Most of the time, our words here focus on ways to grow your RIA business or improve your operations. Sometimes, though, we need to think about work in a different way — as in why we do it in the first place. It’s not just about providing basic sustenance, because if that’s all we wanted, we could have chosen less challenging work, and let someone else worry about making the payroll each month. We do what we do because we want to make a certain lifestyle possible. We work so that we can enjoy life.

Look back at the last month, and ask yourself how much time you actually devoted to enjoying life. Now do it again, only be honest with yourself this time. If you’re like most RIA firm owners, work and its associated stresses tend to carve away at your time for fun. So how can you restore the proper balance? It’s hard to make big changes, but see what trying small steps like these can accomplish:

Schedule downtime. That may seem like a contradiction in terms, but one way to make sure you have time for enjoyable activities is to block it out. Whether it’s a weekly date with your spouse, game night with the kids, or making sure you play eighteen holes at least twice a week, carve out that time and protect it.

Unplug. Thanks to technology, you can always be at the office. Unfortunately, that means you never leave work behind. When the evening arrives, shut your computer off, put your phone in do not disturb mode, and promise not to check it for at least two hours. Time seems to move more slowly when we’re not tied to tech.

Move and meditate. We treat exercise and time for reflection as luxuries when they’re actually vital to our physical, mental, and emotional health. Regular exercise will help you burn off stress and increase your energy level. The same is true for meditation, yoga, and attending worship services. They help us refocus on what’s more important than the S&P 500.

Don’t waste time. Are you involved in unproductive activities? Spending time with people you don’t particularly like? Guard every hour of your day jealousy, and don’t give a single minute to activities that you don’t enjoy, or people who frustrate and annoy you. That leaves more time for important people and enjoyable activities.

Stop short of perfect. Many RIA firm owners are perfectionists. While that’s helped them build successful careers and businesses, it can create unnecessary stress. Do a great job, but don’t invest extra effort to make incremental changes that really won’t make a difference.

Do a little at a time. If these steps sound impossible, start small. Give yourself goals you can realistically attain. Everyone can find just 15 to 20 minutes a day to take a walk, relax to favorite music, or read. When you start making time to do the things that bring you joy, you’ll find that it’s easier to do more of them more often. Soon, you’ll be back in balance!

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The materials in this paper are for informational purposes only.