Five steps to a healthy work/life balance for the freelance accountant
People have been grappling with how best to live their life since we discovered that ‘best’ and ‘life’ could be conjoined concepts. The lack of firm resolution on this score indicates that it is difficult to achieve. We’re told that professionals should strive for a balance between work and life, and given examples like “make time for exercise”, or “don’t answer work emails when you’re at home”, as ways to achieve contentment.
The problem with “work/life balance”, as a concept, is that it sets the two in opposition to one another. Work is typically designated as the part of conscious experience that is to be endured for the sake of funding living. As a freelance accountant, you are open to freedoms in your working life that those who are employed are denied; work and life may find a happy unity.
However, to feel that life is out of balance is to experience a genuine problem. The solution to the problem, however, will not come through rebalancing life’s ledger. One more hour of sleep every night, or one hour away from a computer will not be enough for genuine satisfaction. Here are five steps to achieve the balance of a healthy, happy life.
1. Balance is a state of being
A reader of Aristotle (one of the greatest self-help gurus) learns that the key to a fulfilled life – to live in a state that he calls Eudaimonia – is to be active in accordance with virtue. The virtuous activity is the manner in which one approaches the activity with which one spends time. Aristotle does not advocate a balance between kinds of activities – work vs life – but instead says that the balance must be found in how you perform each action in life. This is known as the doctrine of the mean.
Dutifully following a list of activities will not result in a balanced life; approaching each activity with the idea of balance in mind is the key to genuine lived contentment.
2. If you’re doing something, then you should do it well
The ability to perform your work excellently, exists in all of us. Recognising that doing it well is a matter of dedication and focus is the core realisation. Knowing that, in the case of the freelance accountant, technology is essential to excellence, should lead you to bolster your expertise with products like Sage One. Just as you should strive to be present in every moment with your family, you will find happiness by engaging whole-heartedly with the challenges of work.
3. Seek happiness with others as well as yourself
Happiness is a relation that exists between yourself and your experience of the world; but in friendship we get the opportunity to see ourselves mirrored in another, to experience our happiness from the outside. Even in business relations, they manner in which you act should be fair, and proper. Realising your ambitions can go in concert with realising the ambitions of others.
4. Moderate yourself
The doctrine of the mean identifies perfect action as lying in between extremes – so, courage is the appropriate way of conquering of fear, and sits between cowardice (avoiding scary situations) and foolhardiness (running into situations that ought to cause fear without regarding the dangers inherent in the situation). You’ll know the areas of your life in which you find yourself dissatisfied with your own conduct – seek adjustment through balanced action. See each moment as an opportunity for pleasure, or the pursuit of excellence, and the fulfilled life will follow.
5. Don’t think that a place called work is not a part of your life
There is great pleasure to be found in productive activity. As an accountant, you’re helping people with their finances – making a critical area of their life better through your action. Discovering, or rediscovering, the source of passion that led you to choose this as your career choice will begin by tapping into the good that you do. As Aristotle said “Where there are things to be done the end is not to survey and recognize the various things, but rather to do them; with regard to virtue, then, it is not enough to know, but we must try to have and use it, or try any other way there may be of becoming good.”