Life as an accountant mom can feel like an exhilarating juggling act, where balancing things like spreadsheets and pacifiers becomes the norm. As a dedicated professional and a nurturing mother, you’re most likely striving to excel in both realms.
But let’s be honest: the struggle to stay organized and maintain sanity is real. That’s what I’m here for – to lend a helping hand.
In the world of finance and family chaos, effective organization is one of the secret ingredients to a successful accounting career as a working mom. Without some level of organization, you’ll, unfortunately, be more prone to stress, overwhelm, and eventually burnout.
But this isn’t just about color-coded calendars and filing cabinets (although they certainly help!). It’s about finding practical solutions to navigate the challenges of being an accountant mom, where time management, task prioritization, and streamlined workflows become your allies.
Throughout this podcast, I’ll be discussing invaluable tips and tricks that will hopefully transform the way you approach your dual roles. I’m going to be exploring the power of planning and goal setting, uncovering the magic of streamlining your workspace both physically and digitally, and revealing efficient task management techniques that will help boost your productivity.
The truth is that staying organized as an accountant mom goes beyond the confines of our work life. It’s about maintaining a delicate equilibrium between our professional obligations and the precious moments we share with our families.
It’s important to have strategies regarding effective communication, self-care, and embracing flexibility in your daily routine. There is no one-size-fits-all method for staying organized as an accountant and a mom, but there are things that can help make it more tenable.
The truth is that staying organized isn’t just a matter of survival; it’s a path to thriving in both your career and motherhood. By implementing some practical advice and utilizing technology to your advantage, you can reclaim control over your time and find harmony in the chaos.
So, whether you’re a seasoned accountant juggling the world of finance and family or a new mom navigating the exciting challenges of a demanding profession, this podcast is here to support you. Together, we’ll unlock the secrets to a well-organized and fulfilling life as an accountant mom, ensuring that both your professional and personal aspirations are realized.
If you’re ready to embrace a new level of balance and discover the art of flourishing in the beautiful chaos of being an accountant mom, then let’s do this together.
This week I’m going to discuss the power of planning, streamlining your workspace, efficient time management, and overcoming common pitfalls.
The power of planning
We’ve all heard the expression “super mom” and probably have either seen or met a few; those working moms who seem to be able to not only do it all but do it effortlessly, at least in our view. Well, I can tell you one of their superhero secrets is planning.
Planning is not just about scribbling notes on a calendar or setting reminders on your phone; planning taps into the incredible power of your higher brain to strategize and prioritize. As an accountant mom, leveraging the power of planning can be a game-changer for staying organized and managing your dual roles effectively.
While our brain is the best piece of machinery we have in order to stay organized, it still needs direction. By creating a well-thought-out schedule, we provide our brain with a roadmap to follow, just like plugging in the destination into the GPS on our phone helps us get there with less effort.
By using our higher brain to plan, as opposed to reacting with our lower brain, we make it much simpler to handle the demands of each role – accountant and mother. The truth is that our brain craves direction and clarity, and setting realistic goals provides just that.
When we break down larger projects or objectives into smaller, actionable tasks, we activate our brain’s problem-solving abilities. It thrives on the sense of progress and accomplishment that comes from creating and following a plan.
While I believe technology is amazing and leveraging certain productivity tools can be helpful, research shows that writing things down enhances memory and cognitive processing. So my suggestion is to consider combining digital tools with handwritten planning to engage your brain’s sensory pathways and reinforce your planning efforts.
Remember, if you want to stay organized, planning isn’t just about external tools; it’s about activating your brain’s incredible potential.
Streamlining your workspace
Now let’s focus on a crucial aspect of staying organized as an accountant mom – streamlining your workspace.
Let’s start with asking a question – why is having an organized workspace so important? Well, your workspace is like your command center, the place where you spend a significant portion of your day handling financial matters and managing family affairs.
An organized workspace, whether it’s at work or at home, can save you time, reduce stress, and create an environment conducive to focus and efficiency.
To get things started, I’m going to share some essential tips for setting up your home office or workspace.
