The Final Countdown … to the Final Balance Sheet

If you’re like most financial professionals, you feel some level of work pressure throughout the year. According to Harris Interactive, 83 percent of workers polled feel stressed by work, a rise of 10 percent in just one year. Much of that stress comes from trying to balance work and personal demands. In a survey by Robert Half, 41 percent of CFOs polled said being pulled between the two is their biggest stressor.

As the end of the year gets closer, and the deadline for the final balance sheet approaches, you’re probably finding this juggling act even trickier.

At work, you may be dealing with the challenge of assembling various reports and audits, as well as your year-end balance sheet, while on the home front, you’re probably coping with the complexity of holiday demands. This combination can send your stress levels skyrocketing. But you can calm your nerves and refocus by relying on a few straightforward coping tips.

Move Your Body

Just hearing the word exercise may make you think of one more chore on your to-do list. But, actually, you’ll find that a brisk jog or stair-climb can help you cope with a stressful day. When you exercise in a way that makes you breathe deeply, your brain receives more oxygen, and your body is stimulated to produce mood-elevating endorphins.

Budget Your Time

You’re an expert at budgeting, right? Use these skills to organize and manage your hours. At the beginning of each week, create a to-do list and highlight the tasks that are absolutely essential at home and at work. Do you have reports or a balance sheet that your boss is depending on? Does your child need that costume finished for the school play on Friday?

All the tasks that you haven’t labeled as “essential” can probably be put off until later or delegated to others. If everything seems essential, consider bringing in temporary finance and accounting professionals to help manage workloads until things slow down. 

This is the time to be strategic and to be as realistic about your time limits as you are about your company’s financial limits.

Avoid Multitasking

It may sound counterintuitive, but the truth is that doing multiple things at once can actually decrease productivity. Writing in Investopedia, former finance pro Marv Dumon notes: “Multitasking constantly prevents individuals from giving their best on the few critical deliverables their employers really expect from them.”

Allow yourself two or three specific times during the day to check email so you’re not constantly switching between that and the balance sheet other tasks. Let your phone calls go to voice mail if that is an option.

Chances are you’ll come to enjoy your professional work more when you’re not trying to do too many things at once, and you’ll benefit from the stress relief of getting that balance sheet turned in on time.

The end of the year brings inevitable challenges, both at work and at home. However, if you make use of a few straightforward coping tips, you’ll be equipped to tackle the year-end balance sheet and other challenges with better health, sharper focus and brighter holiday cheer.