Winning The Battle With Busyness

Whether you’re in public or private accounting, on a scale of 1 – 10, how busy are you?  Have you noticed that busyness is almost like an expected part of the job, almost as normal as having a computer or a calculator?

Do you feel like being busy has become a badge of honor, a way to showcase your hard work and dedication?

As accountants, we often use words like “kind of,” “super,” and “crazy” to tell people just how busy and packed our schedules are. It’s like busyness has become the normal way of life.

You might find yourself saying things like:

“I’m super busy at work, but I’m still managing everything.”

“My life is so crazy busy; I don’t know if I can take it anymore.”

Think about it: if an accountant doesn’t talk about being busy, some might think they’re just not working hard enough.

In fact, I was once walking behind two accountants in the hallway in my building during tax season, and one said to the other, “Did you see that Joe’s car wasn’t in the parking lot last night?”  The other accountant said, “Well, he must not be very good at what he does.”

Here’s the thing: somewhere along the line, we collectively started to believe that busyness is just how things are, and stress is the only way to get everything done. If you’re stuck thinking that being an accountant means you have to be busy all the time, I’ve got a better way for you to handle it—a way that will make you feel much better and be more effective.

The truth is that you don’t have to accept that busyness is a fact of life. You have more power than you might realize to win the battle against busyness without giving up anything important.

In this episode I want to show you simple ways to change your thinking, redefine how you see busyness, and take control of your time. 

The Busyness Illusion

Now let’s dive into the busyness illusion and why it’s so important to understand, especially for accountants.  .

Have you ever noticed that busyness is like an unspoken expectation in our profession? It’s like we’ve collectively accepted it as a given. 

But what if I told you that this perceived busyness isn’t an inevitable reality? It’s more of a shared perspective, a lens through which we’ve come to view our work.

Busyness is a bit like a language we all speak. We use words like “kind of,” “super,” and “crazy” to convey just how busy our schedules are.  

But here’s the thing – when we describe ourselves as “busy,” what we’re really doing is sharing our thoughts, not stating an indisputable fact.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting: busyness is subjective. It’s not the same for everyone. What feels insanely busy to one person might be another’s regular Tuesday. It’s all about how we perceive and talk about it.

It’s important to understand the power of our language. The words we use to describe our busyness play a huge role in shaping our perception of it. 

If you’re constantly saying, “I’m swamped” or “My day is insanely busy,” your brain starts to believe it. It’s like a mental shortcut, where the more you say it, the more real it becomes. 

Your brain then gets wired to see everything through the lens of busyness.

So, here’s the thing: the illusion of busyness is partly created by the way we talk about it. Our use of words makes busyness seem like this unstoppable force. But what if we could change the script?

Imagine swapping “I’m crazy busy” with “I’ve got a lot on my plate, but I’ve got it under control.” It’s a subtle shift, but it changes the narrative. You’re still acknowledging your workload, but you’re not letting busyness take the wheel.

The hard truth is that busyness is an opinion, not a fact. It’s not a binding contract; it’s a way of thinking that we can, and should, challenge and reshape. 

Why?  Because of how it makes us feel and how it affects our ability to get more done in less time.

I want to help you rethink how you talk about your day because changing your language will be the key to breaking free from the busyness trap.

Why Language Matters

Now let’s dive into the power of language and how it shapes the way we perceive busyness.

When you say you’re “busy,” you’re not just stating a fact like saying the sky is blue. You’re sharing your thoughts about your day. It’s like painting a picture with words, and the colors you choose matter.

Think of it this way: the subjective nature of busyness means it’s not the same for everyone. What feels super busy to you might be a walk in the park for someone else. It’s all about how we talk about it and the words we choose.

Changing the language we use to describe our day is a game-changer. Why?  Because our language is what creates our feelings and our feelings drive our actions, inactions, and reactions.

In other words, saying something like “I’m crazy busy” is going to create a feeling of overwhelm.  And when you feel overwhelmed, you’re not going to be the most efficient at getting work done because you’ll probably complain, procrastinate, catastrophize, and do easier things.

Instead of saying, “I’m crazy busy,” what if you said, “I’ve got a lot on my plate, but I’m handling it”? 

See the shift? It’s not denying your workload, but framing it in a way that doesn’t make busyness the boss of you.

The most important thing is how you would feel if you said, “I’ve got a lot on my plate, but I’m handling it.”  You’d definitely feel less overwhelmed and probably feel more in control.

And when you felt more in control, you’d stop complaining, you’d stop procrastinating, you’d put together a plan to get things done, and you’d be much more efficient.

The language we use as accountants plays a sneaky role in feeding the busyness mindset. Imagine saying things like:

“I’m swamped at work; I can’t handle it all.”

“My life is crazy busy; I don’t have time for anything else.”

These phrases create a mental groove in our brains, like a worn-out path our thoughts follow. The more we use negative language, the more deeply ingrained it becomes, making busyness feel like an inescapable reality.

But what if you flipped the script? Instead of saying, “I can’t handle it all,” try, “I’ve got challenges, but I’m finding solutions.” 

Notice the shift from helplessness to empowerment? It’s not just wordplay; it’s changing the story you’re telling yourself which in turn changes how you feel and how you act.