Tip number one: Declutter!
A cluttered workspace can lead to distractions and decrease your productivity. Take some time to clear out unnecessary items from your desk and surrounding areas. Keep only the essentials within arm’s reach. This can include your computer, notepads, pens, and any tools specific to your accounting work.
Tip number two: Invest in storage solutions.
Whether it’s physical files or digital documents, having a proper storage system is vital. Consider using labeled file folders and cabinets for your physical documents. For digital files, create a well-organized folder structure on your computer and cloud storage. This way, you can quickly locate important documents when needed.
Tip number three: Optimize your tech setup.
As an accountant, you likely rely heavily on technology. Ensure that your computer, software, and other tech tools are up to date and working smoothly. Invest in a comfortable chair or an adjustable desk to prevent strain during long working hours.
Tip number four: Go paperless (as much as possible).
In this digital age, going paperless can be a game-changer for staying organized. Scan and digitize paper documents whenever possible and store them securely on your computer or cloud storage. Not only will this save space, but it will also make it easier to search for and access important information.
Tip number five: Create designated zones.
Divide your workspace into different zones based on tasks and priorities. Have a zone for accounting work, another for administrative tasks, and even a personal zone where you keep items related to your family or hobbies. This way, you’ll avoid unnecessary clutter and create a clear separation between work and personal life.
Remember, streamlining your workspace is an ongoing process. Regularly review and update your organization methods to ensure they continue to support your needs.
It’s also important to know that your brain plays a pivotal role in streamlining your workspace as it thrives on organization and efficiency. By maintaining an organized environment, your brain can focus better, reduce cognitive overload, and foster a sense of clarity and control, leading to increased productivity and a healthier work-life balance.
Now, I’m going to share some habits and practices to maintain an organized workspace:
Clear your desk at the end of the day: Take a few minutes before you finish work to tidy up your desk. It will create a fresh start for the next day and help you focus better in the morning.
Implement the “one in, one out” rule: For every new item you bring into your workspace, remove one item that you no longer need. This will prevent clutter from building up. I knew someone who did this with her closet and it worked wonders keeping her decluttered and organized.
Use organizers and trays: Invest in desk organizers and trays to keep small items like pens, paper clips, and sticky notes in order. It will save you time searching for these items when you need them.
Digital desktop organization: Keep your computer’s desktop clutter-free by organizing files into folders. Create a “To-Do” folder to store documents that need your immediate attention, and move them out once completed.
By streamlining your workspace, you’ll create a more efficient and productive environment, ultimately benefiting your work and family life. Remember, finding an organization system that works best for you may take some trial and error, so don’t hesitate to make adjustments along the way.
Efficient time management
If you’ve been listening to this podcast, you know that I talk a lot about better time management for accountant moms. Time management is not just about cramming more tasks into your day; it’s about making the most of your time while maintaining a sense of balance.
But I don’t teach time management in the typical way you’ve heard because most time management systems do not take into account the most crucial factor – your brain. Efficient time management starts with understanding how our brains function.
Our brains are powerful and complex, but they also have limitations. They work best when they have clear direction and are not overwhelmed with an excessive number of tasks and distractions.
One fundamental aspect of time management is setting priorities and goals. By defining what’s most important to you, both personally and professionally, you can direct your brain’s focus to these key areas.
When I work with time management coaching clients, I have them get clear on their values so that we can incorporate them into their calendar. The truth is that when you have a clear sense of purpose, your brain becomes more adept at filtering out distractions and honing in on what truly matters.
If you aren’t already using it, time blocking is a valuable technique that works in harmony with your brain’s natural tendencies. By dividing your day into specific blocks of time for various tasks, you create a structured schedule that allows your brain to transition smoothly from one activity to another.
For example, dedicate specific blocks of time for different areas of accounting work, for checking and answering email, for family commitments, for important relationships, and even for self-care.
It’s also essential to take into account your brain’s need for rest and renewal. Prolonged periods of intense focus can lead to burnout and reduced productivity.
