Benay Informer 10/26/2022
Balance. It's more than just an accounting term.
Do you envy the European version of the work-life balance? The idea of a siesta, a 4-day workweek, or taking the entire month of August off has us torn between total FOMO and the paralyzing fear that nothing is being checked off the to-do list.
Recently, we've seen companies create "summer" hours or "alt schedules" here in the US. These evolving practices indicate that views are starting to change as the ancillary benefits such as increased productivity and retention, fewer health issues, and happier employees increase greatly when implemented. Measuring these statistics can be as simple as a quick check with your HR department.
Work-life balance has become the norm at companies in Iceland, Belgium, and the UK as they see success in a permanent 4-day work week. Like for some shift workers here in the US, it may not be less total work time, but it offers more flexibility for where and when the work is done. Hopefully, more companies in more industries will evaluate and experiment with the option of shorter work weeks and totally remote working options.
No matter how your own organization uses and views work hours, the ultimate goal should be to optimize your work time, and by work time, we are implying the ever-needed “billable time” specifically. Here are a few ideas to consider implementing to maximize work time and free up time to spend on your financials as opposed to spending time in them:
Do the important, difficult, urgent, and highest-value action items first. I am sure you've heard various quotes on this concept. (My favorite is from Fr. Thomas Hopko: “Do the most difficult and painful things first.”) The commonality in these maxims is to become disciplined, learn to prioritize, and not shirk the tough jobs by saving them for last. Inevitably, “later” gets filled with added tasks on your to do list.
As mentioned in September, well-optimized operations and workflows help businesses reach their goals, save time, and minimize risks. Refresh yourself on this topic, here.
Organization matters! From your virtual or literal inbox to the printed documents on your desk, organize them by project so you know where they are when you need them. This also allows you to literally put things aside and out of focus that are not as high a priority—or that have a due date that is further out. Organize and assemble all inputs of a project in one place so that when you finally start on it, you have all the pieces. Don’t give yourself excuses to put it aside for a later date. For example: keep all closed projects that need to be billed in one place, then do all the billing for the week on a specific day or at a specific time of day, rather than throughout the day.
Automate as many processes as possible. Many programs allow you to easily set up calendar reminders for any number of things in your day. We use Monday.com to set tasks with due dates, set reminders, and overdue notices to anyone involved. You can also put recurring invoices and payments on auto send/pay. Financial overviews from various institutions can be automatically emailed to you on a schedule you set. Bonus: have them all sent to your assistant to be combined into one document for you. This practice streamlines your email reading time.
Whichever of these you choose to implement at your firm, make sure you choose at least one and hold yourself to a start date for it. If, and when, you need help with streamlining your back office, give us a call. We are happy to help, and we are rather awesome at it.
Cheers to your success,
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