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Be More Productive: Tips for Starting Taxes (and Other Taxing Tasks) Now!


By Dr. Geri Markel On 

Reducing Stress During Tax Time

It’s no secret that taxes, like other tedious or stress-producing tasks, are easy to put off. Although doing your taxes requires organization and attention to detail, you may find yourself procrastinating until the last-minute, then working in a frenzy while feeling tired, hassles or rushed.  The result can be costly errors or omissions. Whether you’re a leader or a staff member, you want to avoid such experiences.

So how can you find the motivation to organize and attend to critical responsibilities? Whether you’re facing taxes or some other onerous task, here are some energizing tips:

  1. Invite yourself to a Get the Taxes Done party. Consider the positive consequences of getting the work done—and the negative consequences of procrastination. Visualize the completed task and the resulting feelings of relief and satisfaction. Visualize feeling stressed or having to pay penalties for late submission.
  2. Say: “Since this task has to be done, I’m going to make doing it as positive as possible.” Using a step-by-step method will make the work go faster and better.
  3. Ask: “What resources or receipts do I need, and where are they?” Perhaps you need to schedule a time to gather materials before you actually start to fill out forms.
  4. Make a schedule for tallying and filling out the forms. Determine which are the easiest parts and consider doing those first. Estimate how long each section might require. It is better to schedule several brief periods of intense attention than one marathon session. Usually, working too long at any task results in unnecessary errors. Use a timer to maintain your focus (
  5. Find a non-distracting setting. Reduce noise by wearing noise canceling headphones, playing soft music, or using a fan as white noise. Reduce visual distractions by facing the wall, creating a cubical, or putting up a screen.
  6. Plan frequent, but brief, breaks—and have some healthy drinks and snacks handy.
  7. Create a warm-up routine. Stretch and take some deep breaths to relax before you begin to work.

Using these tips to tackle your taxes (or any other nagging task) will lead to increased productivity, reduced stress, and a more positive process and outcome.


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