How can we successfully divide our time and focus between work, family and leisure activities whilst staying in good health? Advanced technology, flexible schedules and the ability to work from any location has actually blurred the line between work and personal lives, making it harder for people to really switch off from their work – even when it’s in their best interest to do so.

In the accounting industry, it can be easy to work long hours and struggle to achieve the correct balance, either by choice or out of habit. If this is you, then it may be a good time to re-evaluate your priorities and put your well-being first. In this article, Halliday Marx discuss how you can achieve a healthier and improved balance where your work and life can co-exist in harmony.

Prioritise your time

For accounting talent, the industry has shifted towards a results orientated model, as opposed to the days where staying at your desk from 7.30am to 7pm just to be seen was the norm. This new way of working provides employees with the ability to work in their own way.

Your first step should be prioritising your most important tasks for the day, if you are unsure what these are, speak to your line manager. Once you have identified which tasks need to happen first, structure your day around them, then aim to manage similar work items together to create efficiency. You need to understand how much you can realistically achieve in your working week. A structured approach to your work will also help you to discuss an unrealistic workload with your line manager.

A healthy routine both in and out of the office will help to put self-care at the forefront of your priorities. When you are away from the office, try to organise your diary to just spend time with your family and friends, or do a hobby that you enjoy. Savouring and enjoying your free time can help you return to work healthier, happier and raring to go.

Eat well and exercise

It is vital that you get enough rest, eat a good diet and exercise regularly. Cancelling the gym is easy, but exercise should be given as much priority as your career. A healthy body means a healthy mind.

You can even put this into action at work. Going for a walk on your lunch break, getting some fresh air and treating yourself to a healthy meal to give your body fuel, can help re-energise you for the rest of the day. On your days off, try to completely disconnect from your work phone and emails, you need to create time free from distraction, where you can re-connect with important people that you haven’t seen in a while. It is important to take a break with an annual leave day to reset – not to go on holiday – but to stay at home with no distractions (children etc).

Have set work hours

To achieve sustainable work life balance, it is important to leave the office on time.

“We appreciate that there will always be scenarios where an exceptionally high volume of work, or the need to work late cannot be avoided, but when this habit becomes the norm, it is paramount you take a step back and consider a more sustainable, healthier way forward” added John Marx, Director, Halliday Marx.

Research shows that the more hours you put in at the office, the less productive you will be. Get into the habit by setting yourself one or two days where you aim to go home on time. Try to avoid unnecessary meetings and prioritise your tasks. Making the most of your time means you’ll get more done in an hour than you usually would when flitting between multiple tasks.

“Accounting and finance professionals are especially at risk during peak times around month-end and annual budgeting, whilst deadlines are important, your well-being should also be a priority, for both the employee and their line-manager”, adds Andy Halliday, Director, Halliday Marx. “Leaving the office at a reasonable hour can actually counteract stress and put you in a better state of mind to accomplish goals and meet deadlines”.

Flexible hours

Working long hours can sometimes interfere with your personal downtime and time spent with family. When work becomes too much, looking into cutting back or moving hours around can be a good option, giving you the ability to start at a better time or finish earlier in the day. Talk to your manager to determine the changes that may be possible to avoid any further impact to your stress levels. Perhaps changing the length or pattern of your hours worked. Can you work from a different location and reduce your commute? More information on working arrangements can be found at www.gov.uk/pay-and-work-rights.

If flexibility is not an option with your current employer, then you might want to look at other alternatives. At Halliday Marx we’re committed to finding the role that best fits the needs of all of our candidates, we have a range of great opportunities, both interim and permanent that might cater to your situation and work/life balance.

Summary

Work is an important part of life, but the correct balance between work and our personal lives is paramount for good health and long-term success. Take steps to manage a workaholic mindset and you’ll soon see improvements to both your personal well-being and work performance.

If you feel concerned about your work life balance and would like to discuss your options, call us on 020 7096 8200, or write to us at info@hallidaymarx.com

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