and normal. Yay!!! looking forward to more these :)

  • Perfect! I can’t wait for the next one and this one is getting forwarded to all of my workaholic friends.

  • what a great series. its comforting to know that the people that seem to have it ‘all together’ have the same trouble balancing life as i do. looking forward to the next installment!

  • Thanks so much! That was just great – so reassuring to hear that others are struggling with the same things. I can’t wait for the rest of the series. . .

  • Great work, loved the video! It’s nice to know there are lots of others out there working on the same issues we are.

  • Great job Erin! It’s so funny to hear you all talk, because in my head you all sound like me (English) and it really took me by surprise to hear your accent when you started talking.

  • great video — the balancing act is definitely a struggle all the time for me too. kelly lynn is braver with her alarm clock than i would be! loved lisa’s interview, she seems so well balanced and her suggestion about letting go to relax sometimes & knowing your limit / being willing to compromise what you can/can’t do, is very helpful. i agree with jen about how the internet is kind of a waste of time – i think of my peak times of productivity being a few years ago, before i even owned a computer.

  • what wonderful artists and what a great project! i’m going to come back to the video when i’m not in a room full of people… xo, k.

  • For some reason I can’t view it….does it work on Firefox? Can I view it somewhere else?

    All the same it sounds really good and something I definitely need….going to sleep 5:00 in the morning because I’m blogging or making Jewellery can’t be a good thing. :D

    When was the last time I want out…..?

  • that was so cool and so honest!! (if not a little weird to actually hear you speak). great to see kelly on there – i’m a big fan of little paper planes. i love her car parking approach!!

  • great topic, i just tweeted the post, I feel exactly like this and it feels good to know I’m not alone! thanks erin

  • Going out to get food is the best! It’s good to know that other people feel the same way.

  • *clap**clap**clap*!!!!
    I’m not a self employed artist as I have a full time science job, however when it comes to nights and weekends, Muntedkowhai takes over. The line is very thing between Muntedkowhai tasks and hobby time since I am working in my relaxing environment. Overall, it is because I enjoy it so much that I do not see it as a job. This is most likely because I spend 8 hours in a lab and that “balances” my Munted time!

  • I love this. It’s great to know that there are a lots of people like me, and I really really really need a schedule and stick to it.

  • Hehehehe. I liked this video a LOT. Could very much relate to it all! Especially the losing of hours on inspiring Blogs!

    I have to agree with the separation of days plan – Today is a writing day! & as for balancing it all… one can only do one’s best right?



  • OMG! OMG! I am floored! I don’t know where to begin! How ADORABLE and BEAUTIFUL are YOU Erin?! (that is the first thing) THEN, how awesome IS this feature?! I mean…..I am speechless. These 3 ladies(SO fun to put moving faces and voices to their wonderful talents) are also adorable and so sweet!( I am in love with Jen’s green top) and the topic! How great to hear that others are still trying to balance it all too! Erin….you are an absolute goddess! wow….I LOVE IT!!!!! :)

  • Thankyou, what a fabulous idea!
    It’s great to know others have mess to deal with in their lives
    – a plan sounds like a good plan,
    it’s the sticking to it I have problem with… practice, practice, practice!

  • Great job, Erin! Completely necessary discussion, wonderful presentation–as always, just another reason Design For Mankind is in my essential blog list!

  • Oh my god Erin, thank you! I have been asking this question around and around and I think its time to accept that this life is not for the completely sane, so its a good thing for me.

    I have been using the rough principles of Getting Things Done, basically a way to have a system for capturing eveything that comes into your head and transferring that to whatever storage receptacle you have at home. For instance, a master list that gets categoriesed into say:

    1. Ideas (I never cary my idea book with me, its at home)
    2. Things to buy at art store
    3. project break down tasks etc.

    Its been helping but the fact is, there is an overwheming amount to do, and I so agree with the photographer artist, this whole inspired by flickr and blogs thing takes up my time.

    Anyway, lovely job. I am on spring break and working non stop. Go figure.


  • Wow Erin! Such a great discussion. I love to hear that I’m not alone with the struggle of balance. Lovely to read all the thought and ideas in the comments section too.

    Thanks for putting this together! Can’t wait for more topics!

  • That was suuuuucccchhhhh a great watch! So happy to watch that while I eat my lunch instead of something dumb on youtube! I can’t wait for more….

