By: Dixon Hayes, CFP®
If you’re like many successful Americans, you may find it hard to achieve the right work-life balance. Two-thirds of U.S. employees currently say they don’t believe they have a proper work-life balance while one-third say they regularly work on weekends and holidays.
Meanwhile, nearly half (48%) of employees consider themselves to be workaholics and about three-quarters (77%) say they’ve experienced job burnout. Also, about half (51%) of employees say they have missed important life events due to poor work-life balance.
The negative effects of inadequate work-life balance go beyond just feeling stress and missing out on family events. It can also have negative health consequences. Studies have shown that employees who work more than 55 hours per week are at heightened risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. In addition, these employees are 1.66 times more likely to experience depression and 1.74 times more likely to experience anxiety.
Statistics like these drive home the importance of finding the right balance between health and wealth. This is especially critical for high-earning executives and entrepreneurs who often work long hours and experience high levels of stress that can lead to health problems.
Here are 5 suggestions to help you find the right balance and safeguard your health along with your finances.
1. Make achieving work-life balance a high priority.
The first step is to prioritize achieving proper work-life balance in your life. Some people instinctively know that they are out of balance and should do something about it, but due to the demands of their job, they just keep brushing it aside and promising themselves they’ll deal with it later.
For many people, however, “later” never comes. If you have a strong sense that your work-life balance is out of whack and could use an adjustment, don’t put off dealing with it any longer. Just like you would make time for an important meeting or client, decide that you will create time to make concrete changes in your lifestyle.
2. Set goals and objectives.
You probably set measurable goals and objectives in the workplace so do the same for your personal life. This might start with the number of hours you work. If you regularly work 55 or more hours each week, for instance, set a goal of reducing this over time. For example, you could strive to reduce this to 50 hours or less within three months and then 45 hours or less within six months.
You can also set goals when it comes to diet and exercise. For example, you could strive to reduce your daily calorie intake or the amount of sugars or carbs you consume by a certain percentage over time. Similarly, you could set a goal of exercising at least 30 minutes five days a week. Make your goals realistic and achievable so you don’t get discouraged right out of the gate.
3. Talk openly about work-life balance with your spouse and family.
It’s hard to make these kinds of changes if the rest of your family isn’t also on board with them. So be open and honest about your struggles with achieving the right work-life balance and the changes you plan to implement to improve things.
There’s a good chance your family has been aware of the need for you to make changes longer than you have. If so, they will likely be supportive of your efforts and willing to do whatever they can to help.
4. Learn to say “no.”
For high-achieving, hard-charging individuals, this can be the hardest step of all. Many people like this believe they can do almost anything, and they hate letting others down. So they find it hard to say “no” when asked to take on extra projects at work, serve on a board of directors or volunteer at their kid’s school or with a non-profit organization.
While each of these activities and many more like them may be good, you must decide which ones are truly worthy of your time and energy. When presented with such opportunities, ask yourself whether they contribute toward your overall goals and objectives for your life (see step #1) or might serve as a distraction. If the latter, politely decline the opportunity.
5. Make yourself accountable to someone else.
Accountability is the key to achieving many goals, including finding the proper work-life balance. It’s one thing to make this a priority and set goals, but it’s another thing to have someone else who is going to hold you accountable for doing what you’ve said you’ll do. Your accountability partner could be your spouse or a close friend. Regardless of who you choose, empower this individual to ask you hard questions without fear of reprisal.
Give some thought today to how you can implement these suggestions to find the right balance between health and wealth in your life. Many of the executives and entrepreneurs I work with find that having a financial advisor helps them to delegate the day-to-day management of their finances and find extra time in their day to spend with family or relaxing. If you’re interested in learning about working with a financial advisor, call us at 973-525-1000 or email Info@simonquickadvisors.com.
About Dixon Hayes
Dixon joined Simon Quick in 2020 as a Managing Director on the client advisory team. He was drawn to the firm’s client-centric approach, robust investment capabilities, and culture. In his role he is responsible for providing financial planning and investment advice to high-net-worth individuals including corporate executives, business owners, and families with multi-generational wealth. Dixon graduated from Princeton University and lives in Princeton with his wife Caroline and four children. He is actively involved in the Princeton community, serving on the board of trustees for Princeton Nursery School, Trinity Counseling Service, the Bedens Brook Club and Princeton Girls Lacrosse Club. To learn more about Dixon, connect with him on LinkedIn.
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