The fascinating thing about language is that it isn’t just a tool for communication; it’s a tool for shaping your reality. If you keep saying, “I’m too busy for this,” your brain starts to believe it, making it harder to find moments of calm.

So, here’s your challenge: catch those negative language patterns. When you hear yourself saying, “I’m so busy,” pause and reframe it. 

Instead of being a victim of busyness, become the architect of your day. Choose words that reflect a sense of control and balance.

Remember, it’s just as easy to use language in a way that empowers you as it is to use it to disempower you.  


The Power Of Intentional Thoughts

Now let’s talk about the power of intentional thoughts and how it holds the key to transforming our perception of busyness.

I suggest that you start seeing your thoughts as little architects shaping the blueprint of your day. Battling busyness starts right here, in the intentional selection of your thoughts. 

By choosing your thoughts purposefully, you put yourself in charge of how you feel.  The reason that’s important is because your feelings fuel your actions and describing yourself as busy just creates the feeling of overwhelm.

Do you know what doesn’t help you get accounting work done, effectively and efficiently?  The feeling of overwhelm.  As I like to tell my coaching clients, it’s like putting the parking brake on and trying to drive 100 mph.  

Here’s the thing about thoughts: they aren’t just fleeting visitors in your mind; they’re like guests who decide to stick around. When you repeat a thought, it creates a neural pathway in your brain, making it easier for your brain to automatically think it without your awareness.  

It’s like a well-worn path – the more you tread it, the easier it becomes to follow.

The truth is that thoughts literally wire themselves into your brain. It’s like building a network of connections. 

So, if you keep thinking, “I’m always so busy and stressed,” guess what? Your brain wires itself to believe this is your reality.

Thankfully, we’re not stuck with these wiring patterns. We’re more like electricians with the power to rewire our brains. It’s all about choosing thoughts that serve us better.

So instead of letting your thoughts run on autopilot, you need to consciously choose ones that are useful and helpful.  Here are some suggestions for how to do just that:

Acknowledge Your Challenges: Instead of saying, “I can’t handle this workload,” try, “I’ve got challenges, but I’m finding solutions.” It shifts you from feeling overwhelmed to being a proactive problem-solver.

Focus on Solutions: When faced with a problem, think about possible solutions rather than dwelling on the problem itself. It’s like flipping a switch from “This is impossible” to “Let’s figure this out.”

Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge the little victories in your day. Completing a task, no matter how small, deserves a mental high-five. It reinforces a positive mindset.

Become Aware: Begin to notice when you describe yourself as “busy.”  When you do, also notice how you feel when you describe yourself as busy.  My coaching clients have said it’s shocking when they started to keep a tally of when they described themselves as “busy.”

Remember, it’s not about denying the challenges or pretending you don’t have things to do. It’s about choosing thoughts that empower you to face those challenges with a sense of control and efficiency.

Rewiring Your Brain For Productivity

Now let’s talk about rewiring your brain for productivity and reshaping how we perceive busyness.

The first thing you need to understand when it comes to your brain is a concept called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections based on your experiences and thoughts. 

In other words, you have the power to rewire your brain.  So no matter how long you’ve been wearing the busy badge, you can do something about it.

Why is it important to win the battle with busyness?  Because wearing the badge of busyness comes at a cost. It might seem like you’re thriving, but beneath the surface, it’s leading to stress, burnout, and a perpetual cycle of overwhelm.

Here are a few of the reasons why you will want to rewire your brain when it comes to busyness:  

Avoiding Burnout: There’s no denying the fact that busyness often leads to burnout. Constantly feeling overwhelmed and stressed can take a toll on your well-being. By rewiring your brain, you can break free from this cycle and find a more sustainable way to navigate your workload.

Enhancing Productivity: Wearing busyness as a badge doesn’t necessarily translate to being productive. It might create an illusion of productivity, but the key is effectiveness over sheer volume. Rewiring your brain helps you focus on strategic thinking and prioritization, leading to enhanced productivity without the unnecessary stress.

Here are some examples of what’s possible when you win the battle with busyness:  

From Chaos to Control: Imagine you often boast about how chaotic your day is, believing it showcases your hard work. Rewiring that unhelpful thought might sound like this: “I can organize my day to ensure high-impact tasks are handled efficiently.” This shift from describing chaos versus control not only changes your perspective but also guides you toward a more controlled and effective approach.

Prioritizing Impact Over Volume: If you find yourself glorifying a mountain of tasks, consider rewiring to emphasize impact. Instead of saying, “I have a ton of work,” shift to “I focus on tasks that have the most significant impact, delivering quality over quantity.” This not only reshapes your narrative but also directs your energy toward more effective productivity.

In essence, rewiring your brain is about trading the badge of busyness for one of effectiveness and well-being. It’s acknowledging that success isn’t measured by the volume of tasks but by the impact of your efforts. 

Becoming a Smarter Accountant: How To Win The Battle With Busyness

Now let’s talk about steps to become a Smarter Accountant by winning the battle against busyness.