    Also you are gorgeous! :)

  • Wow! I’ve been waiting all day to watch this, I saw it this morning but couldn’t actually watch it as I was rushing out to the ‘day job’ – but now I’m home and am so pleased to get to see it finally. Its encouraging to know so many other people struggle with the act of balancing EVERYTHING – although I wish there was an answer to it. But the tips and advice provided by you and your friends (and all the comments too) are really useful. I can’t wait for the rest of this series, you’ve done a great job and it definately looks promising. Any help and advice is so appreciated right now, as I slowly move towards self-employment. Thank you so much for all your words of wisdom!

    glitterysah x

  • It was such a pleasure to watch that! It’s so comforting to know that others suffer with balance in their lives like me, and I’m only a student. But they can still make it through the day!

  • oh dear— thank you so much everyone! i’m so glad to hear that this is encouraging for you, as that’s a pretty big goal in all of this. i really want everyone to feel like you’re not alone in this, regardless of your job status or life commitments– we all have a hard time juggling everything!

    it’s so nice to know we’re in this together, right? :)

  • This is such a fantastic new segment. It is so encouraging to know there is an entire culture of self-employed workaholics out there just like us! Living in suburban NJ surrounded by people who have NO idea why we do what we do, with the notion that art is everything and we love it just doesn’t sit well with some family members…(get a real job, you’ll never make money as an artist, etc). And the idea of getting distracted by a million internet gems of inspiration…I thought it was me doing the interview! I have 9 tabs open right now as it is. And I’m leaving this comment when I should be working on my new print. But seriously, this was fantastic! Keep ’em comin!

  • thank you, erin!
    loved the first episode of your new project!
    it was wonderful and inspiring.

    looking forward to more :)

  • wow, this is awesome!! and inspirational!! I do work a lot at home and so I can totally relate and the video definitely helped me realize that the balance is really important! Thank you!

  • Wow, what a great topic! It’s good to hear how people actually get things done. I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets distracted sometimes. Thank you!

  • This really is so applicable to all entrepreneurs. I’m looking forward to the next one.

    On an off-topic note: Erin, I never pictured you to sound like you do! I think I pictured you having a lower voice, haha.

  • this is great erin, and you look gorgeous!!!
    sorry i’ve been disappearing on and off. just extremely busy at the moment.
    best of luck!

    gotta go now and catch up on lots of posts here

  • You know it’s somewhat comforting to know I’m not the only person that has trouble with the whole balance thing. I’m BAD at it. My fiance’s BAD at it – which doesn’t help at all! Although it does mean we understand each other. We both have our obsessions.

    Can’t wait for more videos. Congrats!!

  • Thanks for all of this. I think there is this myth out there that people like you guys have all the easy answers.I’m glad/sad it’s not true. I’m constantly fighting with the fact I work full time and I’m trying to do graphic design and illustration on the side. And you know what? I’m damn tired, but I want to get myself to do more. It’s crazy, when did we all have to work 60 hours a week or more to be a successful artists? And as the video shows, it seems a lot of us feel kinda guilty about it all.damned if you do, damned if you don’t…

    Keep it up, it always helps to know that we are all in the same boat. It is just nice to be reminded of it sometimes. thanks

  • Hurray! This was WONDERFUL. I struggle with finding balance and making room for all the things i want to do constantly. Thanks for helping to share tips with us all. I look forward to more “Dialogue”.

  • Perfect timing, I so needed to hear this! Thank you! I completely identify with Jen Gotch… ADD, getting side tracked, extremes, (full throttle or comatose). Great humor and wonderfully comforting. Also all of you are drop dead gorgeous, but you in particular… don’t feel bad about hubby cooking and washing the dishes, you are so adorable he’d probably be happy to do it standing barefoot on broken glass with bees buzzing around!

  • Dear Erin,
    I think I’m a bit older than you folks but all I can say is… just throw some children into the mix!I’ve got a 15 and an 11 year old, my husband and I are self employed, photographer, architect, artists both and workaholics to boot. Though we’ve been through the mill, I’ll admit: housework is good for me in small doses, committed regularly, I make sure I do a load of laundry first thing in the am while my tea water is boiling. I don’t even know it’s happening! I recommend securing delineated studio space in the house or outside a short commute away. I do the hardest thing I have to that day first off. My husband and I are happiest when working and the kids, they occasionally protest but should it be any different? That’s when we know to stop, check ourselves and (moderately)indulge them. Work hard, take long vacations…
    I wonder at the askance glances in your video to maintaining relationships and keeping the ‘life’ together. It’s nothing to sneeze at. If you’re still in school or living a roommate life, you can get away with it for a while but from my perspective, work is only good for us as long as one lets the friends and family life rule. Internet/blogging time spent is scary. Remember to have dinner with friends and enjoy. Time for yourself? – don’t forget to set some totally ridiculous goals for yourself like obtaining a blackbelt, learning an instrument, mastering the art of french bread, whatever. These pursuits might take you away from the black hole of cyberspace and keep you honest. A good list/calendar book helps.
    Cheers, Good job, I’ll keep checking in.

