Tips for a better work-life balance

A little while ago, I was asked to write a short piece on ‘Tips for a better work-life balance for accountants’.  My eldest, idly glancing away from his Xbox screen snorted “tips for a better work-life for accountants? Yeah, don’t be an accountant!”.

“Very funny son” I responded, “but to be honest, I love being an accountant”.  I didn’t wait to hear his response, but instead, headed to my desk and penned a few thoughts.  Whether or not the piece made it to the press, I do not know, but having read it again, it seemed to me to apply to many different vocations and not just the exciting world of accountancy.  I therefore thought I would share it:

Delegation.  Get a well trained team around you, and delegate the work wherever and whenever possible.  Ensure though that you allow those to whom you delegate the freedom to take ownership of the task and report back within an agreed timescale without any unnecessary interference from you.

Manage Customer Expectations.  Give realistic timescales.  Let customers know when you will be able to complete the piece of work and stick to it.

Diary Management.  Allow time in your diary to complete work that, inevitably, follows on from a client meeting.

Admin Tasks.  If these cannot be delegated, book time in your diary to deal with them and stick to it.

Educate Customers.  If you can, educate your customers to work more efficiently with you.  For example, for the accounting profession, not all tax returns have to wait until January.  Schedule non urgent work for times when you are generally quieter.

Just Say No!  If you cannot do something within a requested timescale and you cannot delegate it, then, politely refuse the instruction.

“Me Time”.  Block out time in the diary for yourself and/or family and treat this as though it is a meeting with a customer, ie. do not cancel it!

Holidays.  Avoid working on holidays.  We all need time to recharge the batteries.  If you have to work, set specific times when you will be available and when you will not.

Perhaps, though, the real secret is this.  Sell unruly teenagers that make derogatory comments about accountants.  Not only may you get a better work-life balance, you will also get control of the TV remote!

Article written by Steve Hale