Evi O is an award-winning designer and self-taught artist, most renowned for her abstract paintings and book design. She is juggling multiple projects while managing a buzzing design studio.
We sat down with Evi to talk about how she achieves work life balance, and the tools she uses to get organised.
There are a lot of heated discussions about work/life balance amongst creatives. Do you believe it even exists?
Great question! I believe it exists, but the forms are different for everyone. To me it’s about clear separation of work and life mode, and being present in the moment. It’s not about having strict allocated time for either, as often work or life spill over and you need to give time to mend. It’s about having good quality of work life and personal life, which leads to contentment and happiness. Then I know I’ve got balance.
What are your biggest barriers when it comes to balancing work and life?
Being good at saying no. It’s been a conscious exercise to not feel bad and guilty about not being able to take on a project, not going out to multiple social happenings in a day, or simply wanting to do all personal ideas at once.
What sort of tools do you use to help you achieve that balance?
My dog Henri, a manual hand-written calendar and a digital google calendar. I think having kind reminders of how the day is tracking time-wise is important. The hand-written calendar helps me map my months, as I can scan and plan at a glance. The digital calendar is responsible to make sure nothing clashes or over-committed or forgotten on daily basis. My dog Henri is a live alarm signifying a good morning walk to start the day, few little breaks in between long hauls of work mode, and an effective pet therapy when things feel wiry!
How do you get the most out of your day?
I start the day slowly but early, a morning walk and coffee before studio time makes me feel calm, not rushed, and have a clear head for a busy day ahead. We are a small, buzzing design studio and everyday is a surprise so you have to embrace flexibility. Daily I will limit myself to 1-2 big goals and try my best to achieve so, and let the goal progresses around fluttering emails, phone calls and meetings.
What do you do when you are stuck in a creative rut?
If I’m painting, I will have a break from it, work on other things and come back. In the studio however, we tend to have a quick opinion session where everyone hovers around the screen and brainstorm.
Any advice for people still trying to find their work/life balance?
It’s kinda like Marie Kondo’s wardrobe tips, minimise, tidy them up standing so you can see everything, categorise and compartmentalise.