American author, salesman, and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said “I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.”
There is a very good chance that he is talking about work-life balance. While not all successful entrepreneurs believe in this concept, we can safely assume that Ziglar is among those who, at the very least, recognise the importance of striking a balance in one’s professional and personal life.
Are your professional and work life balanced?
More and more accountants are falling into the workaholic trap. Accountants Daily reported that there’s an increasing number of professionals who are clocking in unreasonable hours especially during peak lodgement times.
In the article, Robert Half APAC senior director Nicole Gorton said accountants who work too much are not only susceptible to fatigue and exhaustion but are those who can deliver results initially, but won’t be effective for the long term.
“Accountants can be under enormous pressure during peak periods on the business calendar, and with increased workload combined with tighter deadlines, sometimes the work does sneak up on you and the temptation to become a workaholic is greater,” she said.
This hyper work ethic can lead to burnout, which can have tremendous health repercussions. The impact of working too hard can stifle professional growth, which is why it is vital for accountants (and other professionals) to be conscious of the hours they spend at work.
This is where work-life balance comes in
The advent of technology has blurred the lines that separate work and personal lives of many professionals. While its meaning differs with each individual (someone who’s married will have a different view than a single professional) the concept is simple: accomplish work without compromising life’s simple pleasures.
It is essential to strike a balance, or at the very least, ensure that the other aspects of your life don’t suffer. That means making a conscious effort to spend time with family, hang out with friends, or engage in leisure activities.
The struggle is real, however.
And it’s been happening for quite a while now. Since 2010, both Gen X and millennials have been experiencing difficulties achieving work-life balance. This can be attributed to various factors like stagnant salaries, increasing work hours, rising expenses, and more responsibilities at work and home.
So how do you know if you’re in dire need of a balance check? These signs might help.
You are out of shape
Your workspace is disorganised
You can’t accommodate friends
You stay at the office for extended periods
You don’t have a social life anymore
You don’t get excited by any activity other than work
You have problems sleeping
You lose your cool easily
If you’re wrestling with the idea of cutting back on the hours you spend at work and allocating more on yourself, here are some useful tips:
Clock out. During the 18th century, people worked as many as 16 hours each day and when Ford Motors decided to slash work hours to just 8 almost a century later, work productivity increased. This shows you don’t have to stay in the office longer than necessary to be productive. In fact, you’re only productive for around three hours a day.
Set boundaries. Being firm on what you can, can’t and are willing to do is important in ensuring your time is utilised well because this keeps you from working on tasks that won’t contribute to your and the company’s growth. It would help to sit down with your boss and discuss your expectations from each other like taking calls and answering emails after work hours and overtime work.
Life is not a marathon so take your time. You’re more likely to lose focus if you’re rushing. You’ll be distracted and lose concentration, therefore unable to efficiently finish a task.
Prioritise your time
Time is non-renewable. If you don’t carefully select the tasks you spend your time on, you’re going to suffer. Conduct a brief assessment and figure out which times during the day you’re most productive.
Ponder on this: your time is too valuable to squander on meaningless activities.
These days when people are connected all the time, it’s difficult to fully concentrate on relaxing activities when you’re constantly bombarded by social media notifications and emails. It’s smart to unplug for a while and shut off completely.
Another benefit of disconnecting is it helps the brain figure out the solutions to your stucks. Been struggling with that catchphrase for your copy or a specific design for an artwork? You’d be surprised at how the brain comes up with the answers when it’s on downtime.
Get more sleep
Juggling work and life becomes even more difficult when you’re not well rested. The lack of sleep is associated with increased stress levels. It can also affect decision-making. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs like Ariana Huffington and Tony Schwartz are advocates of getting enough sleep for better productivity.
Self-care is essential in ensuring you’re at your best. You can’t run on an empty tank so make sure that you recharge by spending time on soul-enriching activities. Exercise will improve your health the same way meditation can boost your happiness levels.
Enjoy the company of colleagues
The people you work with will play an important role in maintaining the right mindset to enjoy work. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior showed that people’s feelings toward their co-workers influence job satisfaction and life in general. Consequently, job satisfaction makes employees more committed and perform better.
Include your family in all decisions that involve work
Getting your family involved is one important step in striking that work-life balance because they’re the ones most affected by how you manage your time. Communicating your needs and expectations should make scheduling activities easier.
The bottom line here is you’ll eventually come to a point where juggling both life and work becomes a struggle. While we may not completely have it all, it is possible to enjoy certain aspects at the same time. It boils down to how you prioritise and manage your time. Work-life balance should essentially lead to a healthier, happier, and balanced you.
Ease the burden on your accountants and help them enjoy work-life balance by outsourcing. Discover ways to increase your firm’s capacity by getting in touch with our local outsourcing experts for a free consultation or call us today at 1300 896 522.