Work-Life Harmony and Your Finances
By Minerva Manzano-Kraushar, CMO, Co-Owner of Preuss Kraushar Financial
I remember going into labor with my third baby eight weeks before his due date. It was 11:00 p.m. and on the way to the hospital, I was making calls to all my employees saying, “I’ll be back at work on Monday”. Even right up until delivery I was sending emails to key clients reassuring them about the four days I was taking off. Life did not happen like that. When my son was not immediately crying after delivery, all thoughts of work stopped.
We lived in the NICU for eight weeks, and every day I would talk to my baby with feelings of regret for my health choices and stress. Today, he is happy and healthy, but my experience during those eight weeks made me realize that something needed to change.
We have become a society that glorifies being busy and being a “workaholic” as a badge of honor. Then we wonder, why do kids have anxiety so young? Why are my employees taking so many sick days? Or, what am I doing with my life? We have forgotten about work/life harmony. In fact, jobseekers and new employees who feel the need to oversell their commitment to work become a dumping ground for extra tasks. When they realize that they have had enough, a job-hopper is born.
Having a life outside of work almost seems unrealistic, but it does not have to be that way.
Stress, Burnout and Life
We recognize that achieving work-life harmony is not always easy or quick to implement. It must be mindfully made a priority over and over. Burnout and stress have moved into the top reasons companies see disability claims and we don’t expect this to change unless drastic changes are made.
For the employee or contractor, losing momentum and producing sub-par work can result in a reprimand or losing your job all together. By being forced into unemployment you are left with a time crunch to immediately drain your health benefits. The biggest stressor for most people is money, and not to let your last pay cheque expire before finding new work. Talk about stressful!
Not only does burnout greatly impact the employee, but it has significant implications for the employer, also. The cost of absenteeism falls into the laps of business owners. Even in the well-run organizations, turnover is never cheap. Dissatisfaction can also lead to an increase in theft and can reduce employee morale.
Without a Financial Advisor, the implications of burnout can create a snowball effect; retirement could be pushed further away, and you may burn through your hard-earned savings.
Even though some studies have shown that temporary work stress can be motivating, we cannot deny that long-term stress is unsustainable and can be potentially life threatening.
Assess Your Current Balance
Taking inventory of your current lifestyle will help assess your work-life balance. For example, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your energy levels before and after work?
- Do you associate your work with being a positive or negative force in your life?
- How much time are you spending with your loved ones? Is this the ideal amount for you?
- Are you more irritable than usual?
- Do you feel your output matches your input?
- Are you in control of your schedule?
Actual hours worked is not often the source of stress but rather, never feeling completely free of commitments can weigh on you. Having boundaries between work and life will psychologically allow for proper rest and recovery.
Small Changes Can Have Big Impacts
Change is never easy, but it is possible. Try some of the following suggestions to begin regaining control.
Create hobbies or rituals that you look forward to. What are some things you’ve always wanted to try? Are there hobbies you miss doing? Things as simple as reading, getting out to play golf, or watching your favorite show, can help you to unwind and disconnect from work. Maybe pick up a new cookbook and assign a new fun recipe to each workday. Do not underestimate the value of doing things you love.
Make time for rest. This is not as easy as it sounds. We are attached to our phone and maybe that is the problem. Plan to be unavailable. For example, put your phone a reasonable distance away from you, especially on weekends. Commit to quality rest in order to properly recharge.
Plan vacations first. If it’s not a trip around the world, maybe it’s camping in the backyard with your kids. Planning your vacation in detail will help make it tangible and more exciting. By looking forward to something you want, it can help you achieve more and make your work feel more valuable.
Your supervisor is your ally. Let them know your feelings and why you need to make changes. A happy employee is more productive, and your supervisor should be supportive of reasonable changes. Maybe this means making them aware that you will not respond to emails after work, reassigning some tasks, or even moving to a different department. Make them your partner in your success.
Find and implement boundaries. Find realistic boundaries and learn to respectfully say no. Stop romanticizing about being a workaholic and a yes-man. By enforcing reasonable boundaries, you will find that others will learn to respect your time also.
Learning to take on less will help you gain significantly more.
Working with a Financial Advisor
Remember that your Financial Advisor can also help you gain proper balance. Having a conversation can help clients reflect on what is important to them. Whether it is regarding their family’s financial security, or supporting a lavish lifestyle, or just having a nice summer, finding your end goal can be motivating. A Financial Advisor may also help you devise a strategy for a career change or help you conceive a plan for your dream vacation.
To an employer or business owner, Financial Advisors can evaluate non–salary-based compensation such as employee benefits. Encouraging your employee’s wellbeing can result in a more productive workplace. In fact, with proper health benefits in place, employers often see a reduction in turn over and less absenteeism. Studies have identified that wellbeing is valued more than minor salary changes.
As a mom, I view my career as a tool to help me create the life I want with my family. It did take a bit of trial and error, but in the end, I realized the importance of work/life harmony.
This week, challenge yourself to evaluate your harmony. It may not be a pretty picture, so if you are dreading the thought of what you might find, reach out for help. Working with a Financial Advisor can help you with your goals and concerns.
Sometimes a conversation is all that it takes to rekindle your purpose and create a more meaningful work/life harmony.
About the Author
Min Kraushar is the co-owner of Preuss Kraushar Financial. She has taken leadership positions in the genesis of four Alberta owned companies and enjoys working with others to create a solid financial plan. She is also mom to 3 boys and has been happily married to her best friend for 11 years. Follow Preuss Kraushar on Instagram @financialplanningnow or reach out personally to Minerva@PreussKraushar.com with your questions.
Covid-19 has tested the Resilience of everyone. Are you holding your life together, pivoting, and coming out stronger? What is about adversity that brings out the best in some, but the worst in others?
We know that exercise improves our health and can help us lose weight, but there are more benefits to running than you might realize.
Pets help us live longer, happier, and healthier lives mentally and physically. There has been a lot of research done on the positive health effects of companion animals and the benefits of adding a pet to a household or workplace.