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Carpé the Heck Out of Every Diem

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Let’s be honest, many Americans live for the weekend, but why?

For many of us, our schedules get filled, and our “free-time” gets shoved  into 2 days of the week. Talk about pressure! Few have the time to accomplish everything they need to do within those hours let alone what  they want to do!

And accounting is no exception. It is not an easy line of work. It is mentally exhausting and requires an unyielding attention to detail. After doing a full week of accounting work, staying awake is difficult enough, and so most of the things we want to do get pushed aside.

If you feel some imbalance between your work and personal life, the following three tips will help you carpé the heck out of every freakin’ diem.

INVEST IN YOUR WELL-BEING

We’ve all got things to do, but how do we make the time?  The days are long and most of our free time is forced into a few hours after a long day, during which most of us resort to a vegetative state. Paradoxically, maybe the reason we are so tired all the time isn’t because we are working too hard, but because we aren’t working enough.  

Numerous studies, blogs, and fitness gurus tell of the physical benefits that exercising before work offers, such as raising alertness, kick starting the metabolism, and stress relief. Aside from improving our general physical health, there are significant mental benefits as well. Being active before work puts us in the driver’s seat, boosts confidence, and refreshes the mind.

But it’s common to bring work home. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it means we care about what we do, but as the year ends and we prep for tax season, ignoring our mental and physical health will only make our lives harder as doing so reduces our concentration, our motivation, and our efficiency.

The key to preparing for the busy seasons of life and work is finding the balance of caring equally about ourselves.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

My hobby is surfing. People frequently tell me they wish they had the “free-time” I have to go surfing. What these individuals don’t recognize is the effort I put into making my hobby an everyday activity.

When a hobby brings joy, work hard to make time for it. For me, that means planning ahead by packing up my work clothes, toiletries, a portable shower, and my pre-cooked breakfast and lunch. It means a 5am alarm, getting to the beach before sunrise, surfing in occasionally cold and dark conditions, and defrosting hands with the car heater after a session. Why bother?  To me, there’s nothing better than doing what I love. Being able to start my day doing something I’m passionate about significantly improves my attitude at work and my interactions with colleagues and clients.

And frankly, sometimes the biggest change we need to make to how we respond  difficult situations in the accounting world is our attitude.

RECHARGE

Finding what best rejuvenates us can be tricky. It took me years to realize that I was an introvert, meaning I recharge by being alone as opposed to extroverts who recharge in the company of others.  Regardless, rest is vital to a good day – even if we feel tired, overworked, as if there is no way to recuperate, we can still make the effort to.

Rest is not laziness, sluggishness, or a lack of motivation.  Rest is preparing yourself to be the best you can be. I find rest in hikes, cooking, or doing anything outside. Rest can look different for everyone, so we have to identify how we best recharge individually and then commit to doing so. Rest should be just as important as a doctor’s appointment.  Without rest, our job performance will suffer, we will not be motivated to exercise, and we definitely will not want to do endless streams of data entry or review.

THE SHORT

Work is important, but living life is more important. We work so we can live, we don’t live so we can work.. Investing in our personal well-being, doing what we love, and knowing when we need to recharge will help us be the best friend, spouse, enthusiast, and accountant we can possibly be.