Millennial accountant Georgia Duffee explains why it is important to prioritise your work-life balance.
A few years into my career, without realising it, I had severely neglected my work-life balance. I was working six-day weeks, spending no time with myself or my family as my day off was spent completing household duties which had built up during the week.
I was very tired and despite spending six days at work, my output was probably not very productive at all. I watched my boss in his office, sighing, sorting problems, hunching over his desk every day. Occasionally his wife brought the kids in so they could see each other as he might not have finished work before they went to bed.
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Then it hit me - I didn’t want his life. I didn’t want to grow old in that office chair, feeling the exhaustion I did, watching my family age and not have spent any time with them, watching my body grow out of shape and hunched over the computer.
The unhappiness lingered for nearly a year, and eventually I was signed off from work for two weeks to think about things and recover from ‘burn out’. In that time I searched for flexible work using a recruitment website specifically for part-time professional jobs.
To my surprise, there was an ideal role: three days a week (of my choice) and the same salary as I was on before, self-employed, and working from 10:30am - 6pm.
The office environment was so much more relaxed. I wasn’t as tired, I wore more comfortable clothes, I felt much better in myself, and my work output was a lot higher.
On my days off I enjoyed the sunshine and made regular arrangements with my loved ones, as well as planning the blueprint for my own business which would radiate the ethos of working to live, and not living to work.
Then in 2016, when I was 21, I saw an opportunity in the industry presented by Making Tax Digital and took the “leap of faith” and my firm Benedetto Accounts & Tax was born.
The importance of flexible working
Since starting my accountancy firm I've learned that in order to look forward to work, you need to feel like you have spent sufficient time on the other equally, if not more important sectors of your life; family, relationships, personal development, self-care, rest, and more.
If you have not spent sufficient time enjoying these other sectors, regularly, then your life is significantly imbalanced and unless you act on this, you will go through your whole career living an unbalanced and consequently dissatisfied life – which is very easy to do when you strive for success.
However, the irony is that the way people get successful is by prioritising and maintaining balance through time management.
Flexible working allows you to manage your time. If you can choose your hours of work, then it is easier to plan for the other important areas of your life.
Tips for work-life balance
So how else can you strike that balance? Here are some tips I’ve learned and applied to my practice life:
- Eat right at least once a day, drink plenty of water and snack on fruit or healthier snacks. Your wellbeing will improve significantly with this small choice.
- Sleep enough, without enough sleep you will be less productive when you’re at work.
- Find a way to deal with your daily stress in an effective way. A favourite stress reliever for many successful people is meditation. It is very important you have a “go-to” stress reliever so you are able to switch off and enjoy your balanced lifestyle.
- Ensure you regularly spend time with the people you care most about. Sadly, something which people sacrifice first for work is spending time with friends or family. You cannot overstate how important time with loved ones is to your happiness and overall performance in all sectors of your life.
- Also, etch out time to spend with yourself, this does not necessarily have to be hours but just 20 minutes a day, by yourself, enjoying your own company - perhaps in the bath, in solitude before bed or by going for a walk. This is imperative to your mental health and overall wellbeing.