We had the good fortune of connecting with Barrett Lewis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Barrett, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work/life balance has to be one of the most difficult things to achieve, especially in a society that doesn’t seem to clearly share a consensus on what that actually means. The current pandemic is blurring that line even more, and I can only imagine the challenge that working parents, especially single parents, are facing. I have definitely burned myself out in the past, and more than once. Being in the creative field I’ve learned that creativity doesn’t happen between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, M-F. It’s random and often inconvenient. It’s also persistent when you care about the project you are working on, so not being able to sleep at night because your mind is occupied with work is all too common. It becomes a question of health after a while. Staying up late, or even all night, is not sustainable. Saturating ourselves in psychoactive substances like caffeine or false energizers like sugar in order to put those long hours in only makes us scattered, foggy, and anxious. Skipping the gym or that morning run, not walking the dog, not taking the time to cook, and eating what’s fast or convenient instead really starts wearing down the whole system. Many people end the day with alcohol to try and mitigate high-stress levels or try and fall asleep. I know, because I’ve been there. What I’ve learned is that in order to become more balanced, I have to be better at taking good care of myself. This means making health a priority. Going to the gym isn’t a hobby, it’s a requirement. Eating well isn’t a temporary diet, it’s a lifestyle choice (one that requires the entire household to be on board with). If I have to really book it on a project I get up early instead of staying up late because I’ve found that my brain works better at 3 or 4 am after at least a few hours of sleep. Lastly, I give myself time to unpack the day by staring out of a window and letting my mind wander. if I do this before the end of the night, my brain won’t be as active when I’m trying to fall asleep.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
One thing I think people find interesting is that I’m both a creative director and a composer. Somehow I’ve managed to arrive at a place in my career where I get to employ both of these skills professionally, and I couldn’t be more grateful. My entire family warned me early in life that becoming an “artist” for a living wasn’t going to yield success, and the same was true for becoming a musician. Thankfully, I didn’t listen! I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller. Art, film, games, animation, visual effects, design, and music are all interrelated to me, and they are all impeccable tools in crafting stories.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Explore the fine arts! Go to the Dallas Museum of Fine Art, The Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Also check out some live performances from the finest musicians in the world, including the Dallas Symphony at the Meyerson, and the more elusive jazz sets at local bars and restaurants.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I give all the credit to my wife, Casey. I wouldn’t be anywhere close to having the capacity for productivity and work/life balance if not for her. She is a naturopath and understands health more than anyone I’ve ever met, and therefore has an insanely accurate radar for things like elevated stress levels, mineral deficiencies, and what I call “emotional scar tissue”. Casey reminds me when I need to take a break, eat a live fruit or vegetable, or sit in the sun for a few minutes. She understands when my job demands my time, and instead of complaining that I’m working too much, she helps me shift my perspective to enthusiasm and excitement. If all else fails, she’ll simply remind me of the power of a good ol’ nap.