October 2018 Update: Work-Life Balance


I’ve been thinking about the concept of work-life balance. For a lot of people who work in the anime industry, it’s non-existent, and not just because they work for punishingly long hours. Many people get into anime because it’s a vocation, so they’re okay with making it their entire lives. Even when they’re off the job, they’re still thinking about anime.

If you’re a freelancer, the flexibility of your schedule can compound this tendency even further. You can’t finish your overtime work and walk out the office door as you hear your colleagues say “otsukaresama desu!” behind you and know, finally, that work for the day is done. If you’re really passionate about what you do and a freelancer, chances are you’re a workaholic. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

This month, I took around two weeks off work to visit the UK. Originally, I was only going to go there for Scotland Loves Anime because of work, but I’m really glad I extended the trip and decided to do no writing in the UK at all. I don’t get paid enough to have anime on the brain all the time. Of course, it did mean that I’ve had a lot of work to do ever since getting back, but it’s been worth it.

My readers: If you work in the kind of job where you have to take a lot of business trips, how much time do you get for yourself? And when do you decide that it’s time for a break?

Also, freelancers: I hope you’re reflecting on the amount of work you do! Don’t be afraid to charge more for your work if your hourly earnings aren’t up to snuff!

This blog post is getting preachy but that’s only because I have to drum these lessons into my brain, too. Next month, I’ll start working longer hours, and I’ll make sure to actually sit down and schedule my hours to make sure that I don’t accidentally work more hours than I’m supposed to. “Wait, you weren’t doing that already?” you might ask, to which I have nothing to say but “Tehehe!”


Further evidence that I am stupid when it comes to managing my time: I was at Dengeki Bunko’s Fall Festival reporting on this story about Sword Art Online‘s new Twitter marketing campaign the night before my early-morning flight to England. Thank god Lynzee offered to write the article itself.

It’s not just about me, though. I’m one of the milder cases. As anime becomes more global, in terms of both consumption and production, the issues around Japanese work culture can no longer be swept under the rug. I’ve gotten into a habit of asking creators about it whenever I prepare interview questions. That’s something to look forward to in interviews published in the coming months!

But for now, here’s the refreshingly short list of articles I wrote this month:

My Hero Academia Exhibit Takes You Through the Anime Locations

Voice Actors: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is a ‘Success Story’

Attack on Titan Voice Actor Yuuki Kaji Will Give You Beauty Advice via Smart Mirror

Interview: Sohei Niikawa, Writer and Producer of Disgaea

Modern Teen Japanese Dictionary Explains Latest Slang, Adds Gender-Inclusive Language

Anime Tourism Association Announces Top 88 Pilgrimage Sites for 2019

For further reading about work-life balance on this blog, I previously covered this topic in a Hisone and Masotan post.


Posted on October 31, 2018, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I didnt realize it took that much time/or work to generate articles that can be read in like two to five minutes, though I guess I underestimate the time people do to write anime related articles.

    • It depends! Certainly, you have you factor in how much time it takes to read and summarise sources, but for me it’s different for every article that I write. How much time do you think it should take to write a 500-word article?

  2. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about work-life balance recently as well, mostly because I’ve been freelancing on top of my regular job for about a year now and know very well that I sometimes do more work than is probably good for me. It’s a tough balance to find though – sure, I don’t ‘have’ to do freelancing work in that I have no obligations unless I formally accept a contract, but I also find it very difficult to turn an offer of work down. This means I’ve frequently been getting home around 5pm, immediately switching on my computer, and working again until bed time.

    • One thing I like to tell freelancers is “You won’t lose work because you turn down an offer.” If you never turn down an offer, it’s more likely that you’ll take on more jobs than you can manage, fail to complete the work to the standard that’s expected of you, and then lose clients that way. So it’s better to pick and choose what’s manageable for you.

  3. Ryan Dave Jimenez

    I work from home. And it definitely has its pros and cons. One huge con is that you never really get separation from work. Since you combined your house and your job. The temptation to work from the time you wake up to the time you sleep is always there.

    But over the years I’ve gotten used to sticking to a routine. I have hours for work and hours for a life. This works for me as I like routines (flexible ones not rigid ones).

    • Same. I feel like I’ve been more productive now that I’ve set specific work hours. Turns out the reason the typical work shift is 9 to 5 is because those are the hours where you’re most productive during the day, and you get to relax during the evenings.

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