You may love your accounting job, but even so little things can build up until work feels like a constant battle. Try these 14 tips to enjoy yourself more at work this year.
We’re all under more stress these days, it seems, and the economic climate hasn’t made it any easier on accounting firm employees or partners. Despite the challenges of working life, it doesn’t have to be a struggle all the time. Here are 14 strategies for easing the strain and lightening up, adapted from AmEx OpenForum article by Tom Harnish and Kate Lister.
- Reduce minor stressors. With the applications available today, most of your least favorite tasks can be made easier. If it’s another kind of irritation, think creatively and be honest. Ask for what you need and share what drives you crazy. It can probably be eliminated as a problem without major drama.
- Try a new approach. Breaking some rules in the quest for creative solutions can pay off in spades. Take a fresh look at why you’re following those guidelines in the first place. This can be especially challenging in accounting firms, where change is hard to come by, but it can be well worth the effort in the end.
- Get organized. Sure, that’s a gut-wrenching order, but you don’t have to face it as a major life change. Just make some lists, observe your patterns and try to reduce the amount of time you waste wondering what to do next. Baby steps.
- Pick your targets. You’ve got ideas, lots of them. That’s great! But don’t spend valuable time wandering down paths that simply won’t work out for you. If it’s a logical and well thought out plan, go for it. If it’s a wild goose chase, dump it.
- Prune the thorns. You don’t have to work with people you can’t stand. It’s just not worth it. Can you be transferred? Can the offending party? Can you work together but remotely? People skills are crucial, but if someone awful is making your work life miserable, take action. There are all kinds of solutions and you don’t have to be mean.
- Let difficult clients go. You got into accounting because you love it, and you love working with your clients (most of them, anyway). If there are a few who always seem to demand more than you can possibly do to make them happy, let them go elsewhere! Both you and the clients you keep will benefit from making sure the fit is good.
- Reach out. You’re incredibly busy, but even with the demands on your time, take a moment to do something nice for someone. Volunteer, help out where you see a need, buy the coffee for the person in line behind you, do whatever you can to make things better for someone else. It feels good and comes back to you too.
- Put things in perspective. Minor irritations can push us over the edge. It happens to everyone, but try to let the little stuff roll off your back. It’s not worth your energy.
- Be accountable. Take charge of your situations both large and small. There’s no payoff in feeling like a victim, and even less in actually being one. Don’t blame, fix.
- Share the load. Leadership includes sharing both the vision and the work with your team. You can’t do everything and be effective, so delegate well and often. Then let go.
- Take a minute to think freely. It’s hard to do when you’re busy, but those moments of mental relaxation are actually important. Your mind will process on its own and very often hand you the solutions you couldn’t access when you were in a more rigid mode.
- Prioritize. The most important tasks each day might not be the ones on your desk right then. Don’t let yourself get distracted by seemingly urgent projects – pause to establish what really matters most at any given moment. It may not be the obvious thing.
- Drop the jargon. Business-speak can be amusing, but it leads to an illogically heightened sense of importance for both people and tasks. Figure out what really needs to be done, in real words. Leveraging your synergies is a waste of time. Preparing the report probably isn’t.
- Do less. Really? Really. Driving yourself crazy with a sense that you should always be doing more leads to anxiety and health problems, and it doesn’t create time that doesn’t exist. Prioritize well, do your best work, but give yourself a break eventually.
Some of these are much easier said than done, and some sound like clichés. Even so, keeping them in mind as you approach your daily stressors, especially during busy season, can help you find new ways to deal with the situation. You spend enough of your life working that it’s worth it to do so happily. Give them a shot and let us know what other tips you can share. We’d love to know!