Step 1: Prioritize Strategic Thinking Over Perpetual Busyness

As accountants, it’s time to shift from being perpetually busy to strategically effective. Instead of glorifying constant chaos, focus on strategic thinking. For example, replace the thought, “I’m always swamped with tasks,” with “I strategically prioritize tasks to maximize impact.”  Remember, how you think creates how you feel.  If you want to feel less overwhelmed and more in control, you have to change how you think about the work that needs to be done.

Step 2: Embrace the Power of Saying No

Being a Smarter Accountant also means understanding the value of your time. Don’t be afraid to say no to tasks that don’t align with your priorities. For instance, shift from “I can’t say no; I have too much on my plate” to “I can strategically choose tasks that align with my priorities.”

Step 3: Implement Time-Blocking for Efficiency

Winning the battle with busyness requires a tactical approach to time management. Use time-blocking to allocate specific periods for focused work. Shift from “My day is a chaotic race against time” to “I strategically time-block to ensure efficiency and focus on high-priority tasks.”

Step 4: Leverage Technology for Automation

Smarter Accountants harness the power of technology. Automate repetitive tasks to free up valuable time. Change the narrative from “I’m buried in manual tasks” to “I strategically leverage automation tools to enhance efficiency and accuracy.”

Step 5: Cultivate a Positive Work Environment

Create a work environment that fosters productivity and well-being. Shift from “I’m constantly stressed in this chaotic office” to “I can create a positive work environment for myself.”

Step 6: Regularly Assess and Adjust Strategies

Being a Smarter Accountant is an ongoing process. Regularly assess your strategies and be willing to adjust. Move from “I’m stuck in this overwhelming routine” to “I can assess and adjust my strategies to optimize efficiency and well-being.”

Remember, winning the battle with busyness is not about eliminating tasks but about redefining success. Becoming a Smarter Accountant means winning the battle with busyness so that you can have a more sustainable career.  

Well, that’s what I have for you.  Thank you for joining me as I shared how to win the battle with busyness.  I hope you’ve gained valuable insights and practical tips.

If you are struggling with any aspect of being an accountant, you can simply go to and book a free session with me.

I’ll explain The Smarter Accountant 6-week Program and how you can apply it to whatever you’re struggling with.

So make sure you check back each week as I help you go from being a stressed accountant to a Smarter Accountant.

Make sure you go to and take The Smarter Accountant Quiz. You’re going to want to know if you’ve been underutilizing your accountant brain so that you have a starting point for becoming a Smarter Accountant..

Also, I would appreciate it if you could get the word out to other accountants about this podcast.  The more accountants find out about it, the more we can begin to change the narrative in the accounting profession.

The truth is that you’re already smart, but this podcast will show you how to be smarter.

Your Brain’s Role In Navigating Year-End Reviews

Today we’re going to discuss something we’re all pretty familiar with  – the annual year-end reviews for accountants.

Once the holidays pass, it’s that time of the year again, where performance evaluations take center stage. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your accounting career, the year-end review is like the grand finale of your work-year performance. 

But here’s the thing – I’m not just going to be talking about the review itself; I’m going to be diving into how important it is to understand your accountant brain when it comes to year-end reviews, feedback, and criticism.  

If you’re about to receive your year-end review, there’s probably some anticipation, a bit of nervousness, and maybe even some excitement. It’s the time when your efforts, achievements, and maybe a hiccup or two, take the spotlight.

Before you go in for your review, it’s important to understand that your brain is the ultimate feedback filter. Your brain is like a mental sorting hat, deciding what’s a fact, what’s just someone’s opinion, and how it all fits into your existing thoughts about your work.

The key is understanding the difference between a fact and your brain’s interpretation of a fact.  This will make a huge difference in how you see yourself and your work.

If you’re not aware of how your brain works, you may misinterpret feedback for criticism.  The truth is that knowing if someone is genuinely trying to help or not can change how you take in what they’re saying.

But here’s the catch – your brain has this memory game going on. It likes to stick with what it already knows, even if there’s new information.  In other words, if you believe you’re awesome at your job, your brain might hold onto feedback that agrees with that and ignore the rest.

On the other hand, if you’re dealing with self-doubt or imposter syndrome, your brain will interpret feedback as criticism, hold onto anything that adds to your feelings of self-doubt and imposter syndrome, and ignore the rest.

So why should you care about your brain’s role this year?  Because understanding how your brain handles year end reviews isn’t just about getting through it.  It’s about empowering yourself with insights that can shape how you grow in your career. 

Knowing how your accountant brain works can make a real difference.

Get ready for some practical tips, a few “aha” moments, and a clearer path through the year-end review maze. 

The Impact of Year-End Feedback for Accountants

Year-end reviews are a shared experience for many accountants.  It’s that time when supervisors and employees come together to discuss the past year’s experience. 

While we often have the fact of year-end reviews in common, the emotions and expectations that are involved are unique to each accountant.  For most, it’s typically a mix of anticipation, fear, nerves, and perhaps a hint of curiosity. 

Questions like, “How did I perform this year? What feedback am I going to get?” are natural.   It’s like being on a stage with the spotlight on you – it can be a significant moment.

So why does the ritual of year-end reviews matter so much? Because it can become a stepping stone in your career path. 

