Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about work-life balance. I’ve always been curious about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”

By the way, looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.

Today (January 23, 2018) is the four-year anniversary of The Balance Project Interview Series!! I can’t believe it. It started out as a small passion project and so much has come of it, including my second novel The Balance Project. To celebrate, I’m giving away four copies of The Balance Project novel (U.S. only) in conjunction with today’s interviewee, Andrea Peskind Katz of Great Thoughts’ Great Readers. Andrea is a true champion for authors (including me!) and an incredible cultivator of readers through her online salon, so I’m thrilled to feature her today and do the giveaway with her.

No. 167: Andrea Peskind Katz, Social Media Community Leader

Age: 52
Where I live: Dallas
Job: Social Media Community Leader
Kids: 16-year-old twin daughters

Have you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
I worked for a NY-based commercial real estate firm for 18 years selling office buildings. After running a large successful team and selling over $2 billion in properties, it was clear that I had little balance between my personal life and my professional life. I retired from this career to focus on what was most important, my husband and kids. My love of reading led me to create Greatthoughts.com and the online book salon, Great Thoughts’ Great Readers.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or impossible and why?
While I would like to believe it is possible and realistic, in practice it is not. In a professional career, you simply cannot schedule meetings and conference calls around ballet lessons and ear infections.

Do you prefer the phrase “work-life balance” or “work-life integration”? Or do you think they’re both terrible?
I prefer the term work-life balance, but, in reality, for most working moms it is work-life juggling.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I would like to do more professionally now but even with teens there is no clear-cut balance between work and home. And many of us are now in the sandwich generation so we are not only raising kids but also spending time with aging parents. This too eliminates balance.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I schedule workouts so they are on the calendar.

Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance that you would recommend to others?
When the piles on my desk are too high, I dump it all into a grocery bag. I then go into a different room and go through the bag. For some reason, this is much quicker and easier than simply going through the pile on my desk.

What’s the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor/co-worker? “Never lose sight of the beach.”
From your mother? “You can do anything you set your mind to.”
From your spouse/partner? “I support all of your decisions.”
From your kids? “Mom, you have a cool website.”

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
I would be reading!

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
To buy Apple stock!

What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
That the time I have spent with my girls is totally worth it!

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?

Whose job do you wish you had?
Oprah or Reese Witherspoon!

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
My accountant.

Favorite books?
Fiction: Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan and anything by Pam Jenoff.
Come to the Edge by Christina Haag.

What are you reading right now?
The Lost Family by Jenna Blum.

Biggest vices?
My iPad—huge time suck.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?

What do you read every morning?
The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal (#newsjunkie).

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: have a very happy life.
I wish I: lived closer to a beach.
My kids: are the most wondrous creatures in the world. To quote Hamilton, “How lucky I am to be alive right now.”

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“Use your words, ask for what you need.” I say this to my teens and to neurotic authors all the time.

About Andrea:
After 20 years in high pressure commercial real estate sales, I retired to spend time doing what I love—hanging with my family and reading good books. This led to my website, greatthoughts.com and my book salon on Facebook, Great Thoughts’ Great Readers.

Find out more about Andrea and Great Thoughts Great Readers:
greatthoughtsgreatreaders and gr8thoughts

Don’t forget to visit Andrea’s site to enter the giveaway to win a copy of The Balance Project novel. Enter here.


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