For accountants, the first few months of the year are usually the most stressful. As you enter into the 2014 tax season, you can implement strategies to help avoid tax stress. In doing so, you will reduce the chance of illness and burnout and set the tone for a productive, healthy year.
For people who work in the accounting industry, tax time involves a high level of contact with emotional clients who are experiencing high levels of stress. When you spend a great deal of time in proximity to these heightened emotions, it is not uncommon to find yourself taking on the same feelings. To make matters worse, you will be dealing with deadlines and a heavier workload, which leads to even more anxiety. By finding and implementing ways to avoid tax stress before your workload gets out of control, you can mitigate the negative effects.
For accountants, it is not uncommon to spend eighty or more hours in the office during tax time. One of the best ways to avoid tax stress is to tackle your workload early in the season. In January, send newsletters to clients, advising them of the most important things to know for taxes. Help your clients prepare their files early on, focusing on categories like automotive, home, investments, and bank statements. If you make an effort to organize your files in January and February, you can spend less time in the office as the season progresses. Plus, according to TIME magazine, the simple act of getting organized can help you reduce stress.
One of the most important—and difficult to accomplish—ways to avoid tax stress is to get an adequate amount of sleep. For some professionals, doing so may mean sacrificing your personal life until the middle of April. Try to go to bed on a regular schedule, and aim for at least seven to eight hours per night. While this may seem impossible, sleep is a crucial factor in good health, which, in turn, impacts your performance at work. By getting enough sleep, you can avoid spending hours plodding through files at the office while battling the flu.
While you're spending hours at your desk, prompting clients about things to know for taxes, it can be easy to forget about exercise. An excellent way to avoid tax stress is to exercise. You don't need to worry about putting on your running shoes and driving to the gym—instead, take a ten-minute walk around the block at lunch. Every hour, get up and stretch, walk to the bathroom, or run up a set of stairs in your building. By taking small breaks to move your body, you'll get your endorphins flowing, enjoy a little burst of energy, and work out the muscle kinks that cause knots and pain.
Whether you're already feeling the impact of the tax season or anticipating its onset, these simple strategies can help you relax and stay healthy, both mentally and physically. As a result, you can avoid tax stress and enjoy the process.
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