As I reflect on the past year, it has certainly been one where priorities and boundaries have been stressed more than ever. For many of us, all the related demands have tested work-life balance like perhaps never before. In a society where parents sometimes get the message that they ought to work like they don’t have children and raise children like they don’t work, it has been easy for me to fall into the trap of striving to be like Wonder Woman. I’ve had to slow down, breathe, and not allow my drive for being the best be the enemy of doing good.
Starting With Self-care
For me, a lifesaver during the pandemic has been keeping self-care a priority. I find myself grateful for habits I developed and boundaries I set years ago. I have a sacred morning routine that begins the night before: I pick out my morning podcast, lay out my workout clothes, choose my outfit, and get my supplements and lunch prepared. I wake up earlier than the rest of my family, so this is the best time for me to focus on personal development, fitness, and nutrition. I don’t typically check emails until I get to the office or start working from my home office, because I’ve found that controlling my morning sets me up to have my best day.
If you’re like me, you may have found it difficult to prioritize at times—especially in the midst of the pandemic! It goes back to the old Stephen Covey exercise where he put rocks in a jar, then pebbles, and then sand. Then, he reversed the order, and everything didn’t fit. When overwhelm sets in is when everything seems important and urgent, like a big rock! For me, self-care needs to be the first rock in the jar in order to create space for everything else to fall into place.
Addressing Financial Details
For many clients, the pandemic has created time for reflection and intentionality regarding their financial goals. For instance, end-of-life planning has been a topic on the minds of many people. There are many facets to an overall estate plan. One that several clients have focused on as of late is a conversation regarding their health care directive (HCD)—also referred to as a living will. Taking time to create or update your HCD is a wonderful gift to you and your family, by helping your family understand your wishes so they can act upon them with assurance should you become incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions on your own. It also serves as a guiding tool at what we know are challenging and often emotional times for families. Now is an opportune time to ensure your HCD is created or updated. Some practical resources to get you thinking about your values and wishes in this area are: honoringchoices.org, fivewishes.org, and compassionandchoices.org.
Another gift for your family is to create a paper or online file, including your net-worth-statement, as a checklist to help in administering your estate. With this in hand, followed by noting the beneficiaries on each account, you can begin to build a very useful estate/end-of-life planning file. In addition, spending some time compiling a list of your online accounts and creating a digital footprint summary are excellent additions to the file. Another great step is to consider subscribing to a password manager tool. With one password, your heirs can access all your accounts. These small, important details make the difference between a smooth estate transition and one that is fraught with complexity. Your CCM advisor is here to assist you with key steps related to estate planning.
Bringing Intentionality to Relationships
Finally, what about your personal relationships? Perhaps you’d like to set a goal to be more present with your kids. Pick one thing and create a habit. Put your phone/tablet/computer away during a few hours each evening (say 6 p.m.–9 p.m.); this will help you avoid the temptation of “quickly responding to an email,” only to find yourself two hours later playing the one more thing game! Set a goal to have dinner as family a certain number of nights a week, and during that time, engage everyone in conversation. One fun thing we did when my kids were little was to play “two truths and a lie.” We got more interesting tidbits on the kids’ days versus asking simply, “How was your day?” Another one I just learned is to ask, “How did you fail today?” Sarah Blakely’s father asked her this at dinner each night. It was his attempt to crush fearing failure and build confidence in her. Sarah, the founder of Spanx and one of the youngest self-made women billionaires, attributes this to part of her success. You could also go around the table and have everyone give a quick update: what you’re grateful for today, what surprised you today, what made you laugh today, what hurt your heart today, what inspired you today?
The Intersection of Our Personal and Professional Lives
When it comes to work-life balance, we know there will be seasons where we will be out of balance and will need to give ourselves and others grace. Some seasons, our careers are going to get more attention, and some seasons, our families are going to require more. Just ask the parents who home-schooled this year! The pandemic magnified that our work lives and personal lives are essentially integrated. I recently heard someone say how work-life integration looks more like a plate of spaghetti than a bento box.
I am proud to be part of an organization that appreciates my whole self—personally and professionally—and am honored to support our clients in helping them achieve their goals. At CCM, we help clients bring intentionality to the intersection of their personal and professional lives, allowing them to leverage their wealth in the ways most important to them.
NOTE: The information provided in this article is intended for clients of Carlson Capital Management. We recommend that individuals consult with a professional adviser familiar with their particular situation for advice concerning specific investment, accounting, tax, and legal matters before taking any action.