The feedback you receive during this annual review isn’t merely about applauding successes or highlighting areas for improvement; it can become a roadmap for your professional development. 

Understanding how your contributions are perceived can open doors to growth, such as climbing the corporate ladder or embracing new challenges.

Whether you’re navigating achievements or challenges, remember, it’s all part of the process. But if you’re worried, I’ve got you.  I’m going to be explaining the helpful way to navigate year-end reviews so that it sets you up for success next year.

Your Brain as the Feedback Filter

As I shared before, it turns out that your brain plays a crucial role in how you process feedback, especially during those year-end reviews. 

Your brain isn’t just a storage box for facts and figures; it’s a filter when it comes to feedback. It decides what’s a solid fact, like saying you completed 75% of your tasks accurately, and what’s more of a personal opinion, like someone saying you’re not as proactive as you need to be.

In order to understand your brain better, imagine it as a super-smart organizer at a huge library. When you hear feedback, it’s like it’s sorting through a ton of books. 

Some books are straight-up facts – things everyone would agree on. For example, if your boss says, “You met all your deadlines,” that’s a fact. 

But then, there are opinion books. These are more about how someone feels. If they say, “You have a unique way of tackling challenges,” that’s their opinion.

Now, here’s the tricky part – your brain doesn’t start fresh with every piece of feedback. It brings along what it already believes. 

For example, if you feel you believe you did a good job this year, your brain might grab onto feedback that agrees with that and ignore the rest. It’s like having a favorite flavor of ice cream, and you keep reaching for that one.

But if you believe you didn’t do a good job this year, your brain will grab onto feedback that agrees with that. It’s like your brain has its own library filing system, making sense of the feedback bookshelf.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because understanding this filtering process is like having a backstage pass to your thoughts during reviews. It can give you a front row seat to your brain’s role in processing feedback before, during, and after those crucial year-end reviews.


Your Brain’s Role In Deciphering Feedback Versus Criticism

Think about your daily routine – going to a restaurant, ordering things from Amazon, or checking out that new movie. Everywhere you turn, someone’s asking for feedback. 

It’s like the background music of our lives. We listen to other people’s experiences to decide what to do.

For example, picture planning a vacation. Before I pack my bags, I check Trip Advisor. It’s like a storybook where travelers share their adventures and warnings. 

I read through, absorbing their highs and lows to plan a trip that’s exciting and safe. Even for a simple night out, Open Table reviews become my guide, helping me pick restaurants that people like.

So if we’re so used to giving and reading feedback, why do we dread year-end reviews so much?  We’re swimming in opinions every day, yet when it comes to personal or work feedback, things get tricky. 

One reason is that everyday feedback, like rating a product, doesn’t create an emotional reaction the same way personal or work feedback does. It’s like giving your thoughts on a movie versus being the main actor on the big screen – the emotions are different.

Here’s the thing: Our brains, smart as they are, have a habit. They like things they already know.

When we get personal or work feedback, our brain might automatically filter it through what we already believe about ourselves. This creates a bit of confusion, making it hard to separate useful information from what we already think.

The second thing you need to understand is that your brain has a negativity bias. It’s the tendency of our brains to pay more attention to and give more weight to negative information compared to positive information.

For example, if you get ten compliments and one criticism, your brain might focus more on that one criticism. It’s like having a mental magnifying glass that zooms in on the negative things because, in the ancient days, paying extra attention to potential dangers was crucial for survival.

The third thing you need to understand is cognitive dissonance.  This is when you hold two conflicting beliefs or attitudes at the same time. 

Since our brains like consistency, when we’re taking in information from a year-end review, it can create a mental tug of war.

For example, you love chocolate, but you’re on a diet and know you shouldn’t eat it. That conflict between wanting something and knowing it’s not good for your goal creates cognitive dissonance. 

Your brain doesn’t like this discomfort, so it might try to change one of those beliefs to make them align.

Here’s the interesting part—negativity bias can enhance cognitive dissonance. In other words, because our brains pay more attention to negative things, it can make conflicting beliefs or attitudes feel even more uncomfortable.

In the context of feedback or criticism, negativity bias might make us focus more on the negative aspects, even if there are positives. This can then fuel cognitive dissonance – the discomfort of hearing something negative might clash with our existing belief about ourselves, triggering a mental battle.  

Thankfully, being aware of these brain quirks can help. When you notice yourself zooming in on the negative or feeling uncomfortable with conflicting thoughts, take a step back. 

Ask yourself if there are positive aspects you might be overlooking and try to find a way to bring balance. It’s like giving your brain a little nudge to see the bigger picture.

Becoming a Smarter Accountant: How To Navigate Year-End Reviews

Now let’s talk strategies for making those year-end reviews less of an issue. Here’s your step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Embrace the Positives:

Remember, negativity bias might make you focus on the negatives. Counteract this by deliberately seeking out the positives. Did your manager praise your attention to detail? Did a colleague appreciate your teamwork? Write these down – create a positivity list.

Example: “My manager mentioned I’ve been consistently thorough in financial reports. That’s a win!”

