Tax season is in full swing, and as an accounting professional, you’re bound to be in the thick of demanding work weeks and long hours. The fast pace and extended hours can be challenging, even for the most dedicated professionals. With this in mind, how can you maintain a high level of productivity and excellent client service without burning out during the busy season? As deadlines and heavy workloads remain top of mind, so should a healthy routine. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or embarking on your first tax season, use these tips to stay productive and engaged.
Communicate clear expectations
It is crucial to gain full understanding of what’s expected of you throughout this hectic season. This should be a topic of discussion when you’re onboarded, but it’s also important to refresh expectations going into this three-month period. By doing so, you’ll feel much more confident and engaged knowing what goals are in place. It is also imperative to actively listen to team updates, soak in any accolades and apply given advice on how to work more efficiently. If you’ve been around the block a few times, serve as a mentor to rookie employees to help them navigate the waters of daily operations and expectations. New accountants will surely appreciate your guidance on how to stay productive and positive this tax season.
Organize your day
Stay a step ahead by outlining daily and weekly goals. Set aside time for you and your colleagues to create a plan of attack for upcoming tasks and projects. This can be as simple as coming into work 15 to 30 minutes earlier to map out the day and get ahead. This approach will help you organize your thoughts and stay productive. Nevertheless, mapping out each day will improve time management and keep you accountable.
Move away from your desk
According to the New York Times, standing and exercising during the workday are beneficial to overall work performance. A study by Arizona State University found that participants who were less sedentary and stood, walked and engaged in light exercise during the workday showed improvements in attention, memory and other cognitive skills. In short, take a moment to stand up and walk around for just a few minutes every hour to lift your mood, combat lethargy and refine your focus to get work done.
Fuel with the right food
It’s easy to indulge in comfort food when you’re under stressful expectations, but that’s not necessarily good for your performance or long-term health. Stick to foods like fruits and vegetables for a source of energy in order to perform your best. Stay sharp by remaining hydrated and monitoring caffeine intake. While it’s good in moderation, too much caffeine can cause adrenaline overload and possible irritability, according to Business Insider. Additionally, caffeine can take five or six hours to leave your system — so consume little or no coffee during evening hours to get a good night’s rest.
Disconnect to stay balanced
Even superstar accountants need to decompress, so it’s okay to disconnect and do something to replenish yourself. It could be spending time with family and friends on the weekends, leaving work to eat lunch outside of the office, keeping up with a hobby or treating yourself to a massage — anything to take yourself off autopilot during this time of year will keep you fresh and energized.
It doesn’t require rocket science to have a strong workday. However, neglecting to take care of your physical and emotional health can add up over time and cause extreme fatigue. So set a successful tone this tax season by using practices that will help you stay focused and productive. The time you put into planning the small details will pay off for both your clients and the general well-being of your organization. Focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel can make the most hectic days seem less taxing.
With more than 22 years’ experience in the staffing industry, Jodi Chavez oversees the field organization and provides direction for Randstad’s life sciences, finance and accounting, human resources, sales and marketing and legal staffing capabilities. Throughout her career, Jodi's entrepreneurial drive and strong business acumen have led to increased revenues, gross profit growth and improved ROI. Along with a proven track record of building high performing teams, she brings a wealth of knowledge in strategic planning and execution, mergers and acquisitions, brand strategy, social media and multi-generational leadership.