  • What an amazing video, thank you so much!

    I honestly feel a BILLION times better about being a designer/workoholic right now. It’s so good to know I’m not the only one out there that struggles to find the right balance of it all.

    Thank you thank you!

  • I don’t balance it all – I go into a writing-trance in which I not only neglect my blog and housework, but also forget to eat. Not very smart :)

  • This…is fantastic! I plan to share this on my blog today. Best question to ask and love the response. Makes me glad to know I’m not alone in the balancing act! Thanks so much for this!

    Just curious, will you be opening this up for other artists to respond? I can not WAIT for the next installment!

  • I am DYING to see this but I can’t get it to work. is there an alternate method for viewing this?

  • Hi Ry!

    For the first few months we’re doing our selected cast only [simply b/c the set-up and instructions for each video are VERY time-consuming!], but we’ll be adding guest contributors soon enough!

  • Wow!!! All of you ladies are AMAZING! Loved this video and LOVED the conversation. Sigh! Balance! I need some of it. Can’t wait to see what you get up to next

    Here’s my situation: My husband and I are both artists (he’s a musician/multi-media and i’m visual) and we both have day jobs. But my husband is the crazy workaholic who has blinders on when he’s working on a project. I, on the other hand, let myself get way too easily distracted and bothered by all the dirty dishes, huge wads of cat fur on the floor, laundry, cleaning, television, blahblahbloobeeblomp that I’ll let my work slide cause I feel that shit needs to be taken care of. [And someone needs to clean up at some point.] God, I could only imagine what would happen if we threw kids into the mix like one of the previous comments.

    I need to find a way to balance my art with my life and get the husband to take his blinders off from time to time to see that he needs to help more, so that I can put my blinders on. Sheesh!

  • Great feature….so nice to know there are other people who share my challenges. I should share this video with people I date to explain myself. LOL.

  • This is such an awe inspiring and amazing video. It’s so real and authentic. Yes Blogging and writing aren’t the toughest jobs in the world…but *heavy sigh*…you get out of blogging what you put in.

    Great topic. Great Video. Will share with my readers.

  • you’re unstoppable!! this is fantastic, i love it…a great bunch of women with good advice. thanks!

  • Love it!!!!! You guys are too cute! I’m totally cracking up about not being able to get out of bed in the morning and the tip about parking your car in a spot where it has to be moved…too bad I don’t have that option anymore or I would totally be doing the same thing!!!! That’s some great motivation! Great series, can’t wait to see the next one!!

  • I can’t watch it…I think I need to update some software. I’m getting tech support on this pronto.

  • Right, well. I’m so time challenged that I brought my lap top into the bathroom with me to listen to the video… 2 children in the mix and truly, there is NO me time unless you schedule it. Not even in the bathroom. : )

    Great job- even liked the little tune that played in background.


  • i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, it!!! so glad to see that i am not the only one! great motivation. today, i will actually cross a few more things off that mile long to-do list. i can’t wait to see more!!!!
    thanks so much!

  • Wow!
    I just saw myself in some of these words… Specially the “oh, just looking my email…” and 4 hours later still in the internet, on flickr and blogs… these are totally addictive. And about washing dishes… Oh my…
    Thanks for leting me know that I’m not alone!

  • um, what?! seriously, how can you possibly have time to add this to your already full plate?! i don’t know how you do it – but i’m sure glad you do! i am excited to see more!!!
    this topic in particular i can really relate to – it seems everyone else can too!
    there just are not enough hours in the day.

  • thank you thank you thank you!!! this was really great and inspiring and glad to know that others are feeling the same way. phew!


    awesome idea. jen was hilarious. and i’m totally with Kelly on the “starring to relax.” i’m hooked. xo


    p.s. don’t cry. :)

  • this was really great! i have to say that i get where ulla’s coming from given that i have three kids and the huz, a new biz and this blogging thing. sad to say that the conclusion i’ve come to over the past few years is that women really can’t have/do it all (i know, lots of hissing right now)–not well, anyway, if attempted simultaneously. something’s gonna, and gotta, give.

  • Thanks so much for taking on this topic. It is definitely one that I struggle with. I’m starting to adopt the idea of having a schedule where every Monday is a studio day, Tuesday is a “business” day (paper work and such)…. It helps me put things out of my mind and stop obsessing and replaying my list over and over in my head.
    Thanks for all that you do.

