Getting Off-Kilter to Achieve Work-Life Balance

This morning I attended a talk by Nate Manny, presented by Creative Mornings Seattle. I had no expectations except that I’d hear a successful, talented designer talk about life, design, which could spark some creative/entrepreneurial inspiration in me. Well, it did more than that. It kind of capsized my perception of career success and achieving work-life balance.

A little bit about the chat (from the event site):

“…Learn about always being mindful and present in one’s life as a creative professional and examining the significance of one’s everyday patterns.”

What I loved about the presentation is that he has taken a nontraditional route to get to where he is (artist > rock star (literally) > designer), yet he still is constantly conflicted by where he is and where he wants to be. It was a lightning bolt moment for me to hear that, since I figured reaching that upper-echelon in the design world automatically created complete life satisfaction. I’m constantly questioning my career choice: if I’m doing enough, if I’m doing too much and pulling away from the things in life that I really love. Am I successful enough? Am I wasting my time? Should I spend more time with my daughter? My husband?

There were several takeaways from the chat that warmed my heart and got my creative gears rolling:

  1. Complacency leads to Boredom leads to Atrophy
       The constant questioning of yourself, your career, and your life, is necessary to keep from withering in any of those areas.

  2. Taking Time to do What Fuels Me leads to Inspiration leads to Tackling the Next Thing
       Going to a museum or going on a bike ride isn’t a waste. Whatever gets your juices going can be the thing to get you to where you want to be.

  3. Evaluate What You Love then Balance Work with Life
    I made a little graphic to demonstrate the process.

    Committed: Do What I Love

    Thanks to Nate Manny for the inspiration.

    If you’re working all the time and don’t have the opportunity to enjoy the spoils of your effort, maybe you should cut back on some of the hobbies and extras and work less to fund the ones worth keeping. It was a new way for me to think about things, and I hope you find it useful too.

    What resources or methods have you found helpful in achieving career satisfaction and work-life balance?

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In the Bag: The Diaper Bag Dilemma

With a 17 month-old, I’ve officially been through 4 diaper bags, with 3-4 unofficial options as well. Why? Am I picky? Am I destructive? Am I disorganized? Do I get frantic? Kind of.

The thing is, different situations call for different bags. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about! You have your big, multi-purpose handbag for everyday outings or when you need to carry the utilitarian stuff. The cute, sassy clutch works for evenings out because you only need a couple of items for the night.

Though you may not be dancing the night away and getting free drinks with your little one in tow, you may have a preference for a smaller bag sometimes.
Here’s what I’ve learned about diaper bags.

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Feeling Flashy: Using Your Flash When it’s Least Expected

Recently, I took a web-based photography class via CreativeLive, taught by the incredibly talented Roberto Valenzuela. Though the class was geared toward wedding photographers, I gleaned some valuable information as an amateur photographer (cough cough). A cool tip I learned, which I’ll share with you here, is how to use your flash to create some beautiful shots.

When you think of flash photography, you think of low light, indoors, red eyes, blown out skin…just BAD…right? Well, it’s a tool, and it can be used in a way you wouldn’t necessarily think of!

This weekend, we visited a pumpkin patch at around 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s a notoriously “bad” time of day to shoot because the sun is still really bright, but lower in the sky, creating deep shadows, too much contrast, and it makes people squint if you try to eliminate shadows and have your subject face the sun.

Enter the flash. 

Sunflower photo no flash

It’s an okay shot, but the flower looks dark and sad.

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