Step 2: Reflect on Growth Areas:

Identify areas where you can improve without letting cognitive dissonance cloud your judgment. Be honest with yourself. Are there aspects you struggled with? Use clear, specific examples to pinpoint areas for growth.

Example: “I noticed my time management slipped a bit during the tax season crunch. I can work on organizing tasks more efficiently.”

Step 3: Proactive Communication:

Don’t let surprises sneak up on you. If there’s something you’re unsure about, ask beforehand. Are you curious about specific aspects of your performance? Reach out to your manager. Clarify expectations and demonstrate your commitment to improvement.

Example: “I’m eager to understand your expectations for my role better. Any specific areas you’d like me to focus on during the review?”

Step 4: Own Your Narrative:

During the review, share your perspective. If there’s a project where you excelled or a challenge you overcame, speak up. This isn’t about boasting but making sure your efforts are acknowledged.

Example: “I faced a steep learning curve on the new software, but I worked extra hours to grasp it, and now it’s become a strong suit.”

Step 5: Feedback as a Stepping Stone:

View feedback as a ladder to climb, not a weight to carry. Whether positive or constructive, every piece of feedback propels you forward. Take what helps you grow and leave behind what doesn’t serve your improvement journey.

Example: “Even though the feedback on client communication was tough, it’s a chance to enhance my client management skills.”

Step 6: Continuous Improvement Mindset:

Remember, it’s not about perfection; it’s about progress. Use the feedback as a roadmap for continuous improvement. Set actionable goals based on the insights gained during the review.

Example: “I aim to enhance my efficiency in handling client questions. I’ll start by implementing a system to prioritize and respond promptly.”

I’ve worked with many clients on year-end-reviews, but one of my clients stands out the most.  She’s a manager at a credit union and has to do a yearly self-review, give that to her manager, and then they discuss where they agree or disagree.

During one of our coaching sessions she was sharing all the negative things she thought her manager was going to say about her.  I’ll be honest – I was really surprised because I knew what a great job she had done throughout the year, but her negative biased brain wasn’t seeing it.

I asked her to tell me the top 3 negative things she believed her manager was going to say.  Then I had her flip them to the opposite.  For example, if she thought her manager was going to say she wasn’t an effective leader this year, we turned it to the opposite – I was an effective leader this year.

Then I asked her to give me 3 examples of how she was an effective leader.  At first she was resistant, but once she got started, she actually gave me 10 examples.

We went down the list of each of the negative things she thought her manager was going to say about her and were able to prove the opposite was truer.  Of course there were areas that needed improvement, but if she let he negatively biased brain dictate her evaluation of herself, she would have missed her incredible growth and contribution to the company.

The funny thing is once she shared her self-review with her boss, he agreed with every positive thing she outlined.  He even agreed with where she said she needed improvement, but he emphasized that she was doing an incredible job.

The truth is that navigating year-end reviews is like steering a ship – you need a clear direction. By focusing on the positives, reflecting on growth areas, communicating proactively, owning your narrative, and seeing feedback as a tool for improvement, you’ll not only survive but thrive in the year-end feedback narrative. 

Well, that’s what I have for you.  Thank you for joining me as I shared how to navigate year-end reviews.  I hope you’ve gained valuable insights and practical tips.

If you are struggling with any aspect of being an accountant, you can simply go to and book a free session with me.

I’ll explain The Smarter Accountant 6-week Program and how you can apply it to whatever you’re struggling with.

So make sure you check back each week as I help you go from being a stressed accountant to a Smarter Accountant.

Make sure you go to and take The Smarter Accountant Quiz. You’re going to want to know if you’ve been underutilizing your accountant brain so that you have a starting point for becoming a Smarter Accountant..

Also, I would appreciate it if you could get the word out to other accountants about this podcast.  The more accountants find out about it, the more we can begin to change the narrative in the accounting profession.

The truth is that you’re already smart, but this podcast will show you how to be smarter.

My Secrets To A 30-Hour Workweek

In the fast-paced world of accounting, where time is one of our most precious assets, the idea of working fewer hours while achieving more might seem impossible. However, I’m here to share my secret to a 30-hour workweek. 

For decades, I’ve been managing my successful accounting career working 30 hours a week,  not by burning the midnight oil, but by understanding a better way to manage my time and how to manage my brain.  

The conventional belief that longer hours automatically translate into greater productivity is a myth I’ve debunked through my own experiences. In today’s episode, I want to share insights, strategies, and the transformative power of brain management that has allowed me to accomplish more than others working 50 hours or more.

Looking back, I can see that my journey into better time management started about 30 years ago after I had my first child.  I was working at Deloitte and there were no part-time positions, however, the Tax Partner didn’t want to lose me so he created the first part-time position in the office for me.

Because I felt so grateful for his recognition of my value, I made it my mission to get as much done in the 3 days a week that I worked at the time, as my coworkers did working 40+ hours a week.  Of course I got the sarcastic, “Working half a day?” comments when I left at 5:30 pm to pick up my daughter from daycare, but the Tax Partner reassured me that he knew I got more done than anyone else, so I should just keep doing what I was doing.

The funny thing is, I’ve learned so much more since then about better time management.  For the past 20+ years I’ve had 30-hour workweeks at my accounting job, and have also been able to write and publish a book, run a coaching business, coach clients, create 2 separate podcasts a week, and enjoy plenty of time with my husband.

