5 techniques to enjoy a healthier work-life balance

Late nights in front of the computer. Lunch at your desk. Getting a jump on your emails on Sunday night. 

Does this sound all too familiar?

Most accountants have a habit of working as hard and as long as any profession—particularly during tax season or as multiple deadlines quickly approach.

For some, this may seem overwhelming. But others enjoy keeping busy. Either way, it’s essential to have a stable work-life balance. 

Here are five ways to find a work-life balance that’s right for you.

1. Schedule downtime like you schedule meetings

If you’re overwhelmed with work, you might set aside some downtime to relax and unwind. But do you actually follow through with it?

A good tactic to stay on course involves scheduling your downtime like you schedule your meetings. As you make it a priority to never miss your meetings, the same should apply to your scheduled downtime.

While you may think you don't need the rest, your mind and body will thank you later.

How much downtime is enough?

It can be tricky to set aside large chunks of time to unwind, especially when you’re bogged down with work. Instead, try to focus on having a few small breaks throughout the day.

2. Automate wherever possible

By 2026, the global market for accounting software is expected to rise to $11.8 billion

Systems like Karbon are enabling accountants to automate their processes and significantly reduce time spent completing manual tasks. 

This is one of the leading ways to improve your work-life balance.

Here are some of the top benefits of using automation capabilities:

Save time

Some tasks take hours, while others, just a few minutes. Automating those long processes can open up your schedule substantially. This can help you take that much-needed ‘e-vacation’.

More accurate data

Most accountants excel at their jobs, but mistakes do happen. And sometimes technology is more reliable than humans. Automation tools provide highly advanced capabilities, including accurate, error-free data.

Instant information access

Cloud-native solutions ensure client information is available where and when you need it. 

Rather than digging through file cabinets and scouring through spreadsheets, you can find your information instantly. 

This streamlines and simplifies your processes, freeing up your time for that work-life balance.

3. Don't drown yourself or your team

Burnout in accounting (and other high-stress industries) is a two-for-one: stress has an enormous impact on mental health and physical health.

To prevent yourself and your team from being overworked and overwhelmed, you can use tools like Karbon to forecast jobs, prevent bottlenecks and flexibly shift workloads across your team.

Outsourcing can help

Outsourcing some of your tasks can be a great solution to find a better work-life balance, especially for those surface-level duties that don't require your expertise. Consider if outsourcing is the right solution for you and your firm.

4. Eliminate email anxiety

Email anxiety is real. 

Having 20+ unread emails in your inbox is stressful. Knowing that you haven’t responded to a client from last week is stressful. 

In order to keep your sanity, eliminate email anxiety.

One way to limit these feelings is to understand when you feel most anxious. It may only happen with a certain client, or anxiety may spring up at a specific time of year. 

Understanding when you're most vulnerable can help you develop clear and effective steps to fix the problem.

5. Delegate and set expectations

There are only so many hours in one day. 

Cramming everything you need to complete in a short time-frame is usually impossible and highly stressful. 

This is why delegation and setting clear expectations is vital. 

For yourself, try to focus more on tasks you're good at. Then, set realistic expectations for completing those tasks. 

If you're managing a team, sit down with them to determine reachable expectations. You'll also want to have a healthy process for communicating and managing those expectations

When delegating tasks, consider the specific skills of your team members. If you're a one-person-show, think about what you excel at, then outsource the other duties where possible.

Smell the roses

Many of us go to work to afford the lives we truly want. But what’s the point if you’re too busy to enjoy it? 

Yes, the accounting industry is demanding, and stepping away isn't always easy. 

The truth is, your job may always be busy. 

So try finding your ideal work-life balance so you can stop, enjoy life, and smell the roses.