The dream is to be satisfied with your career and happy with your life outside of work. The problem is that it can be difficult to turn that dream into reality.
Finding that balance between work and life is like walking a tight rope. The second you lose balance, you’ll crash to the ground, burned out and unhappy.
We’re here to help you walk a straighter line, to balance work and life without sacrificing one for the other. In this blog, learn whether you are being overworked, the consequences of overworking, and what you can do to improve your work-life balance. We’ll also examine the rapidly-changing perception of work-life balance in the accounting industry.
You may be asking, “How do I know if I’m being overworked?” The first step is to find out whether a healthy work-life balance is something you’re struggling to maintain. After all, you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken!
It’s not always obvious if you’re already accustomed to overworking. If you’re uncertain whether overworking is actually just your normal routine, you’ll need to take a step back to reflect on your daily schedule and your company’s work policies.
Run through the following list to help you answer this question.
If you find yourself answering yes to many of the above questions, it may be because you’re overworked.
Even if you’re not currently feeling the strain of being overworked, it is important to watch out for the common causes of a poor work-life balance.
It’s no surprise that these factors are typical for professionals working in the accounting industry, and the consequences can be significant. Often, the result is that accountants feel like they’re juggling too much at once. When that happens, something is bound to drop.
Constantly overworking leads to an unhealthy imbalance of work and life. Common consequences of overworking are:
Take some time to check in with yourself to see whether overworking has had any of these effects on you. If you discover that you’re overworked, we’re here to help you turn things around!
Juggling everything can be tough, but the ball is in your court! There are many things you can do to improve your work-life balance without waiting on company policies to change. Start small, and you’ll soon notice the scale start tipping toward the middle; creating a healthier balance between your work and life.
Apply these tips to get you back on track toward a healthy work-life balance:
Raise your hand if you have 1,000 tasks on your to-do list. Don’t worry, we won’t ask you to throw out your list. Instead, break your tasks up into categories that allow you to see what’s urgent and important. If the task is neither urgent nor important, move it to the bottom of the list.
Determine what you want your day to look like by scheduling work hours that will still accommodate life outside of the job. As much as possible, don’t let these work hours budge! Set an alarm if you need to in order to remind yourself that it’s time to clock out of work. You can get easily sucked into working longer hours if you make it a habit to stay later than the schedule you set for yourself.
You’re not a robot; you need to eat, drink, sleep, stretch, and refuel. It’s easy to let the workday carry you away without taking enough breaks to let your mind and body breathe and recharge. If you don’t make time for breaks, you may find that a few days, weeks, or a busy season has turn into an entire year of overworking.
Don’t wait until you have to take time off for when you’re actually sick. Make time now to practice preventing illnesses. It may be important to make appointments so that self-care feels as important as other tasks, so add them to your calendar well in advance if you just can’t find them time.
It is easy to focus on relaxing your body without giving your mind the time and attention it needs.
Take time each month to nurture your social life, which will also nurture your mental health.
You’re not a robot, you’re human, and humans are not meant to be perfect. You are your harshest critic.
Earn your CMA certification for more opportunities to reach your career goals sooner. The CMA certification not only offers increased pay, but respondents in the IMA Global Salary Survey Report reported higher job satisfaction, less working hours, and more career opportunities—benefits that lead to a better work-life balance.
After you tackle the small changes within your control, you can move onto finding bigger ways to improve your work-life balance by discussing the topic with your employer.
Discussing being overworked with teammates or management is often a difficult conversation to have. Keep the following in mind when it comes to speaking up:
NOTE: If you think that management is unaware of the working conditions, it might be worthwhile to mention something. In addition, be aware that it is easy for temporary workloads to become permanent. If you find your busy season continuously spanning 2-3 months, it is probably worth saying something.
Organizations have many options for improving work-life balance. Check out some of the more common options many companies have begun to adopt:
As new accountants join the workforce, priorities are shifting. Journal of Accountancy provides data to show how the percentage of accountants’ priorities are increasing to focus more on family time and a little less on time striving to compete for things like higher wages. That doesn’t mean their careers are not important. They’re just not the most important item on the list.
Fortunately, many companies have opened their eyes to the work-life balance problem. They’re working to find different avenues to implement a more satisfying accounting career.
Check out some examples of what companies are doing to improve their work-life balance for employees.
As an aspiring accountant, you may feel nervous about experiencing the struggle with work-life balance, but we encourage you to be optimistic and jump in with both feet. You can still put your best foot forward at work while enjoying a satisfying life outside of work.
You just need to create opportunities for yourself to manage workflow and everything else. One way to accomplish this is to earn the Certified Management Accounting (CMA) certification. The CMA will bring you career benefits, such as career advancement, increased earning potential, and higher credibility and status. These benefits provide more meaning to your professional and personal life, which is why many CMA respondents report high job satisfaction.
We’re here to help you get on the right path to an exciting and fulfilling CMA journey. Get all the details about the CMA exam process in our free CMA Exam Guide.