How is this possible?  I’ve discovered that the key to success doesn’t necessarily lie in the sheer quantity of hours spent working, but rather in how efficiently we manage our most valuable resource—our brain.

Here’s the thing: More time does not equal more productivity.  In fact, more time often equals diminished quality of work and decision-making abilities. 

I want to help you make a paradigm shift—a shift that places emphasis not just on the number of hours worked but on the quality and efficiency of the hours dedicated to your work.

I’m going to be sharing the fascinating realm of neuroscience, exploring how the brain functions at its best and how we can harness its potential to maximize our professional output. This is not going to be about working harder; it’s about working smarter, and that begins with understanding the connection between our brain and our productivity.  

The Myth Of Longer Hours

I know there are books out there about working less hours, but I can honestly tell you that I haven’t read any of them.  Why?  Because what I’ve been doing for the past 3 decades has been working.

For many of us, especially in public accounting, our time spent is directly tied to the amount we can charge a client.  In fact, for many accountants, there’s a common idea that the more hours you put in, the more successful and productive you’ll be. 

But what if I told you that this belief isn’t true? Let’s challenge the notion that longer work hours automatically mean higher productivity.

Think of it this way: imagine you’re on a road trip. At the beginning of your journey, you’re full of energy and excitement. You drive for hours, making good progress. However, as time goes on, you start to feel tired. Your ability to focus decreases, and the joy of the journey diminishes. 

It’s similar in the world of work. At first, putting in extra hours might feel productive, but just like a long road trip, there’s a point where more hours does not equal more progress.

In fact, as I said before, since I’ve worked a 30-hour workweek, I’m able to get more done than anyone else, working less hours than anyone else.

Here’s the thing: When we work long hours without taking into account various factors that contribute to better time management, the quality of our work decreases, we’re more likely to make mistakes, we struggle to concentrate, and end up feeling stressed. In other words, we are creating diminished returns with our time.

The truth is that working longer doesn’t always mean getting more done—it can actually mean getting less done with lower quality.

Thankfully, by understanding how our brains function and taking steps to optimize their performance, we can achieve more in less time.  And when we can achieve more in less time, a 30-hour workweek isn’t just a dream; it can become a reality.

The Neuroscience Behind Productivity

As I often say in the introduction to this podcast, this is the place where brain science meets accounting.  And I can tell you that nowhere is it more important to understand brain science than when it comes to time management, productivity and achieving a 30-hour workweek.

So the easiest way to explain our brains is that they are like busy command centers. They control everything we do, from solving math problems to making decisions. 

The truth is that understanding the science behind how our brains operate can help us to literally work smarter, not harder. 

When it comes to accounting work, one of the most important things we need to learn is how to improve our focus.  Imagine you’re trying to build a tower with blocks. When you concentrate on each block, the tower stands tall and strong. 

But what happens if you try to build the tower while juggling, listening to loud music, and answering texts? It becomes tricky, right? 

Our brains work the same way. They love focus, and when we overload them with too many tasks, it’s like trying to build that tower while juggling—it gets shaky.

In order to improve your ability to focus you have to get clear about one important thing – what your brain is thinking, especially about the work that has to be done.  

As I shared in my book, “The Smarter Accountant,” our thoughts create our feelings, our feelings drive our actions, and our actions create our results.  If you want to get more done in less time, it all starts with what your brain is thinking.  

For example, let’s say you have a looming deadline for a complex financial report.  If the thought your brain is offering is something like, “I’m never going to finish this on time. It’s too much work,” you’re going to feel overwhelmed.

And when you feel overwhelmed, guess what happens?  You most likely procrastinate doing the report, avoid certain tasks, and constantly worry about not being able to meet the deadline.

And the result?  Incomplete or poorly executed report, heightened stress levels, and a negative impact on your productivity and overall work satisfaction.

But if you were to learn to be more intentional with what you’re choosing to think on purpose, you would be much more productive and be able to get more done in less time.

For example, let’s go with the same example of the looming deadline for a complex financial report.  If instead of letting the default part of your brain think, “I’m never going to finish this on time.  It’s too much work,” you could instead choose to intentionally think, “I can break it down into manageable steps” or “I’ve successfully handled similar reports in the past.” 

An intentional thought like either one of these is going to create a feeling of confidence instead of overwhelm.

And when you feel confident, guess what happens?  You create a detailed plan, break the report into smaller tasks, prioritize efficiently, and focus on one segment at a time.

And the result? A well-organized and completed financial report, reduced stress, and an increased sense of accomplishment.

In both scenarios, the circumstances remain the same—the looming deadline for a complex financial report. However, the thoughts, feelings, and subsequent actions are vastly different. 

By consciously managing your brain by choosing your thoughts intentionally, you can create more useful feelings and actions.  This, in turn, leads to improved productivity and the ability to get more done in less time.  

Remember, your power lies in how you choose to think about and respond to circumstances. 

Intentional Time Management

In the quest for a 30-hour workweek, you also have to learn to be more intentional with your time management.  This is not just for big projects, but for everything that has to get done.

