Everyone, from the Beatles in their Taxman song, to a teenager who’s holding their first paycheck statement, complains about paying taxes. For hardworking accountants, tax season is the busiest time of the year when work time far outweighs leisure time. We can, however, learn much from accountants on how to cope with busyness, maintain some degree of work/life balance and most importantly keep your sanity in check whether you are a lawyer, plumber or public relations professional during periods of high work stress.
Your Physical Self
As the saying goes, a healthy body, healthy mind. Even during the busiest of times when your workload is at its highest, there still needs to be time for one’s physical self. It is important to continue to take time to eat lunch and to move away from one’s desk. Lunchtime remains a great opportunity for networking in order to build one’s client and professional network. It is also beneficial to take a break and take a walk. Walking helps one to clear one’s thoughts, get the blood flowing and refresh one to be able to focus again.. It is also important to get enough sleep in order to be able to recharge one’s brain and energy level.
Your Emotional Self
As much as we can love our jobs, working seven days a week can be exhausting and cause burnout. It is definitely worth taking some time, perhaps over a weekend to shut down, step away and focus on something other than work. When you do have to work long hours, let your friends and family know that it is the busy season so that they will realize that you may not be available to take on extracurricular projects or to be the one who plans social activities. Know your limits and delegate work to your partners and team members. Most importantly, stay positive. It is easy to be cranky when tired, but a little humor, a deep breath and looking forward to the time when the busy season will be over can make all the difference. Attitude is everything.
One of the things accountants and successful leaders and employees know is the importance of time management and prioritization. What are the most important tasks that need to be completed? How much time will they take? Are there smaller, important tasks that can easily be completed in order to give you time to work uninterrupted on the larger, important tasks? What can someone else handle? Answering these questions will help you to stay on track.
Tax laws change every year as do technology and social media and every client, regardless of one’s business. It is therefore important to keep up with the latest innovations and necessary skills. Before the busy season, take some time to update and learn new software and new tools that can make one more efficient and more productive. Examples include using Google Drive or other cloud-based app to store and search documents rather than flipping through paper versions. The final tip is to manage expectations of clients and team members. Are deadlines firm or flexible? Are there boundaries on how and when to reach you and your team? Once everyone knows the rules and the need to follow them, everyone’s job will be easier.
Yes, accountants are busy during tax season, retailers during holidays and PR reps during tradeshow season. A little planning and time to keep one’s health and sanity in check can make all the difference during peak seasons.
(This blog originally appeared on April 25, 2018.)