If you’re approaching tax filing season – you’re probably already aware how stressful it’s going to be. It’s the same every year – but it needn’t be. Thankfully, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to give you 14 tax-season-busting tips so that you can actually make a better go of things this time around. Some of these tips are simple, but you’d be surprised how many people make the same mistakes again and again. Tax season needn’t be that stressful, so let’s have a look at the tips:
1. Minimize distractions
Make sure your friends, family and work colleagues know that you’re going to be quite busy over the next few weeks. You need them there as support rather than as distractions. While you’ll still need some semblance of social life in tax season, and they could serve as a welcome break – try not to arrange any major commitments or other stressful duties during tax season. Keep extra-curricular activities to a minimum and spend most of your time and energy on the job.
2. Delegate other duties
If you’re part of a busy workplace – you’re probably going to have quite a few other duties. If you can, find someone who can do them for you. Delegate other office tasks to other colleagues so that you can put all your energy into the tax returns. This works at home, too. If you’ve got major responsibilities that take up a lot of your schedule – try asking friends or family to take care of them for a few weeks. It’ll be worth it.
3. Switch your emails off
While you shouldn’t completely disconnect yourself from the outside world, you need to minimize distractions while you’re actually working – especially in the really busy and stressful parts. While you shouldn’t switch off your emails all day, give yourself a break from them for a few hours while you do the bulk of your tax work. You don’t want those little pings and pop-ups distracting you from the job at hand when often any distraction could be enough to stop you from doing the work that needs to be done.
4. Unplug the phone
Again, don’t do this for the entire day – you still need to be reachable. But try not to have your cell on you for a few hours while you’re at the desk. This is a bit like shutting off your emails – but cell phones can be one of the biggest procrastinating tools around. You don’t have to literally unplug your landline, try getting your receptionist to take messages and only forward the most important calls to you.
5. Take a break
You should be working hard and steadily through your tax return – but you’ll still need a break. Just a half an hour during the day can give you enough to make the afternoon much more productive.
6. Take an easy lunch
Don’t eat out every day – not only can that take up quite a lot of your schedule, overeating can make you sluggish and less productive in the afternoon. Avoid massive meals and time-consuming trips to a restaurant – but still, give yourself a nice healthy break during the day.
7. Don’t rush
You know you’ve got a lot to get through, so you want to rush it – right? You shouldn’t. Work through things methodically and don’t let it get on top of you. Manage bite-size amounts every day and don’t think about the tons of work you’ve still got to do.
8. Use the right software
The right tax software can help you a lot. It used to be difficult to file receipts and keep things in order – but it’s a lot easier with the right tech suite. Some of this software will do most of the hard work for you, so make sure you invest when the time’s right.
9. Scan everything
Getting everything onto your computer can make things a lot easier, so scan everything as and when you get it to reduce the workload when it’s tax season.
10. File things correctly throughout the year
How well you do in tax season will depend heavily on how well you are prepared for it throughout the year. Don’t give yourself too much work when the pressure is on by having to sort through and re-organize everything. Having things in the right place already can save you a lot of time and hassle. If you need a bit more advice on correct filing along with a load of other useful info for tax season, this post should help.
11. Get outside
You’re going to be stuck inside a lot during tax season – and this isn’t good for mood levels and productivity. A brisk 15-minute walk every day can do you a huge amount of good, reduce stress and make you more productive when you get back in the office.
12. Make backups
You don’t want to risk having a power cut or make a mistake when saving your work – so make regular backups and store them somewhere safe. You don’t want to have to do the same work again because you messed up somewhere, especially in an already stressful tax season – so make regular backups.
13. Use productivity apps
There are actually apps out there that should be able to help you reduce distractions, monitor your work and keep on top of things. Try one and see if it works for you.
14. Get a good night’s sleep
How well you do during tax season will depend a lot on how relaxed you are – so make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep every night so that you’re ready to go in the morning. If that means avoiding a few social events and getting an early night, then so be it – it’ll be worth it in the long-run.
Hopefully, these fourteen tips have been enough to get you started. Tax season shouldn’t be that stressful if you take things slowly and work properly – and if you’ve made the right decisions leading up to it. Make tax season as painless as possible.