Five Ways to Bounce Back from…anything really.
This article was recently published in the Massachusetts CPA magazine. Although geared to tax professionals and Certified Public Accountants, these techniques can be used by any professional after a big project has ended or even after a vacation.
Tax season is a whirlwind of paperwork, email, calls, and late nights at the office. It is finally over, but for some of us, it’s just a new beginning. The race begins again.
Below are five ways you can bounce back.
Review your procedures – While your work is still fresh in your mind, ask yourself what worked and what didn’t. Look for patterns and flow in your process. Were there areas where things fell behind and became particularly stressful? Becoming aware of your processes and procedures will help you navigate the same paths while avoiding old pitfalls.
Review your client list – This is another opportunity to discover what works and what doesn’t, or more specifically, who works and who doesn’t. Some clients are so easy to work with we actually look forward to the work. Make a list of those clients and then consider reaching out to more people and connections in the same industry. Attend networking events and ask for connections with those industries in mind. Begin to replicate the work you love to do with the industries you love to work with.
Of course, where there are easy clients, there are the difficult ones. You know who they are—They never have their paperwork in order, you must continually follow up to ensure you have everything you need to service their account. Or, maybe they are late paying the bill that they complained about. Consider cutting these clients from your list as you work to build a list that is more suitable for you. Outweigh the costs-emotionally and financially to see if it’s viable to let them go. It’s not worth the hassle. It also gives another colleague who may love working with them a great opportunity.
Clear the decks – A clean desk and work area helps ready the mind and creates renewed energy around your job. Start with a plan to remove any paperwork that belong to clients. If it needs to stay in your office longer because of an extension, consider creating a system to get it off your desk and in a place you can find it quickly and easily. Attack each area of your desk and office, have the supplies you need on hand to get it in the mail. If you are sending an email, make sure the expectations and process are clear for your clients to get the information back to you.
Create a plan – Now that the tax version of the Super Bowl is over, there is sure to be a backlog of work that got set aside earlier and now needs your attention. Make appointments in your calendar to time block specific times when you can work on the backlog. Set a self-imposed deadline of the work you need to complete and when it needs to be done. Work back from that deadline to be sure you create the time and a plan to complete the work.
Renew – Tax season brings many challenges and lots of hard work. Schedule some time and ways to replenish yourself. What can you do to reward yourself? Take the time you need to relish in the goals you’ve accomplished and the rewards you’ve put in place for a successful tax season.
Using these techniques will not only help you complete this tax season. It will help in setting up for next year. Just when you thought it was over, we have to plan and prepare for the next hurdle in front of us.
Bio: Margo Crawford is a Productivity Coach and Professional Organizer with Wave Productivity. She works with CPA’s, entrepreneurs and business professionals to help them get more focused, organized and productive in their workplace. She coaches by phone throughout the country, and in person in Phoenix, Providence and Boston.