[IMGCAP(1)]Tax professionals need to juggle multiple commitments—especially during busy season. The long hours, travel and heavy workload can be an endurance test for many. With these demands on fathers’ time, it’s important for them to focus on balancing their professional and personal life in order to remain energized during and outside of work.
There’s evidence that men are increasingly experiencing work and family conflict the same way women historically have. According to the Pew Research Center, 50 percent of working fathers say juggling work and family life is difficult for them, and 46 percent of them say they are not spending enough time with their children.
With Father’s Day and the summer upon us, now is a good time to focus on your wellbeing. Think about the practices you can put in place to live a healthier, more balanced lifestyle that can carry over into busy season. As the father of two sons, here are five wellbeing tips that I focus on and how I apply them to my daily life.
1. Set thoughtful priorities: As busy season comes around, your time becomes more and more precious as client work increases and deadlines need to be met. With all the demands on your time, something has to give. Focus on setting thoughtful priorities—both at work and in your personal life.
To find the right balance, I look closely at what my top priorities are in and out of the office. For me, family comes first. In order to find the time to coach and attend my sons’ sporting events, I stopped playing golf because I couldn’t justify the amount of time on the course.
2. Plan ahead: Many of us are great at planning when it comes to work. We have a laid out plan for all the things we want to get done. This approach becomes all the more important during busy season.
Don’t forget to also plan for personal time, which isn’t always easy given your professional demands. With careful planning, anything is possible—and that includes using your vacation time before and after peak periods of work. Like an elite athlete, we all must rest, recuperate and reenergize during the year.
I found that when I acknowledged that my personal life was as big a priority to me as my career, it became much easier to effectively plan my life outside the office. I now schedule my calendar up to a year in advance to make sure my personal and professional priorities are locked in.
3. Personal health: Taking care of yourself should be a big priority. If you are not healthy, juggling multiple tasks can become difficult. Getting enough sleep, eating right and keeping active are important in managing stress. The number one way to train the brain is physical exercise, and studies have repeatedly shown that physical activity keeps your brain healthier and stronger.
After playing college football at Butler University, I started running to stay in shape, but as I continued running over the years, I came to realize the additional benefits of staying active. I never miss a day of working out—and it keeps me sharp and productive. Starting my day early with a workout allows me to focus on my other priorities during the day.
4. Be present: Be completely present in the task at hand. If you are with your kids, put away your phone, stop thinking about work—even if it is for half an hour—so you can maximize your time with them. And if you’re at work, give your colleagues your full attention. Don’t look at your phone or respond to emails during meetings.
When I attended my sons’ wrestling matches, I was completely present. I put away my PDA and focused solely on their match. As a rule of thumb when I’m spending time with my family, I make sure to let my team know when I’ll get back to them so that I can devote my entire focus in everything I do.
5. Wellbeing starts with you: Take the time and the effort to create a healthy culture within your organization—an environment that is collegial, supportive and respectful.
When I schedule my vacation time, I disconnect from work as much as possible. To do that successfully, I rely on my team and trust them to cover the day-to-day while I’m away from the office. By doing so, my team is empowered, and they in turn can follow my lead during their time away, relying on their teams for coverage.
When speaking with colleagues, I encourage them to pursue interests outside of the office. My family and I have a passion for fitness, so we frequently work out together at home and on vacation. It’s rewarding to incorporate my personal interests into the work environment too. I’ve run marathons with colleagues and played cricket with our professionals on trips to India.
Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. Your positive example will set the tone for others, at all levels within the workplace.
Carl Allegretti is chairman and CEO of Deloitte Tax LLP.
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