By Amy Vetter, CPA and Keynote Speaker
Learn how cultivating more “me time” can make you more productive by joining our webinar on Wednesday, August 23, at 12 p.m. MT with work-life balance author and keynote speaker, Amy Vetter. Get a sneak peek on the topic by watching her TEDx Talk, “Disconnect to Connect: The Path to Work-Life Harmony.”
Americans work a lot — that’s no secret. In fact, we work more than most other countries. According to the results of a 2016 study by researchers in the U.S., Canada, and Germany, the average European works 19 percent less than the average American. That’s about 258 fewer hours per year.
But does all this work make us more productive? And at what point do we start to experience the “law of diminishing returns,” the point in which extra work does not create a better outcome? Mounting evidence shows that working more than 40 hours a week will make you unproductive.
For many of us in the accounting profession, especially for those of us with our own firms, it’s easy to overwork without even realizing it. We think if we work one more hour, take one more client call, or finish one more project, we’ll be more successful or our businesses will catapult into a new level of success.
What usually happens, though, is we hit diminishing returns and have zero semblance of a work-life balance. We aren’t as fresh, we aren’t as visionary, and we create stress for those around us because of it.
I struggled with this endless work cycle myself. When I began my first accounting practice, my children were young, and I didn’t have any other staff working for me. The hard thing about having a business that depended on me was that I often tried to do everything.
I would work with my clients all day long and then go home, eat dinner with my family, put my children to bed, and then get back on my computer to pay the bills, invoice customers, and balance the books. I’d go to bed late and wake up early and do it all again the next day. The problem was that I never set aside time for myself. I never set boundaries. I never said no.
Now, I compare that cycle to gambling. You’re never sure if that big payoff, that big opportunity, or sale is right around the corner. So you never say no. You never take a vacation. You’re always in the office hoping the next phone call you answer is your lucky break. But more than likely, you just burn out. When I was in that cycle, it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was unsustainable and harmful to me and my young family.
How I Found Work-Life Harmony
I learned from my experience that I needed to set boundaries and take my personal time just as seriously as my work time. Fortunately, I learned this quickly and was able to course correct early on.
To free up my time, in the beginning, I hired a virtual assistant to help me out. This paved the way for me to hire more staff. The extra help enabled me to create more space and time in my life for other activities outside of work, like yoga, painting, and music.
What’s amazing is that I actually got some of my best ideas when I stepped away from work and completely changed gears — ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of if I hadn’t taken time away from work.
If you’d like to explore how to create more “me time” in your life, join me for an upcoming webinar on Wednesday, August 23, at 12 p.m. MT: “Finding Balance in Business: How Investing in More ‘Me Time’ Will Make You More Productive and Happier at Work.”
About the author
Amy Vetter (@AmyVetterCPA) is an entrepreneur, CPA, business executive, and keynote speaker. She is the author of “Business, Balance, and Bliss: How the B3 Method Can Transform Your Career and Life” and “Integrative Advisory Services: Expanding Your Accounting Services Beyond the Cloud.” Throughout her 20+ years in business, Amy has learned valuable insights on how to achieve work-life harmony and live a more fulfilled, purposeful life. Learn more at www.amyvetter.com.