Burnout is one of the top factors that lead to employee turnover in the accounting profession. It’s also one of the most common complaints I hear from my clients. If you’re an accountant reading this, you’re probably in the process of working yourself to the bone during busy season, so I’ll keep this short and sweet!
The good news is that burnout can be prevented. As I mentioned in my last blog “Owning Your Accounting Career”, it’s tough to bounce back once you’ve reached the “burned out” stage. Of course, the better option is to take precautions to prevent getting there in the first place.
Here are 5 things you can do right away to prevent burnout in yourself and in your team.
- Set an intention or a goal for busy season.
Think about a specific skill set or area of expertise you would like to develop during busy season. This could be a technical area or part of your leadership development. It’s important that you clearly define what you’re hoping to achieve and think about specific experiences or tasks you could take on to reach that goal. Seeing how the hours you’re putting in are helping to develop your skills for the future can help boost your motivation.
- Manage your time.
Most of the time, the strategies that we use to maintain our schedule during non-busy times aren’t sufficient to keep us organized and ahead of the game during the busy season. Other times, we abandon our strategies all together- throwing our hands up in a way, as if to say “it’ll be a mess no matter what I do”. If you have a process or a strategy that you use to manage your workload throughout the year, don’t lose sight of it just because there is more work now. Keep any existing strategies in place and look for new tools that you can use to supplement. Consider using a calendar tool or free online tools like Trello to keep track of deadlines, client requests and what you’ve delegated to your team.
- Ask for Feedback
Feedback is a great way to develop your skills as a practitioner and as a leader. When things get busy, many leaders stop giving feedback, and many employees accept that they won’t get feedback before the deadlines. Feedback lets your team know what they’re doing well and should continue to do, and also helps to prevent them from making the same mistakes over and over. Keep giving your team feedback and be sure to ask for feedback from your team during the busy season. You may learn new, more efficient ways to approach tasks or help your team members save time by avoiding future mistakes.
- Maintain or up-level your wellbeing practices.
Going to the gym, taking a yoga class, spending 30 minutes in quiet meditation or reading for fun can seem like luxuries during the busy season. When the hours in the day are limited already, self-care tends to fall to the bottom of the priority list. However, keeping your energy levels high and your body healthy is critical. Spending an hour each day for yourself will pay dividends in the long run and can actually help you to save time. By taking the time to clear your head and take care of your body, you will find you have higher energy levels throughout the day which translates into greater efficiency. People who give up on their workout & self-care routines site drops in energy, lethargy, apathy, and frustration.
- Make time for friends & fun
If you’re a social person, don’t give up on your social life during the busy season. Personally, I know that I need to spend time with friends and family or get out of the house to boost my energy levels. Without that time, I get frustrated and burned out much more quickly. If that sounds like you, make sure to schedule outings with friends or time to take on something fun outside of work. If you’re not the socializing type, schedule time to do something that fills you up! Consider finding a few extra hours in your week by outsourcing some of your everyday chores like grocery shopping, cleaning, and laundry. There are tons of services & apps available to take care of these for you. Treat yourself! You deserve it.
What are your go-to strategies for preventing burnout? We’d love to hear them. Share with us on Instagram.
You can also check out more information about preventing busy season burnout in our Busy Season Survival Mini Course available here!