THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 89: Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, Founders of theSkimm

Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious—and maybe a little obsessed—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, the novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.
  • The Balance Project interview series recently celebrated its first birthday!
  • Fortune ran a feature about The Balance Project.
  • Want to be a part of The Balance Project? Complete the interview.

No. 89: Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, Founders of theSkimm

Age: Danielle, 28, and Carly, 29
Where we live:
 New York City
Job:  Co-Founders and Co-CEOs, theSkimm (daily email newsletter)

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Carly Zakin (L) and Danielle Weisberg (R)

Have you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
We originally changed jobs to start theSkimm because we wanted to have more of a focus on our career in a long-term sense. When we started theSkimm, we had zero work-life balance. We worked around the clock to get the company off the ground. And it was necessary. Although we still have crazy schedules, we have adjusted our schedules so that there are clear work and clear non-work times. It’s not easy but it’s necessary. The company won’t survive unless we are functioning people and to do that, we need to have perspective.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
We are big believers that you can have it ‘all’ — just maybe not at the same time. It’s hard to do everything and be everything to everyone at the same time without totally losing yourself.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
Time for ourselves is tough. We make time for family and time for friends — but we still have to remember to carve out time just to sit or to go for a walk alone.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
Valuing balance as part of our lives and acting on it.

Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance?
We live by our calendars and make sure to block out time in them for exercise and errands. We are both really particular about our inboxes and stop checking emails Friday afternoon. We’re back online Sunday afternoon.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor/co-worker?
Danielle: “Make the job work for you.”
Carly: “Stay focused on one thing at a time.”
From your mother?
Danielle: “You can have it all, just not at the same time.”
Carly: “Everything that has to get done will.”
From your spouse/partner?
Danielle: “Put the phone down!”
Carly: “Put the phone down!”

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?
Danielle: Sleeping.
Carly: Sleeping.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
Danielle: That it would work out.
Carly: That there is no set plan and surprises are okay.

What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
Danielle: That there’s a way to start a company and have a life.
Carly: How to take breaks.

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Danielle: Kitchen.
Carly: Cleaning of any kind.

Whose job do you wish you had?
Danielle: Anthony Bourdain’s.
Carly: Ina Garten’s.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Our moms’—tough job.

Favorite books?
Danielle: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.
Carly: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

What are you reading right now?
Danielle: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll and Then They Came For Me (now known as Rosewater) by Maziar Bahari.
Carly: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Biggest vices…
Activity?
Danielle:  Running.
Carly:  Running… to the store to buy and eat raw cookie dough.
Food?
Danielle: Pasta.
Carly: Chocolate.
Website?
Danielle:  Daily Mail.
Carly: Daily Mail.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
Danielle: In a row?
Carly: 6.

What do you read every morning?
Danielle: theSkimm.
Carly: theSkimm.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I:
Danielle: …need to go to bed.
Carly: …need to go to bed.
I wish I:
Danielle: …was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller…
Carly: …was on a beach

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“Everyday I’m hustlin’.” –Rick Ross

 

SKIMM_TMAbout Danielle and Carly:
(From their website…) Danielle and Carly are:
Two friends in our 20s, who hail from New York and Chicago.

Our startup romance is one for the books—we met on a rainy day in Rome while we were both studying abroad in college. We bonded over a mutual love of fried artichokes. What we didn’t know as we struggled to order in Italian, was that we’d reconnect years later working in our own country’s capital. By that point, we had become professional storytellers, as producers for NBC News—working in breaking news, political news, and documentaries. We clicked as colleagues, as friends, and as roommates, and it didn’t take long for theSkimm to take off from our living room couch.

News is not only our career, it’s our passion. Because of this, we have always been the go-to source for friends seeking the scoop on current events or breaking news. We soon realized three things: Reading the news is time consuming; Wanting to read the news is a hobby; lastly, not everyone has the time or interest.

In our spare time (which is rare) we can be found spooking each other with Law & Order: SVU marathons and trying to scheme our way into a free Equinox membership. For two girls who grew up more Morning Glory than The Social Network, it took a lot of guts, and white wine, for us to make theSkimm a reality.

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Find out more about theSkimm:
www.theSkimm.com
Twitter: @theskimm
Facebook: theskimm
Instagram: @theskimm
Pinterest: theskimm

WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? CHECK OUT MY NEW NOVEL THE BALANCE PROJECT!

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