7 Ways to manage stress + Tips for tax time

Spring is almost here with its longer days, warmer weather and budding plants. It typically conjures up ideas of renewal and happiness, but for many people, March and April bring stress and sickness instead. A 2014 Washington Post article on Google search trends suggested that people feel more stressed, anxious, and just plain miserable during the spring.  

Between allergens blooming, unexpected world events, and those dreaded tax deadlines approaching, it can be overwhelming! So, how do you stay in control now and during other stressful times? 

  1. Avoid financial surprises. 

Last year, Capital One found that 73% of Americans say their finances are their number-one cause of stress. But money doesn’t have to be so stressful! While you can’t always predict a costly emergency, working with an accountant throughout the year can help you avoid many other unexpected costs, like a surprise tax bill. With a good accountant by your side, finances can be one less worry on your plate, allowing you to feel more in control of your situation. 

  1. Keep your desk or work area clean. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try tidying your workspace. You may find that a clean desk can be a huge boost to your productivity—up to 84%! Regularly cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces can also help you avoid getting sick. 

A woman stands by a large window in an office, writing her daily plan on a whiteboard

  1. Open and sort any physical mail. 

When you get mail, open it, and consider what kind of mail it is. Is it something to do, something to delegate, something to file, or something to toss? Sort your mail accordingly. Make sure you’re holding onto any financial statements or tax documents for your accountant. Don’t forget to actually do the task or toss the junk! Even neat piles become a mess tomorrow. 

  1. Organize your email inbox. 

Read your incoming emails and sort them the same way as your physical mail. If you find email notifications distracting, you can try a strategy called email batching. Instead of checking and responding to emails constantly, set aside time to respond to them in “batches.” Checking your email only a few times a day may give you more time to focus on other tasks. 

  1. Set realistic priorities. 

Don’t overload yourself or commit to doing more than you’re able. Consider what you can realistically get done in your time frame. If you’ve already overcommitted, prioritize your tasks. Do what you can, and for what you can’t… 

  1. Communicate honestly and promptly. 

When problems arise, let people know as early as you can if a commitment you made can’t be met. If possible, reschedule for when you will be able to meet their needs. Keeping communication open—with both your clients or customers, your staff, and your coworkers—can help avoid a lot of stress. And when you’re short on time, don’t be afraid to skip the small talk and focus on business. 

  1. Establish checklists and set procedures. 

If you have standard ways of doing tasks, you may find yourself feeling less worried about things getting done correctly. Research has shown that having a routine can make it easier to manage feelings of anxiety. Whether it’s getting your financial system organized with an accountant, setting procedures for handling incoming tasks, or just developing daily habits for yourself, maintaining structure during stressful times can help you feel like you’re in control of your surroundings. 

If you need someone to help you get and stay in control of your financial affairs, Padgett’s network of accountants, tax preparers and business advisors are ready to lend a hand. With a Padgett partner, you’ll find someone who understands your unique situation so they can provide you with the service, advice and support you need. Find an office near you today! 

Do you have the support you need to manage your small business bookkeeping? Contact us to schedule an appointment to speak with a local small business advisor.