Feeling down? It might be time to stop
Are you feeling beaten up, tired, lacking in energy, or overwhelmed? Perhaps, your winter blues are a result of overdoing it and not looking after yourself, writes Kevin Whitehouse. If this sounds familiar then it's time you do something about it.
If you're feeling downtrodden, your solution might be to keep going, plough on through because it will be alright but, often it’s not. It can be a roller coaster of emotional struggle and pain. The danger is when you look around you, it appears everyone is doing the same. It just becomes normalised.
If you spend all your time doing and not enough time thinking, what happens? You create more work for yourself. And you have even less time to think.
Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?
Most of us think, “If I work hard enough and fast enough and get all my tasks completed, then I’ll have time to think and plan and create and generate ideas”. No, it doesn’t work that way.You must make time to think, plan, and create or it will never happen.
One of the most important changes I made when running my practice was to stop. It sounds really simple, but taking time out to stop and think about what you are doing is not easy, because yet another email interrupts you, another phone call, then that piece of paper needs to be scanned, that document needs looking at, those figures need amending.
In almost 30 years of running my own practice, I have never once sat at my desk and said to myself, “I have literally nothing to do”.
So when I say stop, I really mean stop what you normally do and take time away from your normal distractions and use that time to really think about what it is you do, what you have done and what you plan to do next.
It’s one of the reasons we regularly take some of our clients to luxury hotels for a few days. It forces them to step away from the day to day distractions, including home life. They literally immerse themselves in a place where they don’t have to think about anything but themselves. Then, with the right questions, we help them identify what it is they really are trying to achieve.
I’m pretty sure your goal in life is not to answer the next one million emails within one hour of them arriving. That would be a pretty dull goal, yet many seem to be focused every day on trying to achieve this.
In today’s modern times, we have more and better technology than ever before, yet most are working harder, are more stressed and worrying even more than ever, and this comes down to not making time to stop and think. Some confuse this with taking a holiday. That is not taking time out to think. Sure, it helps you to rest and gives you something else to think about.
However, when you stop to think about your career or your business, you need to take a proper long look at everything, take time to analyse what you have done and apply the 80:20 principle. If 20% of causes will give us 80% of our results, most of what we do is pretty irrelevant, right?
Look at it this way, I suspect 80% of your profits are coming from about 20% of your clients, and I also suspect 80% of all your problems will come from a different 20% of your clients. Probably, 20% of your time input is really generating 80% of your happiness around what you do.
What if you took a proper look at everything? What would you do if you took a 20% pay cut for 80% of your time back? Would you do it? How much more productive would you be if you could get rid of 80% of your interruptions?
As an accountant, you have the skills to analyse the data you have in your own business and career. You have the tools.
Why not stop everything, take a few days to rest and recharge your batteries, eat well, drink well, do some exercise and then go sit with a notepad, some spreadsheets and literally do what you do for your clients and look deep into all your numbers and figure out what really is working. When you discover what’s not working, make a bold decision to change or stop doing it.
These feelings of overwhelm, feeling downtrodden, beaten up and tired are the effects of doing a whole bunch of things that quite frankly you don’t need to be doing.
You have one life, don’t waste it working with people you don’t enjoy working with and doing tasks you either don’t need to do or don’t enjoy.
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Kevin Whitehouse has run his accountancy firm Prime Entry since 1991 and is now also mentoring other accountants on how to run their practice with less stress, more profits and if they want, less time...