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Design by Eugene Good; event photos by Ryan Magsino

RuNT. A New Normal Recap

Written By Molly Wiley | Mar 24, 2020

There’s no bad time to look at how we balance our lives with work, but there are events that demand we stop to take stock. Maybe we create a new human or gain direct reports or have a thriving project outside our day job; how the hell do we maintain our efficiency with any number of new responsibilities?

Work is an important part of our lives, and all of us should be regularly questioning how these two – work and life – function together.

To help you make the time to do just that, we brought together three speakers, each discussing a big life change that helped them find balance, efficiency, and a renewed appreciation for the value they get from both professional and private success.

At this RuNT event, our amazing speakers were:
Natalie Armendariz, Partner and Design Director at Funsize
Stu Smith, Creative Director and Product Designer at Atlassian / Trello
Adam Butler, Founder and Strategic Chief at The Butler Brothers

Natalie Armendariz

Natalie and her husband wanted to start a company that leads with balance first. They vowed to never work weekends or late nights, and to structure their client engagements around that. They wanted to create an atmosphere where people are comfortable being themselves.

Natalie gave us a few main points to walk away with:

  1. Find the right ratio: rather than looking at life as a “balance”, she says she likes the word “harmony” between everything in your life
  2. Make a list of priorities: be specific about how you want to spend your time
  3. Knowing it’s constantly a work in progress: once you figure out how to manage everything, be prepared to figure it out all over again
  4. Say ‘no’ more often
  5. Manage guilt: find ways to silence the critics in your head
  6. Build a support system: build a balance of people to provide different perspectives
  7. Do small things to quickly recharge: lunch manicure, anyone?

Natalie has created such an amazing culture at Funsize and has done a great job balancing her booming career with her family and personal life.

Stu Smith

Stu owned his own design shop in Austin in 2011, called Sputnik. He filled his days with family, work, playing in a band, and spending time with friends. And then in 2012 he became a dad! And just like that, things changed for him. The balance shifted and he had to reorganize where he spent his time and commitments. Stu said, “Work doesn’t stop when life changes.” And this wasn’t just about being a parent. There were other major things that happened in his life, but he had to make sure he kept showing up and being present.

So, he embraced learning to say “no”. It’s okay to turn things down, professionally and personally, or you’ll never find that balance that will feel right and make you happy. It’s important to take the time to invest in yourself, and Stu brought up amazing points about mental health and therapy, and how it’s an amazing change that it’s finally being talked about in our industry.

Today, Stu works remotely with Trello, out of a transformed office space Airstream in his backyard. He kept thinking about what he was trading in life by being in an office every day. Now, Stu has three kids, and has found his balance of career and personal life… and a shorter commute.

Adam Butler

Adam is one of the brothers at Butler Bros, gave us an amazing presentation on how “balance is a design challenge.” He taught us about the history of Butler Bros, and how their company mantras of “Get Home For Dinner” or “Mean It Without Being Mean” came from life lessons they were taught by their father growing up.

One of our favorite takeaways from his presentation was, “Design your week. Don’t let your week design you.” And… duh! How simple! If you don’t want to work on the weekends, for example, don’t schedule a meeting for Monday morning. There’s a way to find that balance in an organic way.

Adam has started incorporating phrases into his company such as “I like, I wish, I WONDER…” especially when talking with clients. It creates a more positive energy around the communication style and creates more effective results.

All three speakers shared that their main work/life balance came from their growing families. But the knowledge they shared, and the values that they are instilling within their companies, is to find your balance, no matter what the reason is.

Massive thanks to our sponsors, as always. Brew & Brew, Via313, and Infinite Monkey Theorem Wine.

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