Calling all tax preparers! Are the long hours getting to you yet? Are you stressed out and thinking there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything? Have no fear, April 18th is almost here. This is about the time when tax preparers are ready to throw in the towel or chew someone’s head off. It’s okay. It happens. To help you avoid burnout, here are seven tips to help you stay balanced during this tax season. And, if you haven’t yet read my article on how slowing down can increase your productivity, catch it here.
7 Tips to avoid burnout:
- Take a break. This will help you maintain your focus much better. Grab a quick cup of coffee or glass of water. Walk the dog. Run an errand. Whatever it takes to get you up & away from your desk. When you return to the task at hand, you will be refreshed and ready to carry on.
- Take time to exercise. Stop for 5 minutes and do some stretching exercises. Act silly. Flail your arms. Kick your legs. Make sure you work out the kinks. Not only will your muscle and bones thank you, but you’ll come back to your computer refreshed.
- Take time to eat nutritionally. Ok, how many of you are eating a bag of chips and living on coffee? Take the time to stop and eat a healthy meal. It doesn’t have to be gourmet but it should be nutritious. When we are busy, we often neglect nutrition. Even if you prepare a few healthy snacks the night before, you are better off than eating a bag of chips.
- Make sure you spend time with your family & friends. Too often the days go by and we keep saying “sorry, too busy for that”. If you need to, put family/friend time on your schedule. They don’t want to see you hibernate in your office for four months at tax time. Spend some quality time with them.
- Networking is a great way to blow off some steam and to keep growing your business. Take an hour or two and attend a luncheon. Join in on a Chamber event or a BNI meeting. Maybe you could meet with some other tax preparers. It’s a great way to blow off a little steam, share like circumstances, and get some pep talks.
- Learn to say “no”. No, you cannot take on one more task. Don’t stretch yourself so thin that you are running from commitment to commitment trying to please everyone. This is a very busy season for you. Give yourself permission to say “no” and be comfortable with it. Practice in the mirror. You can do it.
And here’s my personal favorite tip
7. Dream of your vacation. I’m serious. When you are too tired to do anything else, visit a travel agent or look for top vacation spots that you want to visit. Make plans for the well-deserved vacation. This is a great way to escape for awhile.
Honestly, you’ll thank me later…
Believe me, I am a culprit of all of these things at times. We all are. What’s important is that you can fix it. Start today. Set the timer to remind you to take breaks every couple of hours or to do some stretching hourly. Hungry? Grab an apple. Is it a beautiful afternoon? Take the kids to the park for an hour. Ready to blow? Find someone you can talk to and work out the issue. Learn to say the word “No” (it does get easier with time). And, finally, make those plans for your dream vacation.
I know you are passionate about quality work and getting the job done. But, you also need to take care of yourself so that you are able to continue your work. It all starts with you. Take care of “you” by pacing yourself and following these tips. Remember, you only get one “you” so remember to take care of yourself. What’s that great saying: “this too shall pass?” Well, hang in there tax preparers — it’s only two weeks more and you can do it!