From mid-January to March, it’s crunch time for accountants and bookkeepers. To survive the upcoming busy season while preserving your life outside of work, you should follow these tips for effective time management, and how to maintain a balance between work and your life at home.
Besides for the basics of time management, such as beginning every day with a task list prioritized by importance, there are many other lesser known tips for improving your time management skills during the busy season:
- Turn off mobile phone notifications. With smartphones, it’s easy to lose valuable time during work hours constantly checking texts, tweets, emails, and more. Apps can easily seize your interest from the work at hand, providing an easy distraction. By turning them off for an hour or so at a time, you will be able to completely focus on your current task. If you are anticipating an important email or text, you can easily turn the notifications back on again.
- Allocate time for phone calls in unconventional places. Instead of using your precious time at work to make important phone calls, consider carrying around a prioritized list of the people you need to call, phoning them during your commute, at lunch, or while waiting in the airport terminal.
- Schedule breaks. Recent studies find that taking a break each hour and a half can greatly improve your efficiency. Simply walking away from your work for five to twenty minutes a few times a day can actually result in you being more efficient.
The accounting busy season is not only stressful for bookkeepers or accountants, but also their families. Inevitably, you will be spending less time at home during the first quarter of the year. However, through clear communication and not bringing your work home with you, you can mitigate the stress of this time of year — both for yourself and for your family. Here are a couple tips for maintaining the balance between your work and personal lives:
- Call your spouse or significant other. Inevitably during the first three months of the year, you are not going to be home as often as you or your significant other would like. However, by making an effort to call your spouse during the day, you will not only demonstrate your commitment to maintaining the relationship, but you may also feel re-energized by talking to them, further increasing your productivity. Keep in mind that just calling to say hello can make a world of difference.
- Hire an assistant. Now you may think that hiring an assistant is too expensive. However, by hiring someone at one-fifth of your hourly billing rate, your efficiency at work and state-of-mind can improve. Losing a little bit of pay to help maintain your relationships, hobbies, and even sanity is well worth the monetary cost.