Do you believe in work-life balance?

February 27, 2019 | Alicia Juhl

As I sit here in my office at work writing this article, I’m missing bedtime with my 7-year-old and 4 year-old boys. Some may say, “What kind of mother are you?” Well, let me share – I’m the kind of mother that fills her life with family, career, community, and self-care. I’m missing bedtime because I instead chose to be a “hands on” mom during the time in the early morning when the house is quiet and my little guys are excited for a new day. I chose to spend time with them when they were full of energy and had a bright outlook for a rainy Sunday. I enjoyed several hours with them before heading off to my exercise class followed by some time at the office. So, I’m not sure I believe in work-life balance. I believe in having a life of intentionality which means consciously choosing and scheduling time with each of my passion areas. There are different seasons of the year when the time demands of one passion area are greater than another. One of those just happens to be tax season, which is currently in full force when looming deadlines present themselves. I have to be intentional about scheduling my workout classes and planning “Family Fun Nights,” which occur each Friday when we have a special meal and activity – and maybe even stay up past bedtime!

The Challenge

Over the course of our lives, most of us will spend over 90,000 hours at the office with an increased portion falling during tax season. During this time, the demands of the office can begin to overwhelm us and tempt us to crowd out family/friend time, self-care, and free time. We may even start to feel guilty because work deadlines are pressing and our normal time with family and friends or being physically active or unplugging from the grind is being squeezed out. What are some ways we can intentionally choose to incorporate family/friend time, self-care, free time or any area of passion into this state of overwhelm? Or, should we rather focus on making the choice to incorporate family/friend time, self-care and free time as our rest periods?

The Formula

Steve Magness and Brad Stulberg identify the formula “Stress + Rest = Growth” in their book Peak Performance. The idea incorporates using work and rest cycles throughout life. How can we apply this formula to our lives? Let’s explore how each piece can relate to a CPA in public accounting during tax season or any other profession during its push season.

Maybe not quite to the extent that we can be certain of death and taxes, but stress is often certain throughout life and can take on a negative focus. As referenced above, the book Peak Performance suggests we should reframe how we think about stress. Instead of viewing stress as a threat to our desired life, view stress as a challenge to perform at your peak. It is equally as important to ensure that rest periods fall between periods of peak performance (stress times). This formula can be applied on an hourly, daily or weekly basis. Daily blocks of peak performance can be scheduled (55-90 minutes recommended) followed by rest periods of (7-20 minutes recommended). Incorporating the formula into your day allows you to be more productive giving you the options to have more time with which to be intentional. When we look at a day, we push through a day and our sleep at night recharges us to face another day. On a week by week basis, taking a day of rest allows for the ultimate recharge. Whether you choose to spend that extra time on family/friends, career, physical activity or free time, the choice is yours. Each person’s choice will depend on their circumstances and the passions they are pursuing. What are your passions and how do you allocate your time to each one?