It’s the first week of April and anyone who is an accountant—or is close with one—knows that it’s just about the most stressful time of any accountant’s year. We’re buried in tax forms, corralling extensions, pumping out financials, and debating whether coffee can be delivered via IV to save time from having to walk to the break room for a pick-me-up. But, you can do better than just survive the stress. You can thrive. And, in case you missed our tips on how to get through busy season, we have some tips to help you and your team get across the finish line.
Take a Breather
We know… this sounds counter-intuitive. But, stay with us for a minute. Virtually every specialist who deals with stress talks about breathing exercises. This is so well known, that even a basic Google search immediately provides the steps, in addition to links. Yet, so few of us do this. We recommend taking a 5-minute break hourly. Shut your office door or go somewhere you can unwind for a few minutes. Do some basic breathing exercises, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. This will help calm you down a bit and keep you more alert and focused when you return to your desk.
Keep an Accurate To-Do List
Stress is often caused by confusion or uncertainty. Reduce this by keeping an up-to-date task list. We personally update ours three times a day: after reviewing our morning e-mail, prior to eating lunch, and again prior to leaving the office at night. Why? The first is to get the day centered and prioritized – what needs to happen and in what order. The second is simply a matter of mid-day housekeeping and crossing off what was accomplished in the morning. The third is the most important; it clarifies the list so we can sleep better knowing that we won’t forget about anything.
Seriously! Quit trying to power through lunch by either not eating or eating some unhealthy snack. Get your body and mind the nutrients they need to push through the afternoon. Have a healthy lunch with lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. If you’re pressed for time, whip up a salad and put it into a plastic container the night before so that you can grab it quickly in the morning. At the very least, take 15 minutes. Don’t answer e-mail and don’t do work. Just eat and breathe. You’ll get everything done. We promise!
Shut Down Technology at Night
A cell phone buzzing all night long, lighting up your bedroom, is not going to set you up for an all-important good night’s sleep. Either utilize the glorious Do Not Disturb function on your phone or turn it off completely. Oh, and do it before you start winding down for the night. We recommend doing so an hour before you intend to go to bed. Spend that hour doing something completely non-work related. Read a novel or watch some TV, but try not to use your cell phone or computer.
Schedule Your Post-Season Downtime
It’s always good to create a motivator for yourself. After Tax Season, we like to take a short vacation with our families to reconnect. However, that’s only one of many options. Maybe it’s something as simple as an elusive date night. Maybe you go hiking the first weekend after the deadline, or enjoy a scheduled night out with your friends to blow off some steam. Or maybe it’s a night on your Xbox destroying some delivery pizza and beer. Whatever you do, schedule it during the season so you have something to look forward to. Having something to look forward to will help you push through the worst of it. It’s the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.”
We’re almost to the end of the season. All it takes are a few quick tweaks to finish strong.