Instead of haphazardly tackling various tasks or going down a to-do list, intentional time management involves making decisions with your higher brain; decisions about what needs to be prioritized, how long you’re giving yourself to get it done, what day, and what time of day.

But here’s what’s missing from everything you’ve ever learned about time management: As I said before, since your feelings drive your actions, if you want to be super productive so that you can have a 30-hour workweek, you have to be intentional about how you need to feel in order to get things done.

One of the biggest mistakes that accountants make is not understanding the power of their feelings.  If you are trying to get work done from the feeling of overwhelm, stress, pressure, confusion, or frustration, you are wasting a lot of time.

In fact, stress and overwhelm are the biggest time wasters for accountants.  Why?  Because those feelings lead to ineffective actions.

Let me share what happens when you feel stressed and overwhelmed, and try to get accounting work done:

Procrastinating:  Feelings of overwhelm and stress can create a sense of paralysis, making it difficult to initiate tasks.  Procrastination sets in as a coping mechanism, delaying essential work and impacting deadlines.

Spinning in Circles: Overwhelm often causes us to feel stuck or trapped, leading to a cycle of spinning in circles without making significant progress.  This perpetual motion without clear direction contributes to time being wasted.

Catastrophizing:  When feeling stressed, there’s a common habit called catastrophizing. This means your brain tends to make problems seem much bigger and scarier than they really are. It’s like turning small challenges into giant, impossible mountains. This way of thinking can make our work seem much harder than it actually is, making it more difficult to get things done efficiently.

Excessive Email Checking: The feeling of stress often drives us to seek distraction through constant email checking.  This not only interrupts focused work but also creates a false sense of busyness without actual productivity.

Avoiding:  Under stress, we will naturally avoid challenging tasks or responsibilities. This avoidance can create a backlog of work and contribute to increased stress in the long run.

Micromanaging:  Overwhelm can lead to a desire for control, resulting in micromanaging every detail.  Instead of focusing on the big, important tasks, you end up spending too much energy on the little things. It’s like trying to organize every single puzzle piece instead of looking at the whole picture. This can make your work less efficient and keep you from doing more impactful tasks.

Perfectionism:  Stress often drives a need for perfection as a way to gain a sense of control.

Striving for perfection can lead to spending excessive time on tasks that may not need such attention.

Indecision:  Overwhelm can create a sense of indecision, making it challenging to make decisions or prioritize tasks.  Indecisiveness can result in time being wasted on overthinking without concrete action.

Overcommitting: Stress often leads us to overcommit in an attempt to meet high expectations.

Overcommitting can spread resources thin, causing burnout and diminishing the quality of work.

Negative Self-Talk: Feelings of stress and overwhelm often accompany negative self-talk,  self-doubt, and imposter syndrome.  Engaging in negative internal dialogue can chip away at our confidence and contribute to a negative mindset.

Lack of Boundaries: Overwhelm often leads to a failure to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Blurred boundaries can result in inefficiency, as work may spill over into personal time without significant productivity.

Overworking: In an attempt to catch up or alleviate stress, we may engage in excessive working hours.  Overworking can lead to burnout, fatigue, and a decline in overall effectiveness.

If you could only see how much more productive and efficient you’d be if you learned how to manage your mind and be more intentional with your feelings and your time management, you’d be blown away.

Becoming a Smarter Accountant: Creating The 30-Hour Workweek

As I shared before, becoming a Smarter Accountant involves a paradigm shift—one that challenges the traditional belief that success hinges solely on working longer hours. 

If creating a 30-hour workweek is important to you, let me share some of the most important factors you need to consider:

Embrace the Power of Time Management Math: Here’s what I tell my time management coaching clients all the time: Effective time management is math, not drama.  Time is like money; it’s limited, and you need to learn how to use it wisely to fit everything into a 30-hour workweek.

Example: I think of completing a tax return in two hours like solving a puzzle. I just need to stay focused, avoid distractions, and plan my time based on the steps involved in completing the tax return. 

Know Your Time Management Personality:  Understanding your unique time management personality is crucial. Time management is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, so knowing what works best for your personality is incredibly helpful.  If you don’t know your time management personality, you can take The Smarter Accountant Time Management Personality Quiz at

Example: I am a classic Early Bird time management personality so getting my most complicated work done early is the best use of my time.  In fact, when I work from home I sit at the computer at 7 am and get more done by noon then most accountants get done in an entire day.

Set Clear Time Constraints:  You need to understand that Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to the time allowed.   Setting strict time limits helps you avoid wasting time and encourages you to work efficiently.

Example: I decide that checking and responding to emails will take a maximum of 30 minutes, preventing unnecessary delays and ensuring timely communication.

Make Decisions Ahead of Time:  Making decisions before you start working is crucial. It’s like planning your route before a road trip. This way, you use the higher, executive functioning part of your brain to plan, reducing stress during the actual work.

Example: I plan as much as I can in advance, always setting up my future self for success.  The more decisions I can make in advance, the easier it is for my primitive brain to follow the plan.

Drop the Perfectionism Mindset:  Understand that perfectionism is a huge time-consuming roadblock.  You can strive for excellence but recognize when a task is “good enough” to maintain efficiency and avoid unnecessary time investment.

