As an accounting professional in the midst of tax season, you probably feel locked into never-ending workdays with the constant pressure of meeting deadlines.
New responsibilities come in constant waves with tasks of preparing ledgers, tending client appointments and performing audits — just to name a few. To achieve optimal productivity during this time of year, it is important to come up with a strategy and set goals. Here are a few ways you can move toward a more manageable and productive tax season.
Tip 1: Have regular check-ins with important stakeholders
A great deal of employee satisfaction stems from knowing you’re completing what’s asked of you and contributing to the organization. According to Gen Z and Millennials Collide at Work, 27 percent of outperforming companies report that they implement regular and ongoing feedback between management and employees, whereas underperforming companies only report 11 percent. Therefore, if you feel lost and in the dark as to what your day-to-day functions are, it’s best to approach management. To ensure you’re meeting expectations to the best of your ability, have frequent discussions with your employer or client to gauge what’s needed and how you can improve.
Tip 2: Plan your schedule in advance
According to Attentiv, the average employee spends 13 hours per week on emails alone. To get back some of your time, plan your schedule in advance. Determine how you will carry out your day by arriving 15 to 30 minutes early to tame emails and organize upcoming projects. Prioritize your biggest tasks that need greater focus versus more trivial assignments. Mapping out each day beforehand will improve time management and increase overall productivity. Note, this would be helpful advice to pass on to new CPAs who are learning the ropes during their first tax season. Mentor them to show them how they can design and declutter their day simply by setting aside time beforehand.
Tip 3: Occasionally detach from work
The finished product of your work can go beyond expectations, but it requires listening to your body when you need to disconnect from work. It may come off as counterintuitive, but your work will be less prone to errors, and in much better standing, when you break up sedentary hours. That being said, change your surroundings — leave early on occasion to eat dinner with loved ones or go out for a quick walk during your lunch break. In the long run, your improved attention, memory and focus will have a positive impact on your services and make clients turn more toward your expertise.
Tip 4: Eat properly to stay healthy
Fast food or takeout is bound to contain sugar, salt, white flour and low-quality fats and proteins, which can leave you feeling slow. To support productivity, turn to the right foods to fuel yourself for the day ahead. This means eating a balanced diet that includes lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, to help you stay alert throughout tasks. Additionally, be cognizant of your caffeine intake. Monitoring your caffeine consumption can reduce feelings of agitation and can support a more positive sleep schedule, especially since it takes a while for its effects to subside.
Tip 5: Have a postseason incentive
Everyone needs something to look forward to. Plan a vacation or some personal time to decompress after a long and busy season. Setting a reward can provide a greater sense of motivation and leave you feeling more prepared to take on the season.
Tax season does not have to leave you feeling defeated. There are solutions and best practices that are guaranteed to make the remaining weeks a success. You don’t have to compromise your happiness, quality of work and overall well-being during the craze of tax season. Controlling the pace of your work days and being mindful of things like proper diet and rest will help you get through this tax season happier, healthier and with even more satisfied clients.