By Louisa Else, Tax Practice Leader
Being a working parent is never smooth sailing - there are always schedules to juggle, hugs to give, and somehow work to squeeze in between all those things. For me, summer is the toughest time, especially now that my kids are starting school. I like to joke that my parents ruined me - as the child of two teachers who were able to spend all summer with us, having to structure summer trips around "normal" work schedules is something I'm still not used to, even 10 years after starting my own career.
My daughter finished up kindergarten last month and my son will be starting in the fall. Before this past year, our lives revolved around tax deadlines (me) and football schedules (my husband), but we could always fit in a middle of the week getaway or day trip when the opportunity was right. Suddenly this year, all those pockets of free time disappeared since E was in school! For a family that has structured ourselves around flexibility, this was a big change.
Now summer feels like our only time to squeeze in everything we want to do - which would be fine if it weren't for this pesky thing called work. I am spending a lot of time these past few weeks planning and maneuvering how I can set myself up to truly have wonderful adventures with my family and also continue to serve my clients and my team. Our dedication to ROWE gives me a leg up, but there is still so much planning ahead and hard work that goes into it! Here are some of the ways I am planning to make this work this summer:
- Early mornings: I HATE mornings. Everyone I work with will tell you I hate mornings. People who have walked past me on the street could probably tell you I hate mornings. However, with t-ball games and grandparents to visit and sunny days to enjoy in the pool, I am finding that the key to a good day right now is for me to get up early and carve out 2-3 dedicated hours before my family wakes up and before most of my clients and co-workers are starting their day. This lets me tackle bigger projects right away with the fewest interruptions.
- Being upfront about my schedule: Right now, if you email me you'll see a new addition to my signature - my time that I am going to be away in July, and what my schedule will look like during those times. I've also already taken the time to check all of my recurring July meetings and reschedule as necessary even though we're over a month out. That way I know that my clients and I will both be prepared and ready to go when it's time for our monthly meetings.
- Take advantage of the tech: I am going to be working from some unusual locations this summer, so I am planning ahead and testing things out now to make sure that I can keep my work as seamless as possible. I invested in a power pack that can run my laptop for 10+ hours and that I can recharge in the car. I have my Bluetooth headphones always at hand so I can jump onto calls or I can simply tune out the melee around me. I've also upgraded my phone to ensure I'll have the strongest mobile hotspot possible and I'm starting to plan out a list of things I can download to work on offline so that when I don't have service, I can still continue to be productive.
- Finally, the one that goes without saying but I'll say it anyway - I'm communicating. Our Fine Point teams are built so that we can pick up each other's slack and allow ourselves to get away, but that happens by plotting out ahead of time what needs to be done when, who is going to tackle it while I am gone, and what things I'll need to still be available for.
Work/life balance is more than just a talking point - it is not only how we keep ourselves sane humans, but also better at our jobs and serving our clients and customers. I am so looking forward to employing these strategies and doing some recharging this summer, then coming back even more excited for the great work I get to do every day. If you have any tips you've used to manage vacations and schedules, or just want to tell me I'm crazy for taking a 5 and 6 year old on a 10 day road trip, shoot me an email!
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