2022 is here, and the past two years of irregular tax seasons have added up to a big hairy deal for the IRS. With foreboding language in the Tax Advocacy Service’s report to Congress and the IRS still frantically catching up on 2020 tax returns as of late December, looking at the season ahead might make you want to throw in the towel.
That sense of dread can be a killer for time management, especially If you tend to procrastinate. Let’s look at three ways to keep your time structured so you can stay ahead.
Take on your to-do list five items at a time
Does this seem a bit simple? It absolutely is. We’re fighting overwhelm in this step; the fastest way to despair over everything on your plate is to think about everything on your plate.
By focusing your attention on just five things at a time, you can concentrate on tangible goals—and ride high after getting them done.
Fight the urge to put umbrella tasks here. “Finish three tax returns” as one of your goals can get overwhelming fast, so consider breaking that down to “get name and address information for three tax returns,” or “finish one tax return.” Aim for tasks that generally take half an hour or less.
Now, we both know that your to-do list can’t be limited to just five things per day, especially if the tasks are so small. However, if you do small tasks in small groups, you’re much more likely to finish at least one or two groups in a day.
Feeling overwhelmed will kill your productivity—feeling accomplished will put it in overdrive.
Make break time intentional and avoid mindless scrolling
Reaching for your phone to absently open Facebook in the middle of a Schedule C could be your brain looking for a much-needed break; is scrolling mindlessly really going to fill your cup, though? Probably not.
That said, you do need breaks. There’s only so long that your brain can stay on, especially when doing work for something as “thrilling” as taxes.
Be intentional about when you take your breaks and how long you unplug for. Use a different part of your brain for a little while to really make the most of the time: get away from screens, make a cup of tea, get your blood going with a walk, or grab a good book.
Outsource work when you can
Being a tax preparer is demanding. You have to maintain a high level of attention to detail for long periods of time, keep up-to-date with the latest from the IRS, and coordinate with clients.
One of the best ways to manage everything on your plate is delegation—and if you’re looking to delegate some of that tedious, detail-oriented work, you’re in exactly the right place.
Whether you’re looking to convert to a paperless office, organize returns in a searchable PDF, scan client documents into leading tax-prep software, or consolidate brokerage statements to insert directly into your tax software, GruntWorx has a service that fits the bill.
Knowing you have all the tools and services you need can take a load off your mind, especially with a challenging tax season ahead. Talk about beating overwhelm, right?
We hope these time-management tips help you organize and structure your to-do list—and if you’re interested in all the ways GruntWorx can put more time on the clock for your tax prep business, we’d love to show you. Just head over to our Products page for a full breakdown, and we’ll see you there.