Achieving Work-Life Balance
By: Matt Roberts, Sherpa Investment Management
As my wife and I prepare for our first child, it has me thinking about how I allocate my time. Like many people, much of my time is spentworking and with family (some weeks it’s more work than family). In a survey done by Harvard Business School, 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and 50% reported working more than 65 hours per week.
The right work-life balance is different for every person. It often depends on your circumstances. A single person with no kids likely hasmore time to allocate to work than a married couple with four kids. As I am in the midst of researching what the right balance is for me, I thought I’d share some tips I found on how to get the most out of work and life.
Technology has made it very easy to work for home, but resist the temptation. You’re probably only half as productive as you are at the office and make quality time with family true quality time. Try putting the cell phone out of arm’s reach for the evening.
2. Set boundaries
The tendency for many people early in their career is to say yes to everything. However, sometimes saying no can be just as important. You can be pulled in many different directions, but focus on what’s most important to you. A book that really helped me personally with this concept is Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.
3. Know when to outsource
Focus on what you’re good at. If there is an activity in your daily life that you don’t have the energy or expertise to do, find someone or something that can do it for you. As a financial planner, I do practice what I preach. Every month I review our family’s budget, which was done by reviewing bank statements and using a spreadsheet. This was a beneficial, but timely, exercise. I now use the “Spending” feature in our company’s Client Portal, which automatically categorizes our expenses every day. An activity that would take a couple hours a month now takes minutes.
4. Take a vacation
It sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes the best thing you can do for your career is take time off. In a study commissioned by Expedia (a biased source I admit), more than 30% of Americans do not use all of their vacation days. Johnne Syverson and David Strege have always promoted that our staff takes time to rest and rejuvenate. The brain is like a muscle, so it needs time off to work efficiently.
I think many of us inherently know these things, but we aren’t very good about being intentional. My goal is to put more of these tips into practice over the next year (between the diaper changes and sleepless nights). I encourage you to use some of the tips and find the right balance in your life.