I went on vacation in early April for a week. There, I said it. It had been a secret I had been carrying around the office for months. I even felt guilty about it. The few people I even mentioned it to looked at me with bewilderment. But that’s not where it ends. I had the gall to not work in the office a single weekend in February, March and April. Have I gone crazy? Am I looking to lose my job? NO!!! I just finally realized that for me to #BeMore I had to take greater control of my schedule and prioritize the right things.
CPAs work in a profession where taking time off between January and April is traditionally taboo and a career limiting choice. We can also confuse the connection of being physically present and being productive and vice versa. These paradigms have hindered our ability to #BeMore to ourselves and our families. At GHJ we have been actively evolving our anytime/anywhere work initiatives for several years. It is these initiatives that are helping us break our legacy behaviors and allowed me to #BeMore over this busy season. The truth is, I did not take any more “time off” than previous seasons, in fact, I worked effectively the same amount of hours as the previous few years during this period. I just shifted my work schedule and took greater advantage of under-utilized time in my schedule.
Let me explain things I did that allowed me to have this flexibility:
- Fewer Saturday Meetings –Our audit group has historically used Saturdays as planning days. Through the use of technology and more thoughtful scheduling, I was able to have only two Saturday planning meetings, and they occurred in January. We were able to have the remainder of the meetings at alternative times through the use of Skype which allowed team members to join the meeting from anywhere. The goal for next year is zero!
- I Avoided Traffic – Well, at least I tried to. This is Los Angeles after all. I began more intentionally working remotely to avoid traffic not only in the morning and evening, but in between meetings. It is not uncommon to see me working at a coffee shop, the gym or even in my car. Also, I more thoughtfully scheduled clusters of meetings around the city. For example, if I was planning to be downtown, I would schedule a series of meetings there with clients and referral sources. No sense in making multiple trips.
- I Worked almost Every Day – Yes, almost every day. And it’s a good thing. By handling e-mails and other small tasks in pockets of time on the weekends (and on vacation) that did not interfere with my family commitments, I created more capacity during the weekdays to handle more substantive tasks. It also gave me more peace of mind that I was on top of my commitments to the firm.
By creating this flexibility, I was able to #BeMore for my family and enjoy greater success in all aspects of my life.