Work/life balance is extremely important to me. In fact, beyond being able to provide for my family through work, I think it’s the greatest motivation behind my desire to run my own business. I know that I’m fortunate that the financial planning profession allows for flexibility. I can work on the business at any time, I can create emails, blogs, content whenever and wherever suits. I do see clients on their schedule, but that is about as inflexible as it gets.
I recognise that certain professions just can’t be as accommodating. The majority of office workers aren’t able to set their own hours. Teachers aren’t able to take duvet days etc! However, there does seem to be a societal shift happening recently. A number of companies are introducing flexi-time, or options such as virtual offices, so employees have greater ability to arrange their work around their lives - which is great.
Time is the single commodity where no one knows how much of it the world holds for them specifically. If people thought of time the way they think of money, they’d make much more effective use of it. To my mind, each day provides 86,400 seconds and - although it’s impractical to suggest you use them all wisely to make the most of every day - it is reasonable to keep an eye on how your own time is spent. Regularly sense check yourselves to be sure you aren’t wasting it.
In Australia, a 27-year-old lady called Holly Butcher recently lost her battle with cancer and passed away. The night before she died she wrote her life lessons to the world - https://www.facebook.com/hollybutcher90/posts/10213711745460694
It is an amazingly powerful note, it helped me to reinforce that every day is not a given and that sweating the small stuff is pretty futile.
It shouldn’t take facing your own mortality to stop you from waiting to do everything you’ve always wanted to do. Holly puts this far more eloquently than I ever could saying - “I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullsh*t.”
I’ve found clients tend to appreciate having someone remind them of this. Life in London, especially, can move at lightning speed, so taking the time to reflect on your position is not always easy. Sometimes you need a little prompt.
Whilst the above focuses on encouraging people to enjoy life more, in financial planning we do also have to manage the opposite. When clients are enjoying their lives a little too much without considering the consequences, it’s our responsibility to show them the impact that too much spending and lavishness will have on their longer-term goals. As the blog title suggests, it’s all about balance – working out how to live for now, but with one eye always on the future.
I want to finish with my favourite line from Holly’s brilliant post. If you haven’t read it already, please do, I found it incredibly inspiring – “Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it - in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time, but it couldn’t be more true.”
Enjoy your 86,400 seconds.