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Balancing family and work with Alicja Colon in episode 4 of “Greater Than Avatars”

4 min read
Shayna Hodkin  •  May 28, 2019
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W orking from home sounds like a dream come true: naps when you need them, snacks when you want them, helping kids with homework when they come home from school.

That’s what paper illustrator, set designer, and photographer Alicja Colon expected when she quit agency life to open her own studio. Well, maybe not the naps and the snacks, but definitely more time for family. But she was in for a surprise.

Anyone who’s freelanced knows the stress of chasing your next paycheck. You’re never just a designer, an illustrator, or a writer—you’re also a marketer, an accountant, and your own personal assistant. The amount of work can feel overwhelming—and when compounded with the stress of raising children, it can be disastrous.

The trouble with working from home is honoring work-life balance, and Alicja’s not afraid to talk about that difficulty. As someone who’s openly willing to admit to their professional insecurities—something most, if not all of us, can identify with—she feels the pressure to always be working, even when she’s on-duty as a mom.

So how does she do it? Achieving the peace of mind that creative work demands isn’t simple. A morning routine, a regular exercise practice, and set work hours help—but it’s not always enough. Her candor about her struggles as a working freelance mom is something we so rarely hear, and, as a creative community, so desperately need to discuss.

Set in Savannah, Georgia, Dann Petty sat down with Alicja at her home office to talk about how she manages her family and her career—in the same house, at the same time.

They’ll be discussing:

  • The impact Alicja’s home office has on her workflow
  • How her kids interact with her new surroundings
  • The fitness routine that keeps her grounded
  • Her quality of life as a freelancer, as opposed to an agency designer

Watch it here:

Watch the full series on Dann Petty’s YouTube page or watch episode one featuring Matt D. Smith, episode two featuring Funsize, episode three featuring Simon and Moose on Inside Design.