The almost three months of tax season is often the busiest three months of the year for tax and accounting professionals. During this time tax preparers will have to deal with upset clients waiting on their refunds and the stresses of managing a business. It’s no wonder so many professionals in the tax industry are exhausted by the end of the tax season. To help minimize the stress tax professionals feel during this time of year we wanted to share some strategies for avoiding burning out during the tax season.
Burnouts usually occur when an individual experiences a prolonged period of consistent stress, much like the daily stresses of a tax preparer. The individual suffering from a burnout is left feeling emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted from the stress and is unable to perform at the same level they would normally. Furthermore, the person experiencing the burnout can often have it spill into their private lives such as an apathetic or dismissive attitude towards others and even added stress to personal relationships. It’s clear that a burnout affects more than just your nine to five, it also affects your five to nine, so how can we prevent these burnouts from happening in the first place?
Do you live to work or work to live? Regardless of your answer there are two truths that can be pulled from that expression. You need to work to afford to live, but you also need to live so you can handle work. Achieving a good work/life balance is one of the best ways to prevent burnouts but during the tax season this can be incredibly difficult. Don’t be afraid to delegate some task to other tax prepares you work with or if you are on your own it may become necessary to say “no” to a few requests here and there. This isn’t being lazy but rather you are putting your mental health as one of your priorities.
People like consistency so why should tax season be any different? Developing a consistent schedule that enables you to maximize productivity while protecting your personal life from intrusions will significantly reduce your risk of burning out during the tax season. Realistically this can be difficult because clients will try to contact you at almost any hour. Once you make your schedule, communicate it to your clients so they are aware of the best times to reach out to you and will also respect the time you have allotted for yourself.
One of the biggest contributors to burnouts is a feeling of lack of control by the tax preparer. Deadlines, errors, unexpected hurdles, these can all make a tax or accounting professional feel like they are powerless, but this doesn’t have to be the case. With digital management tools you can maintain oversight over your entire tax business from anywhere. Manage clients and team members remotely while automating basic business processes using practice management software is going to be your best tool in preventing burnouts and streamlining your tax business.
Burnouts are more than just a mental and emotional struggle, they can also manifest physically so as part of preventing burnouts in the workplace you need to address the physical aspects as well. Two areas that always suffer during high-stress times, such as tax season, are sleep and diet. Eating healthy and getting a full night’s rest can reduce your chances of burning out significantly. Adding in some form of physical activity is even better as it will give you more energy and confidence to handle whatever may arise in the next couple months.
Most of you reading this article are already pretty familiar with burnouts. Burnouts are never fun and can detrimentally affect your work and personal life if you aren’t careful. The strategies presented in this article will enable you and other tax professionals to more effectively navigate tax season and prevent costly burnouts from disrupting what matters, providing quality service and growing your tax business.
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