4 Practical Tips for a Better Consulting Work-Life Balance
Long working hours and frequent travels! Does that sound familiar?
Working as a consultant is both challenging and rewarding. The rewards are obvious: a great salary, working with the brightest people in the world, and the sense of satisfaction that is gained by solving complex problems.
However, maintaining a normal work-life balance may be a challenge for most consultants. But do great consultants back away from challenges? Absolutely not! Instead, they find a solution!
In this article, we will share four practical tips with you so that you can face this challenge like a boss.
Only Focus On Consulting-Related Work
Collecting and analyzing data, solving problems, offering solutions, and traveling for work is definitely part of life as a consultant. However, you don’t have to go to the supermarket yourself to do the weekly shopping, you don’t have to clean your house yourself, you don’t have to collect your dry-cleaned clothes from the laundry yourself, you don’t have to pick up the kids from school yourself. Delegate all non-consulting related work to someone else, whether it's a friend, family member, or assistant.
Management consulting work-life balance is achievable if the only work you do is related to consulting. Spreading your energy and focus everywhere may leave you stressed. You must remember that a successful career in consulting will require you to be energetic, so conserve your valuable energy by only using it for your consulting-related tasks. As mentioned in Arianna Huffington’s quote below, the amount of time you put in at work doesn’t define how productive you are, it’s what you do during those hours that matters. And when you’re tired because of doing extra work apart from consulting work, you probably won’t be able to give your 100%.
Take Advantage of Modern Technology
If it’s 6 PM on a Wednesday, and you are already done with work and heading to a friend's b’day party, ask yourself: “Will this action help me wake up early in the morning tomorrow?” The answer is probably no. So, what should you do then? Well, you can always attend parties virtually through video calls. Consider doing it if you need to. This way, you will not be “absent” from the party and you'll also have the energy to be productive the next day. A career in consulting will require you to make such sacrifices from time to time. But technology can help you bridge the gap if you know how and when to use it.
And this was just one more-extreme example. Technology can help you maintain the management consulting work-life balance in many different ways. For instance, you can use healthcare-related devices, such as Fitbit, that keep a track of your heart rate, quality of sleep, temperature, etc. And if you’re a freelance consultant, you should use online consulting platforms to find new exciting projects instead of attending dozens of networking events or cold-calling prospects. All you have to do is send your profile to a reputable online consulting platform and wait. They will approach you whenever a project that matches your skill set comes up. How convenient!
Exercise Your Mind as Well as Body
Working as a consultant means that your schedule will always be packed with tasks. But even a 15-minute workout is better than no exercise at all. And if going to the gym is not an option, then you can try other methods for staying active. For example, if your office is on the fifteenth floor, you can use the elevator to reach the tenth floor and use stairs to climb the rest of the floors. In order to maintain a healthy management consulting work-life balance, you need to be physically strong. Well, not as strong as a bodybuilder, but strong enough to do some strenuous activity from time to time.
Look at the Bigger Picture
Highly successful people have one thing in common, they work hard for a few years and reap the rewards later in life. Consulting is the same. A career in consulting, whether it’s twenty years long or five years long, can take you to the next level in life. If you stay the course for longer, you could become a senior partner and earn more money than ever. And if you choose to exit after a few years, you could start your own business or become a freelance consultant with a flexible schedule.
Also, working as a consultant helps you in your personal life as well. You will learn how to solve problems and come up with solutions. And a person who can find solutions is most certainly a valuable asset to the world. If your consulting work-life balance goes off the track at some point, just remember to look at the bigger picture. Remind yourself where this journey is taking you and imagine the view from the top. This will help you stay motivated.
In conclusion, consulting work-life balance is not impossible to achieve if you follow certain steps, like only focusing on consulting-related work, leveraging technology, and staying physically and mentally fit. However, if things don’t go your way, for example, if you feel tired at work someday or if you miss dinner with family, don’t let it ruin your day. Instead, focus on the bigger picture.