20 years from now, the only people who will remember that you worked late are your kids/antiwork Reddit
Life can often feel like someone vomited on an abortion. With financial goals, family responsibility, and the demands of work and spiritual life to maintain, it is fully understandable that we feel overwhelmed. Balancing these can be as challenging as walking a tightrope while juggling hot coffee. But fear not, my fellow South Africans, I’ve sacrificed my mental health to keep my boss happy – and have lived to tell the tale.
Here is a page from my journal that will help you keep that work-life balance – and pursue your financial goals.
Is a work-life balance possible?
Let’s be clear – a work-life balance isn’t always possible. In some scenarios, people have historically worked two jobs to make ends meet. We hustle to be able to pay bills and give our children the life we didn’t have.
However, I do think we need to work smarter with our time, rather than working harder.
Can we stop with the "side hustles" nonsense?— Mark Tobin (@mtobinwex) May 29, 2023
Our parents and grandparents also had "side hustles", but back then, they were called second jobs because that's what they were.
Historically, I have optimised my life to do as much as I can in the time provided. for example, while at school, I did my homework on the bus while on my way home. In my career, I’ve also upskilled by watching coding tutorials while running on the treadmill at the gym! If you don’t have a good work-life balance right now, I believe that it’s something we can grow into.
So let’s get started with what you can do to have a better work-life balance while pursuing financial goals.
The Art of Prioritization
Does your boss understand the difference between urgent and important? If he doesn’t, then you might need to enforce those boundaries.
Oftentimes we need to sort out a crisis after hours – and, at times, that’s needed. But when the crisis becomes a distraction – then we need to reprioritise.
To understand what truly matters, you need to identify your core values, both in your personal life and your financial aspirations. I used to do KPI sessions with myself every Sunday. I would take my work and personal KPIs and measure my progress.
Choose your actions wisely and give them the attention they deserve.
Budgeting with a Twist
If you know me, you know that the traditional budget makes me involuntarily bleed out of my anus… I prefer knowing where my money is going – and adjusting along the way. However, if you want to reach your financial goals, you need to invest regularly. A nifty way is to have a debit order or recurring payment go off every month before you notice the money is there. After your monthly expenses have been paid, you can spend the money left over by the end guilt-free.
Embrace the Side Hustle
If you don’t earn enough and you have serious financial goals, you need to either increase your income or lower your expenses. But when you’ve cut your expenses to the bone – then maybe it’s time for a side hustle. There are some really cool side hustles out there that you can enjoy with your family. For example, my friend’s family are all technophiles. Together they run a 3D printing company and design, print and sell the products – as a team.
Extra income opportunities aren’t always glamorous. We know someone who sells dog food on the side, others that sell spring rolls at the local market and yet others who dry biltong. So sometimes you need to do what you bring home the bacon – and sometimes you get to build the things you love into a business.
So, whether it’s freelancing, starting a small business, or monetizing your hidden talents, a side hustle can help you accelerate your financial goals. Just remember not to overstuff the car and leave yourself with no time to enjoy life outside the big top.
Learn the Art of Saying “No”:
As you know, I’m starting working as a 4-day-per-week full-time contractor on June the first with one of my clients. In preparation for this, I was chatting with the head of operations, telling her that I’m a difficult person. She responded with: “no, you’re not difficult. You just have boundaries and enforce them”.
Knowing when to say no to clients expecting a miracle, employers expecting overtime, family members wanting money or a child wanting a billion rand increase on their pocket money is vital to your pocket and mental health. It’s tempting to say “yes” to every work request or social invitation, but remember that your time is valuable.
Learn to decline politely and protect your personal time. Your mental and emotional well-being will thank you. And remember – there is no need to explain yourself.
Invest in Self-Care:
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cureOld English saying
No one will look after your business as well as you – and the same is true for your mental health. Keeping healthy, fit and mentally resilient is your responsibility. If you forget to look after yourself, I recommend creating recurring habits. For example, you can create a habit of getting to the gym after work or going to the farmers market every Saturday morning to have a good cup of coffee. One of the things that’s kept me alive in stressful times is tweeting and helping others.
Helping others has been one of the best investments not only from a mental health perspective, but I have also received a lot of business from people that I’ve selflessly helped.
Automate, Automate, Automate:
Honestly, you don’t need to do everything yourself manually. Please just automate your savings, investments, and bill payments to reduce stress and free up mental space. Set up automatic transfers to your EasyEquities account so that you don’t have to remember to do them every month. This way, you can focus on enjoying the show while your financial journey runs smoothly in the background.
Seek Professional Guidance:
Life is not all about saving 80% of your salary and drinking coffee… sad, I know! It’s also about dying. And that’s bound to happen sometime in the future. It is therefore prudent to get professional guidance over time. Whether doing a checkup with your medical doctor, a financial planner or a property specialist – take the time to check in with someone who is more knowledgeable than you are.
Achieving a work-life balance while pursuing your financial goals is no small feat. It requires careful planning, flexibility, and a dash of dark humour to keep your spirits high when you want to rip out someone’s aorta with a bic pen. Because that happens.
But seriously, prioritise what is important – both in your work and personal life – and free up brain capacity by automating your finances.
Oh, and of course – drink coffee!