For Creatives, Work/Life Blend Is Here to Stay

Here's why you might want to embrace it

Building a company born in the digital age requires a certain level of commitment and accessibility beyond traditional working hours. In production and advertising, the schedules of my team and myself are demanding and fluctuating—we often have to travel for weeks for a commercial shoot—and I, like many others, quickly found it difficult to separate my work and personal life. As the founder of a production company, leaving work in the office and my personal life at the door is often virtually impossible. 

It might seem counterintuitive to some, but in leaning into what some may consider "millennial" work trends, I believe that blending my work life and personal life is not only more realistic, but often yields better results and greater satisfaction on both sides. Intertwining these worlds together helps keep me sane at work and provides me with the ability to share what I love to do with the people I care about the most. 

I've always been nontraditional when it comes to organizing the ins and outs of my day. Although the structure of a 9-to-5 job and its timeline of tasks may work for some people, those in creative advertising can attest that 1) our work is never finished, and 2) we can't force a creative process within a certain number of hours. That's part of why I allow my work schedule to be flexible—and accept a certain level of unpredictability. During those stretches of 24/7 commitment, choosing not to entirely ignore your personal life and needs can help you come out the other side more grounded, and ultimately more effective and sharp at work. 

One of my most recent projects was an Ethos commercial that brought me back to just outside my hometown in Massachusetts, somewhere I never thought I'd have the opportunity to shoot. When I was a kid, my dream was to produce and direct, which was the driving force behind leaving the East Coast and moving to L.A. Back in my hometown, I was able to bring my dream with me and demonstrate what I'd learned. I even brought my mother to set and let her see how my work gives me happiness. I had the rare and special opportunity to connect my work and personal life together, which makes the endless nights spent putting pitches together or stressful pre-pro mishaps worth it.

Maintaining a fluid presence between my work and personal lives works for me because idle time tends to be my worst enemy. I get antsy when I don't have anything to accomplish or check off. Knowing that I don't have the ability to "chill," I realize the way I feel at my best and most focused is when I maintain a full schedule. While I keep up with the ebbs and flows of my productivity requirements, I build in pockets of time within my packed schedule to do the things that satisfy me personally—working out, spending time with friends and family, traveling, seeing films.

Would I call letting my work and personal lives blend together a recommended philosophy for everyone? At the moment, it's more accurately just my state of being. Being able to function with that lifestyle really depends on the individual person; it makes sense to expect that some people won't operate at their peak performance while mixing their work and personal lives. Some would rather keep their work in their offices, take time at home, go on vacation, etc. For others, however—especially other creatives—structure can feel like the death of art. 

It's brutal at times, knowing you never shut off—even for someone like me, who doesn't like to shut off. But at this moment in my career and building my business, I can't put a time structure on creativity.

Raphael Leopold
Raphael Leopold is founder and executive producer of Rodeo Show.

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