Tips for Accountants to Alleviate Stress During Tax Season
Published 3/12/19, Boomer Consulting -
During the busiest time of the year, we often shift our focus to making sure we get as much work done as possible. While there may be an end in sight for the long days and weekends, job burnout and stress can happen to everyone. Did you know the average person has 30-100 projects or tasks on their plate at any given time or that we are interrupted, on average, over seven times per hour? Everyone feels overwhelmed and overly busy at some point, so it is essential to know the signs of stress and be equipped with how to cope with stress.
Here are seven tips for managing stress during busy season – or any time of the year.
Take a deep breath
When you feel overwhelmed, take a few minutes to clear your head. Some deep breathing can restore balance. Inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale for seconds.
Emails, instant messages, phone calls and text messages can leave you distracted and unproductive. Look for ways to minimize the distractors, such as muting notifications, snoozing your inbox and utilizing the Do Not Disturb functions on your phones.
Set a timer and try to get through 10 minutes of undistracted work. You might be surprised at how much work you’re able to get done in a small amount of time when you’re not bombarded by dings, buzzes and pop-ups. Work your way up to blocking out 30 minutes to an hour of undistracted time so you are able to get through your to-do list efficiently.
Prioritize your To Do List
Having competing deadlines and shifting priorities, it's important to define what is truly a priority. Take a look at your to-do list and identify the projects that will have the most impact and are aligned with the company or personal goals.
Focus on your one thing
Sometimes stress comes with having too much on our to-do lists. Defining the one thing you need to accomplish today can help you shift focus from the hundreds of tasks down to one. If you can get that one thing done, you can start on the next. Put all of your other tasks aside and focus on your one thing.
Maybe you feel like you’re accomplishing things at work, but heavy workloads and constant pressure are taking their toll on your mental or physical well being. Here are a few ways you can get control of your burnout and focus on your health.
During busy periods, exercise is often the first task that falls by the wayside, but this is exactly the time when we need stress-relieving and mood-boosting physical activity the most.
Take a short break and to walk around the building or around the block if weather permits. Regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress and help you disconnect from work.
Sleep is another activity that gets put on the back-burner during the busy season, but according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, adequate sleep is essential to brain function. “If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change.”
Set up a routine for going to bed and ensuring adequate sleep. You’ll be better prepared for peak performance at work when you make sleep a priority.
Many people turn to zoning out in front of the TV or mindlessly scrolling social media to unwind at the end of a stressful day, but these activities do little to reduce stress.
Instead, look for activities that create a “relaxation response,” or a state of deep rest that slows your heart rate and breathing, stabilizes blood pressure, relaxes your muscles and increases blood flow to the brain. Meditation, yoga, massage and tai chi are known to create this effect, so look for programs in your area.
When work-related demands pile up, the first things we push to the sidelines are the activities that help us unwind and care for our health and well-being. But the times when you most feel like you don’t have time to care for yourself is exactly when it’s important to do so. Pull up your calendar and block out some time for prioritizing your workload and practicing some self-care. You’ll find that even a few steps in that direction can help you feel more energized and productive when you get back to work.
By Samantha Zerr, Operations Accountant, Boomer Consulting