  • Ladies–what a fantastic topic for your debut! I am on the edge of my kneeling chair in anticipation of the next segment. I’m 55 and completely at a different stage of life than the majority of you. However, I just started blogging and am consumed with all the new concepts I am discovering and learning. I find it hard to sleep at night and I’m suffering from “eyeball burn” from being in front of the monitor too much. I also suffer from back problems that are intensified when I sit for a long period of time. Here’s a few of my own personal tips, though they are probably not new to any of you…
    1. Sitting a problem?
    a. Stand up! If you use a laptop, simply move it to an elevated area and stand while “computing”.
    b. Try a kneeling chair–look for them at yard sales. They take the pressure off the back to some degree.
    2. Stuck for hours? Use a timer and “get up and get off” at regular intervals. I have mine across the room so that I HAVE to get up to turn it off, then TRY to stay away for a reasonable amount of time.
    3. Eyeball Burn (for lack of a true medical term)–Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! There are lots of OTC eye drops that you can use.
    Off to work on my blog now! spt2.blogspot
    See you at the next segment!

  • Erin, this is absolutely fabulous! This weekend my husband and I have been talking about my need to balance work and other things in my life {which is hard, because I too work from home.} And then I stumble upon your blog and see this wonderful video. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    I am adding you to my RSS reader. Looking forward to seeing the other videos in the Dialogue series!

  • I LOVE this! It is nice to know I am not completely abnormal and to hear other inspiring women echo my life, my thoughts, my struggles.
    Owning a business, blogging like a maniac, having a husband an THREE LITTLE GIRLS can be maddening but to be afforded the oppportunity to pursue my passion is worth the compromise and struggle every day! I try very hard to not ever complain when it gets so busy….its what I asked for, so I TRY to be thankful even for the busy-ness! Looking forward to the next installment! :)

  • This was beyond inspiring! I found myself writing down ideas so I can go back to them when I need some solace :) This is a wonderful idea – thanks so much!

  • you’re so welcome, everyone— i’m extremely pleased to hear you’re enjoying the series!

    watch out for another tomorrow! :)

  • Erin – first of all, I’m so impressed with your drive! With everything going on you managed to pull off an excellent new series with this debut video. I LOVED it! I can so totally relate. And yes, I have kids (3 small ones including a 2 month old baby). I wonder how I keep it together.

    Some advice (if anyone’s interested):
    1 – keep a to-do list with ‘estimated time’ near each item – anything more than an hour, and you need to break that task down further
    2 – turn down work sometimes and keep to your billable rates (I know it’s supposedly a ‘bad economy’, but self-employed folk are in the best position to take advantage of that)
    3 – remember you’re worth it. take care of your little self. and get some sleep.

    Can’t wait for the next one out, Erin!

  • This is so brilliant! And it’s so good to hear I’m not the only one struggling to find balance being self-employed and a total workaholic. The video editing is fantastic too — so well done from start to finish.

  • Erin,

    Congratulations! This is a great idea and it´s so cool that you´re putting it all together. Congratulations, again and again!


  • So very insightful.
    I am by no means an artist as what defines these women but I also struggle with my creativity and seeking what inspires me. And all they’ve said, especially the part about how having a plan/schedule is very important otherwise you may distracted. Thank you for this video. More advice and input of daily things please!

  • Fabulous series, Erin!

    Super creative and relevant – well done!

    Can’t wait to see more.

    xo, rebecca

  • this is great! i’m really really excited for this. i will let all my friends know about it! thanks erin!

  • wow, i just found u thru my polaroid blog. what a neat series! and MAN can i relate. luved the part about the dishes. i had to share with my bf cuz he’s been doing ours for at least a year. and has to peel, beg and kick me away from the computer sometimes. thx for THIS and your BLOG and your care. can’t wait to take some time to soak it all up. wondering if you’ve covered how to manage all this DATA??? i’m on absolute overload. and trying to find the most perfect way to keep everything filed, saved, accessible, etc… just started using evernote but what about all the jpegs??? thx and glad to meet ya!

  • You guys should all get a dishwasher. I wouldn’t want to live without one anymore, being self-employed or not :)

  • I wish to bring these to you people and aks for help.Because I has work with cmpiney for a years. but am not seeing incoming to me. So I want to get some idea from you people.Now am working with some organisation for nine years now! Now the salary is not increeson, and they said they are goin to clost the now want the idea that I can use it to make money.

  • Erin, I just watched every one of these videos and love them all. I feel like I ask myself all of these questions on an almost daily basis and it’s so nice to hear from other artists who go through the same exact things. I don’t have any real life friends who freelance or juggle a multitude of creative endeavors, so sometimes it’s hard to explain just what I do. If nothing else, watching these makes me feel a little less alone (and not so bad about the sink full of dishes and piles of laundry on the floor..) I really hope you keep making more of these videos.

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