By AFWA National President, Linda Harris, CPA
Happy New Year! I and the National Board hope 2017 is filled with love, laughter and peace for all. By the time you are reading this, many of us will already be well into tax season. With each New Year, I resolve to handle tax season better than the last. However, it has taken me many years to realize, the only thing in my life that is going to balance is my balance sheet. No matter how hard I try there are always periods in my life when I am not in balance.
I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to ‘do it all’ and stay ‘in balance.’ As a result, I’ve experienced a lot of guilt because nothing ever works. It wasn’t until recently, after attending a work/life balance workshop, that my view on balance changed. The presenter shared that no matter what she did, she was never in balance. There are periods of time in your life when home tilts the scale and then other times when work tilts the scale. This does not mean you can’t have it all – of course you can – but you need to embrace that at certain times in our life you will devote more time and energy to one side of your balance sheet.
I’ve found though, there are a few things I can do to help manage the tilt.
- Invest in yourself: don’t feel bad when you need quiet time to think and unwind. Whether it is a bubble bath, massage, glass of wine, shopping, or a good book, doing something for yourself will help you refocus and ultimately finish the job at hand.
- Network and spend time with your peers: I find the old saying “Misery loves company” fitting. It’s easy this time of year to put off networking events and anything extracurricular. But taking the time to attend an AFWA Chapter meeting allows me to share my challenges and experiences, and my frustrations and wins, and ultimately reminds me that I’m not alone on this annual journey through tax season.
- Always be working on yourself: honing your “success” skills (some call them soft skills) in leadership, time management and delegation provide you with the ability to manage all the tasks on your plate. By developing these skills throughout the year, I’m more prepared to take on the influx of work that arrives each tax season.
So is there a magical answer to work/life balance – no, there isn’t. Instead you need to learn to move on an ever-tilting scale. Hold those things for which you are most passionate close. Then go ahead and lose the guilt, because chances are good you may never find true balance in work and life.