8 simple habits that will help you get more done every day

Striking the perfect work-life balance is a challenge for almost everyone. 

In fact, statistics show that 66% of workers in the US believe they lack work-life balance.

One of the keys in reestablishing this balance are your habits—the small purposeful actions we take each day to improve productivity and well being.

Here are 8 realistic habits you can focus on to give you the balance you need to run your accounting firm and live your life.

Habit #1: reduce email anxiety

Do you dread the number of emails in your inbox each morning? Or maybe you have a negative reaction each time you hear an email notification?

Email anxiety is real, and these are just two indicators.

The steps to eliminate email anxiety depend on exactly what is causing you these negative reactions. It’s from there that you can identify what’s needed to reduce it.

These steps can provide the structure you need to identify and address email anxiety:

  1. Take notice of when you feel most anxious

  2. Acknowledge any negative feelings you get

  3. Take yourself off autopilot

Recommended reading: The steps to eliminate email anxiety

Habit #2: plan your week ahead of time 

Knowing exactly what you’re working on month-by-month, week-by-week and day-by-day will help you use your time effectively and maintain that work-life balance.

The key is visibility. Having an overview of your month/ week/ day will help you stay on-track and have the confidence you’re not missing anything.

Finish your work week by creating a list of next week’s milestones

This list should highlight high-level tasks that you need to complete the following week.

It’s not a granular task list. If you’re already using Karbon, that’s what your To-do list, or your tasks within Work Items, are for.

For example, one of your staff member’s weekly milestones might include processing end-of-month accounts for five clients, and payroll for four others.

But her To-do list would include all the smaller tasks that need to be carried out to complete each larger project.

Tip: If you’re using Karbon, you can create a weekly recurring work Item to keep track of your weekly milestones.

Habit #3: reward yourself 

Generally, when you know that a reward is coming, you will be more motivated to start knocking out your to-do list. 

And one of the best rewards is taking a break. 

One strategy is to complete larger tasks by breaking them into smaller tasks that are separated by short breaks.

The idea behind this technique is that you'll be motivated to work in short bursts toward frequent rewards.

You can also implement The Pomodoro Technique®, which structures your day into 25-minute focus blocks. You set a timer, and when it goes off, you reward yourself with a 5-minute break.

By focusing your attention solidly for a period of time, and then resting for a few minutes, you’re actually operating more efficiently—all whilst giving yourself some time between focus sessions.

Habit #4: invest time in automating manual tasks 

Spending hours on menial tasks is not a useful way to spend your time. By automating manual processes, you’re taking a huge step in improving your day-to-day well being and productivity.

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

You can also look at tools such as Zapier to build connections and automation rules between many of the apps that you already use. 

The benefits of automation are three-fold. Your productivity benefits, your clients are provided with more value, and your firm grows.

Habit #5: rethink meetings 

Meetings don’t have to be long, drawn-out, ineffective uses of your time. A great way to take your time back and improve your day-to-day is by completely rethinking your approach to meetings.

Consider these tips:

  • Always prepare an agenda—it will keep meetings on-track and ensure you don’t skip anything (which may result in yet another meeting).

  • Set expectations for deliverables before wrapping up meetings—this avoids the need to have additional meetings for clarification around due dates, etc.

  • When setting meetings, make sure everyone knows their role—this will reduce time spent on clarifying responsibilities during the meeting.

  • Set yourself the challenge of shaving off 5, 10 or more minutes from your meetings—you’ll be surprised how efficient you can be with less time.

Habit #6: delegate 

Take the time to consider the tasks you complete daily, weekly and monthly. Do you need to be doing each of them, or does it make sense to delegate some to other team members?

When delegating, it’s important to:

  1. Set clear expectations with whoever you’re delegating tasks to. 

  2. Consider the specific skills of your team members to ensure you’re delegating suitably.

And remember that a healthy process for communicating and managing those expectations is just as important.

Habit #7: set up your ideal workspace—and keep it that way

If you need more screens, get more screens. If you feel your space is missing a desk plant, get a desk plant.

Your working space is your sanctuary for 8+ hours per working day. So it’s important you’re comfortable with it.

Does everything have its own place? Remember: less is more.

Tip: Allocate the last 5 minutes of each day tidying your desk—put your pens back, neaten up your stack of papers, straighten your keyboard and mouse, etc.

Habit #8: if you're in the zone, don't leave the zone

Getting in the right headspace for certain tasks is important in your ability to be productive. But getting in the zone can be challenging.

That’s why it's important to recognize when you’re in the zone, and if possible, stay there.

If you can, quickly try to reschedule any low-priority meetings that clash, so you can make the most of the roll you’re on.

Finding the balance

These eight habit improvements might not all be relevant or helpful to you. But even if you take the first step towards improving one, you’re already on your way to turning your day-to-day around—for the better.

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