The importance of rest – and why working late isn’t a competition

There’s a culture in finance and accounting that working late is a good thing. The unspoken mindset seems to be this – the later you work, and the more overtime you’re doing, the more you’re ‘winning’ in the ongoing battle against the client work mountain.

But, in fact, working all hours that are available and grinding yourself into the ground is counter-productive. You’re tired, stressed and unproductive – and the quality of your work is likely to suffer too.

So working the concept of ‘rest’ into your firm is vital.

Taking the time to rest

Rest is one of the four core pillars that we base our values on here at the Profitable Firm – the others being Creativity, Integrity and Generosity. 

Profitable Firm 4 pillars

Here at PF HQ, we understand that a rested body and mind is a more efficient and productive mind. And we actively encourage everyone in the team to take breaks, flex their working hours and find the rest they need to deliver the absolute best for our clients and each other.

But what about that little voice on your shoulder that’s whispering ‘You can’t take a break now! Everyone else is working hard…’?

Our advice is to ignore that voice. If you’re managing your time effectively, and getting the job done, there’s no shame in taking a break – and coming back even more productive.

So, if you’re working until midnight and can’t remember that last time you put the kids to bed, here are a few tips for making your working week more about a work/life balance and less to do with falling asleep with your nose on your laptop.

1. Actively schedule time to rest

It’s very easy to get trapped in a cycle of work, work, work. The only way to break that cycle is to be proactive and determined about taking time out.

Take breaks frequently throughout the day. Arrange to meet a friend or colleague for lunch, go for a walk or head to the gym and get a sweat on. Your brain only lets you focus effectively for 90 minutes before your attention and energy start to fade – so working breaks into your routine really is a biological necessity.
The key is to do something outside the office and away from work – and to come back relaxed, rested and refreshed.

2. Let automation do the heavy lifting

If you’re reading this blog, we’re assuming you’re already up to speed with cloud accounting and all the efficiencies it brings to your firm.

Cloud tech and apps are all about letting the software do the time-consuming, boring elements of your client work. And automation is one of the key ways you can make yourself more effective, and free up enough time to justify a quick rest.

Use your software and systems effectively to automate absolutely EVERYTHING that doesn’t need to be done by you (or even by a human). Get Receipt Bank doing your data entry, Chaser doing your credit control and GoCardless collecting your monthly fees from clients.

Automate those processes and get back all that wasted time to give more flexibility to your working day.

3.Don’t see working late as a competition

Working late, getting too little sleep and surviving on take-away pizza is not big and not clever. And being the last one in the office is definitely not a badge of honour.
Don’t view the lateness of your working day as something to be competitive about. If you’re working late that’s usually for two core reasons:

  1. You’ve not managed your time and resourcing well.
  2. You’ve taken on too many (or the wrong kind of) clients.

And neither of those is anything to be proud about, right? Which leads us nicely onto number 4…

4. Manage time effectively

There’s a huge choice of project management, practice management and workflow management apps and cloud solutions out there – so use them!
Find a job management system that works for you and let it make a difference:

  • Look at the workload ahead of you, and be aware of what’s in the pipeline.
  • Break the work up into manageable chunks and delegate where necessary.
  • Keep on top of your client work and don’t let deadlines slip.
  • Make sure you can deliver in the timescale the client needs.

A more restful way to run your firm

So there you have it. There’s no shame to taking a break, no benefit to working until midnight – and a whole lot of value in letting tech and cloud tools help you automate your processes and manage your time more effectively.

If you’re finding yourself dozing off over your client work, maybe now’s the time to go and have a rest…

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