Example: I know that accounting is a breeding ground for perfectionism, but I also know that B+ work is better than time wasted trying to make something perfect.  If I want to get everything done in a 30-hour workweek, then done is better than perfect.

Shift from To-Do Lists to Calendaring:  Replace overwhelming to-do lists with a structured calendaring approach.  The truth is that your brain gets easily overwhelmed by to-do lists and you do not want an overwhelmed brain trying to do accounting work.  Allocate specific time slots for each task on your calendar, providing a clear and focused roadmap for the day.

Example: Using a calendar has been the most impactful thing I’ve ever done.  I prefer a combination of a paper calendar for managing my time and a digital calendar for appointment reminders.  I would not be able to get more done in less time without my calendar.

Prioritize Tasks Strategically:  The fact is, your brain thinks everything is urgent.  To avoid this, prioritize tasks based on impact and ease.  Easy/High Impact get done first to create momentum and then Hard/High Impact items go next.  

Example: Effectively prioritizing takes practice, but it’s so worth it.  The few minutes it takes to label and group things by impact and ease, the easier it is to clearly see what needs to be done first.  

Utilize Time Blocking Techniques:  Effective time blocking has been a game-changer for me.  You want to implement time blocking to create dedicated periods for specific types of tasks.

Group similar activities together to maximize efficiency and minimize the cognitive load associated with frequent task switching.

Example: The Container Calendaring process I came up with is my saving grace.  When I’m calendaring the things I need to get done, I’m making decisions about what needs to be done, how long I’m giving myself to get it done, what day, what time, but more importantly, how I need to feel to get it done.  It’s how I’m able to eliminate procrastination.

Embrace Optimal Focus Time:  Research has shown that our brain’s optimal focus time is around 90 minutes. Structure your work around this to be more effective.

Example: I will set a timer on my phone for 90 minutes so that I don’t get caught down a rabbit hole and then burn myself out.  I take short breaks, and then tackle the next task with renewed focus.

Delegate Effectively: Whether it’s at work or at home, you don’t have to do everything yourself.   Delegate tasks to others so you can focus on what you do best.

Example: The things I delegate the most are things where my time could be spent more wisely and effectively.  For example, sourcing out grocery shopping, clothes shopping, and meal prep have been incredible time savers. 

Establish Work-Life Boundaries:  You’re not doing yourself or your ability to work a 30-hour workweek any favors by not having clear boundaries.  Learn to set and respect time boundaries to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Example: This is something I’ve gotten very good at over the years.  When I say I work 30 hours a week, I truly mean only 30 hours a week (unless it’s tax season; I’ll work an additional 6 hours a week during tax season).  My boundaries around my time are clear and I have no problem setting them with clients, colleagues, or anyone else.

Monitor and Analyze Time Usage:  Regularly check how you’re spending your time. It’s like looking at your expenses to see where you can save money. Regular time audits help you make informed decisions about what needs to be adjusted or improved.

Example: You’ll be amazed if you do a weekly time audit.  It was so helpful to become aware of time spent on client meetings, project planning, and administrative tasks, allowing me to identify areas for optimization.

Foster a Culture of Efficiency:  Encourage your team to find ways to save time. It’s like everyone working together to make the workplace more efficient.

Example: Because I’m a Certified Professional Coach for accountants and I specialize in time management, I have the pleasure of coaching other accountants, weekly.  It is my passion to teach accountants how to be smarter and work smarter.  

Learn to Manage Your Mind: The Secret to Effective Time Management:  Hands down, the single most important thing you absolutely need to learn in order to have a 30-hour work week is mind management.  

Managing your mind is the ultimate key to effective time management. It’s about understanding and directing your thoughts and feelings, which directly influence how you use your time. When you can control your mind, you make more intentional decisions, reduce stress, and enhance your overall productivity.

Mind management involves recognizing unhelpful thoughts, reframing them, and consciously choosing thoughts that support your time management goals. I promise you that a 30-hour workweek isn’t possible without learning how to manage your mind.  

Making a 30-hour work week happen involves using smart strategies for managing your mind and your time, planning things out carefully, and focusing on efficiency rather than trying to be perfect. When you follow these steps, you’re on your way to getting the most out of your work time and finding success in a shorter amount of time. 

Just remember, the key is to work smarter, not longer.

Well, that’s what I have for you.  Thank you for joining me as I shared my secret to a 30-hour workweek.  I hope you’ve gained valuable insights and practical tips.

If you are struggling with any aspect of being an accountant, you can simply go to and book a free session with me.

I’ll explain The Smarter Accountant 6-week Program and how you can apply it to whatever you’re struggling with.

So make sure you check back each week as I help you go from being a stressed accountant to a Smarter Accountant.

Make sure you go to and take The Smarter Accountant Quiz. You’re going to want to know if you’ve been underutilizing your accountant brain so that you have a starting point for becoming a Smarter Accountant..

Also, I would appreciate it if you could get the word out to other accountants about this podcast.  The more accountants find out about it, the more we can begin to change the narrative in the accounting profession.

The truth is that you’re already smart, but this podcast will show you how to be smarter.