I recommend that you integrate short breaks into your time blocks to give your brain a chance to recharge. Use these breaks to stretch, take a walk, or engage in mindfulness practices.
While we aim to be productive, it’s crucial to acknowledge that unexpected events and interruptions are inevitable. Our brains must be adaptable to handle these situations without causing undue stress.
Which is why cultivating flexibility in your time management approach, and practicing resilience in the face of unforeseen challenges is incredibly important if you want to stay organized.
Lastly, to make efficient time management a habit, consistency is key. Our brains thrive on routines and patterns, so try to establish a daily schedule that accommodates both work and family responsibilities.
This regularity will help your brain develop a rhythm, making it easier to transition between different tasks throughout the day.
The truth is that efficient time management is not just a matter of strict discipline; it’s an art of understanding and harnessing the capabilities of our brains. By setting priorities, time blocking, taking breaks, leveraging technology, and building consistency, you can align your time management practices with how your brain naturally operates.
Remember, the goal is not to fit every task into your day but to make every moment count. As both an accountant and a mom, mastering efficient time management will empower you to excel both in your profession and in your family life.
Overcoming common pitfalls
Now let’s talk about common pitfalls that can throw us off track. We all face challenges on our organizational journey, but there are things you can do to overcome them and keep moving forward.
Pitfall 1: Procrastination and Time-Wasting Habits
We’ve all been there – procrastinating on important tasks and getting lost in time-wasting activities. Overcoming procrastination requires a conscious effort to identify the root causes. Often, fear of failure, overwhelm, or lack of clear direction can lead to procrastination.
Solution: Break tasks into smaller, manageable chunks and set specific deadlines for each. This will make the workload appear less daunting, and crossing off completed tasks will boost your motivation. Additionally, practice self-compassion and reward yourself for completing tasks on time.
Pitfall 2: Dealing with Unexpected Interruptions and Emergencies
Life is unpredictable, and unexpected interruptions are bound to happen – whether it’s a last-minute work assignment or a family emergency. These situations can disrupt your well-planned schedule and cause stress.
Solution: Build flexibility into your daily routines. Allocate buffer time between tasks to accommodate unforeseen events. When interruptions occur, take a deep breath, assess the situation, and adjust your schedule accordingly. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help and delegate tasks when needed.
Pitfall 3: Struggling with Work-Life Integration
Balancing work and family life can be challenging, especially when the lines between the two blur. Feeling torn between professional and personal responsibilities can lead to burnout and guilt.
Solution: Establish clear boundaries between work and family time. Designate specific hours for work and communicate these boundaries with your family and colleagues. When it’s family time, be fully present with your loved ones, and when it’s work time, focus on your tasks without distractions.
Pitfall 4: Managing Stress and Avoiding Burnout
The demands of being an accountant and a mom can sometimes be overwhelming, leading to stress and burnout. Unfortunately, ignoring self-care can exacerbate these issues.
Solution: Prioritize self-care and well-being. Regularly engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether it’s exercise, meditation, reading, or spending time with loved ones. Remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish; it enables you to be at your best for your family and work.
Pitfall 5: Comparison and Feeling Inadequate
Comparing ourselves to others, especially in the era of social media, can trigger feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.
Solution: Focus on your own journey and progress. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and what works for others may not work for you. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and practice gratitude for what you have accomplished.
Pitfall 6: Not Seeking Support
As an accountant mom, you don’t have to do it all alone. Not seeking support can lead to increased stress and hinder your organizational efforts.
Solution: Reach out for support when needed. Talk to friends, family, or fellow accountant moms who understand your challenges. Consider joining online communities like CPA MOMS has in our private Facebook community, where you can share experiences and gain valuable insights.
Remember, overcoming these common pitfalls is a continuous process. Embrace the journey of staying organized and be kind to yourself along the way.
You’ve got this momma! Acknowledge your progress, learn from setbacks, and keep moving forward with determination.
In the world of finance and family chaos, effective organization is one of the secret ingredients to a successful accounting career as a working mom.
There is no one-size-fits-all method for staying organized as an accountant and a mom, but there are things that can help make it more tenable.