As we find ourselves in the thick of fall tax season, many accountants are already feeling the dreaded “burn out.” After a month of working ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week, even the most dedicated CPA might start to dream about setting fire to their paperwork. (That is, if they ever got any sleep!)
Sometimes, when faced with a crushing deadline at work, our healthy habits are the first things to go. Why spend precious time taking care of yourself when there’s an audit underway? Well, the truth is, you don’t always have to sacrifice your sanity in order to make it through the busy season. Below are some ways of caring for your mind and body that will not only help you feel better, but are proven to boost the quality of your work.
1. Step away from the screen!
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The longer you power through those deductibles, the sooner they’ll get done, right? Wrong!
As it turns out, scheduling regular breaks during the workday can actually do more than lift your spirits. Studies have shown that taking a break can significantly increase your performance, as well as your ability to focus on the job at hand. It sounds counterintuitive, but taking time away from a task will allow you to work harder and more efficiently once you return. The most effective breaks are spent away from the screen, preferably on your feet or in conversation. But the best break of all is the one that makes you feel good–so whether it be a twenty minute power nap or a ten minute stroll around the building, know that your brain will always benefit from a little you-time.
2. Leave room on your plate for lunch!
It’s not just your mind that needs some TLC. When you’re buried under mountains of paperwork, it can be easy to lose track of time, and, before you know it, the lunch hour has come and gone. Being pressed for time is never a good reason to skip a meal–going without food is known to decrease productivity, and can leave you irritable, fatigued, and unable to concentrate. If your office makes a habit of ordering in lunch and dinner during tax season, take advantage of it! Otherwise, find the system that works best for you. Do you look forward to going out to lunch with co-workers? Treat yourself! Looking to save money by bringing your meals from home? Try preparing your lunches a couple days in advance, just in case you’re too tired to whip something up the night before.
And believe it or not, just because you’re sitting at a desk all day doesn’t mean you can skimp on the water. Scientists have found that even mild dehydration can lead to decreased cognitive ability, as well as a negative impact on one’s mood and stamina. So don’t forget to drink lots of water in between those pots of coffee!
Oh, and about that desk . . .
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If you often find yourself exhausted, stressed, and fidgety at the office, you may find relief in a rather unexpected place: exercise. That’s right: according to the American Psychological Association, employees who exercise during the workday are more productive, happier, and have more energy than those who stay sedentary. Of course, accountants don’t always have time for (or access to) a gym during tax season. Fortunately, there are a number of workouts that you can do right there at your desk, even while continuing to work on those returns.
If you feel a little silly working out in the middle of the office, try to spend one of your breaks throughout the day engaged in physical activity. Walking to or from work, or even standing up and doing a lap around the office once every hour can do wonders for your mood and overall health.
Tax season may come only once (okay, twice) a year, but that doesn’t make it any less tough. Just remember that by making time to take care of yourself during these hectic, back-to-back months of long hours and missing weekends, you can skip the burn out and enjoy that well-deserved break.
Of course, another great way to make sure the busy season goes as smoothly as possible is to make sure you’re using the right tools. When it comes to processing expenses, our comparative analysis found that Tallie clients experience 67% time savings when compared with other expense report products. Our software will also save you the hassle of dealing with errors and expense fraud through our automated error prevention features. Tallie offers duplicate detection, auto-merging of matching of credit card transactions and receipts, and will even auto-flag expenses that violate your company’s policies.
Good luck with the rest of the busy season! We’ll see you on the other side.
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