Many Americans consider themselves workaholics, and that can have consequences. Workaholism reduces happiness, increases stress and can actually make you less productive, so getting it under control is important for both your psychological health and your long-term success.
One of the ways that workaholism can affect your life that's not often talked about is through your financial management—especially as a business owner. Long hours on the job make it harder and harder to focus on numbers, even those that directly impact the success of your business. Effective financial management is key to maintaining a thriving business, and it's important to not let your work-related stress get in the way of that.
Balancing Your Money and Your Job
It takes work to keep your books balanced. Here are some ways you can push against unhealthy working habits and get your company's accounts in order along the way:
1. Take a financial vacation.
It might sound counterintuitive, but a vacation away from work can be a fantastic opportunity to get your financial muscles in shape again. The constant grind of work makes it difficult to slip away and consider your business's finances from a calmer, more removed perspective. It can also help you reset your mental loop—when you've gotten into the habit of earning for the sake of earning, it can be difficult to step off the hamster wheel and assess the pile you've collected (or already spent).
Getting your priorities straight now can help you achieve greater work-life balance while also preparing your company's finances for the future—no matter what happens.
Taking a finance-focused vacation not only allows you invaluable relaxation time, but it also lets you get an in-depth look at your books. Time off is a great way to establish some long-term investing strategies and retirement plans, too. (Business owners have a hard time recognizing that they, too, will need to retire someday.) Forcing yourself to take some time off is a powerful tool for breaking the cycle of workaholism, and it can be equally valuable for getting some financial planning done for both you and your business.
2. Learn to trust those around you.
One of the defining qualities of a workaholic is difficulty in trusting others. Workaholics—particularly entrepreneurs—may often feel as though they need to take on more and more responsibilities themselves, establishing dangerous and unhealthy working habits in the process.
Trusting others can give workaholics a twofold benefit: Firstly, learning to count on your team members to do their work effectively and efficiently can make you more comfortable delegating tasks in the future. A one-person team can only get so much done, and being more open with your team means less work for you down the line. A bigger team with more bandwidth and broader capabilities also creates more opportunities, both professionally and financially. Your over-protection may, in fact, harm your business in the long run.
Secondly, trusting those with their own expertise gives you the opportunity to let others help you with your finances. Enlisting the help and advice of certified financial planners can help ease the burden of your financial management. While you may be great at establishing partnerships and plotting business growth, acknowledge that you may not be the finance expert your company needs.
3. Make a bill-paying calendar.
Missing a bill or loan payment can have dire consequences, and anyone who devotes too much time to his or her work can easily lose track of time. When work deadlines loom, payment deadlines can seem inconsequential. In reality, banks and other lenders that check your credit may see late payments as a big red flag in extending you credit. A few late payments could make the difference between expanding your business and becoming cash-poor.
Making a schedule for all of your required payments eliminates the work it takes to track down what needs to be sent in when. More and more banks and payment services offer automatic payment options, and setting those up is a valuable time investment. Not having to worry about the tedium of bill paying allows you to focus on the big-picture stuff only you can handle. If you have the means, hiring an accountant or bookkeeper isn't a bad idea, either.
4. Focus on what's important.
Work may feel like a priority, but think about the things that truly matter most in your life: your health, your family, your home, and so on. While your company may be among them, the things that are most important should be the incentive for your work, not the back burner to it.
Consider the value of financial planning for facilitating the things you love. By overworking now and neglecting strategizing for the future, you're putting your financial security (and physical and mental health) in jeopardy down the line. While it may seem logical to work hard and make as much money as possible now, waiting too long to get your finances in order can undo all of the work you're doing today. It can also imperil your health, meaning you never get to enjoy everything you've accumulated through your business. It may feel like a big part of your legacy, but it will all be for naught if you miss the rest.
Workaholism damages all aspects of life, but your financial clarity can be one of the biggest casualties. Getting your priorities straight now can help you achieve greater work-life balance while also preparing your company's finances for the future—no matter what happens.
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