So if you can’t tell by now- it’s officially busy season. The work days are getting longer, the weekends are becoming non existent, and you are feeling overwhelmed with your growing “to-do” list. While there is no escaping the fact that busy seasons are hard work, they do not have to be as brutal as you often hear them being described. With proper planning and balanced expectations, we will all make it out of this busy season in one piece.
Don’t Freak Out
With the never-ending list of major tax reform changes, indeed this busy season will be intense. It is important to understand that you will need to be intentional about getting familiar with the changes. It is not possible, or efficient, to know every tax law. However, familiarizing yourself with the legislation that you will be working with mostly can save you a lot of frustration in the end. Everyone around you may be freaking out about the many changes but you do not have to join them in this sentiment. Will there be a learning curve and much greater effort needed to get through this busy season? Of course there will. However, you should conserve your energy to focus on the things that you can control. Unless you have the ability to influence legislation- your primary focus should be to learn all you can about the things that impact your job.
You should expect that you will no longer be working 8 hours days or hitting up your favorite brunch spot on Sundays. Your schedule this time of year is going to have less flexibility. If you plan strategically, you can still fit in a few non-work related activities. It’s helpful to plan your work looks out for the week. This way you can get to work on time each day and still slay your office outfits. I have created this spreadsheet to help me schedule out my weeks. It’s super basic but you can adjust accordingly.
The key to making it to the April 15th deadline alive is to stay healthy. Every sense of the word health needs to be kept in mind during this time. When you are working between 65-75 hours per week, you can start to feel like a zombie. Minding you mental and physical health is key.
Protect yourself from the inevitable, yet totally unnecessary, germs that will spread around the office. Keep a tidy work area, dust often, and sanitize. If you are already stressed at work, stacks of paper and empty takeout containers will only make you feel more overwhelmed.
Minding your mental and spiritual health is also critically important. Now I know that I can be overly “earthy” and you’re probably rolling your eyes right now, but hear my out. There is science (not sure what kind- but it’s out there) to prove that you perform better when your mind and spirit is balanced. You may be dealing with personal issues, but do not allow work to contribute to your stress. You must protect your peace at all costs. Set aside a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness. Whether this is prayer, journaling, or deep breathing- do it!
This is the time of year when clients will try to sabotage your diet- so stay strong. Clients tend to send over baked goods as a thank you for service, which is a nice gesture, but causes the hips to spread. Try to limit your intake of junk food. You can do this by bringing your own healthy snack options and finding an accountability partner. Let someone know that you are trying to live your best, healthy life and give them permission to call you out when they see you reaching for brownies.
Overall, busy season is a difficult time of year, but you won’t die. Stay focused, stay organized, and stay healthy. Remember that no tax return formed against shall prosper and you will be just fine.