Busy Busy

Wednesday, Sept. 23rd

One of the things people ask others when they haven’t seen them in a while is – “how’s everything going?” One of the most common answers is a reference to how busy they are. I have a friend that I don’t see that often, but when I do and I ask him how he and his family are, the answer is very predictable…busy busy!

For many people, being busy seems to be a badge of honor worn with extreme pride. For my friend, his busy level is always related to how many hours he works a week. He never references a family trip, or any hobbies, it’s all work related. I think he thinks people are impressed that he puts in 60-70 hours a week. I’m not  impressed at all. He’s on a path to burnout and his health isn’t good.

I’m more impressed when people tell me they have a great work/life balance. Some folks argue that this doesn’t exist but I will always push back on this idea. You can be a “high-achiever” in your career and still have a great home life. It’s all about being intentional about your time.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. No one has more and no one has less. How we choose to allocate those hours determines the level of work/life balance that you have. If you don’t schedule time to do things outside of your work, those hours will be gobbled up. It’s happened to me, and it’s likely happened to you as well. We have to be intentional about our time.

I had this conversation with another friend of mine who owns his own advisory firm. Our offices are very similar and we talked about how easy it can be to “play office”. Playing office happens when you’re in the office, but you haven’t structured your day in a way to maximize your productivity while there. We’ve both worked hard to make sure we time block each day to make sure we do the things we need to do to bring value to our clients.

In my office, there are days that we have set aside to meet with clients and there are days that we don’t meet with clients. Our non-meeting days are intentional. On these days we prepare for meetings and make sure we provide as much value for our clients as possible. We look at tax returns, review accounts, and we make sure all client service needs are handled efficiently. We look at upcoming life circumstances for our clients and help them be as prepared as possible.

We also work on providing content for our clients and folks who are looking to engage our firm. The Client Connection newsletter, the Retirement Clarity University, and the My Retirement Clarity podcast are all things we plan for. These things wouldn’t get done if we didn’t carve out time for them.

Guess what else I have scheduled time for? Pickleball. That was probably easy for you to guess. About 2 times per week, I intentionally schedule myself out of the office for a couple of hours to play pickleball. Several times I’ve been asked by other folks on the court how is it that I manage to play pickleball during the day. The answer is easy…I plan for it by putting it on my calendar.

We have a great staff and our office runs smoothly when I am away for a couple of hours. I also work hard to make family time a priority. Sure there are times when I have to work late and there are times that I must travel, but I am intentional about family time. My hope is that you are too!

I am confident there’s never been anyone on their death bed that said they wished they spent more time at work, but there certainly are a lot of folks who wish they would have spent more time with the people they love, doing the things they enjoy.

My encouragement is for you to make the most of the 24 hours you have every day. As always, thanks for the trust you’ve placed in our firm.