I dread doing my taxes. Well, actually, my husband and I don’t do them. A more accurate statement: I, the assignee, dread The Project of preparing them for our accountant. The large packet of worksheets that we are required to fill out has taken up residence on our dining room table for the past 3 months while I’ve been getting ready to get ready to actually sit down to do the demonic work. Ever feel this way, maybe not with tax preparation, but with any otherwise daunting project? I pray and trust I am not the only person who suffers from this affliction.
As with most projects, an external deadline arrives. In order to meet our accountant’s April 1 deadline, I had no choice but to take The Project by its long, furry tail and swing it up on the table. Pencil in hand, W-2’s, 1099’s, bank statements, investment recaps, donation confirmations, the P&L with all pertinent detailed itemization, coffee, water, and cookies for sustenance, I furiously tackle The Project. 20 hours of angst, crankiness, dread, anxiety, in 2 hours … completed!
The effects of the dread and procrastination is always worse than actually working on The Project! I know that, you know that. Most humans procrastinate in one way or another before undertaking a seemingly monumental task. These 6 steps helped me cope with The Project:
1. SCHEDULE IT. Calendar the day you intend to undertake The Project as well as assign the length of time you expect to invest for its completion. Since work expands to the allotted time, put a realistic, yet tight time frame to complete The Project.
2. FAST FORWARD TO A TREAT. Knowing ahead of time what you will treat yourself to, be it a better than usual Cabernet or Chardonnay, a movie, or, in our case, a sorely needed replacement gas grill, provides an incentive and reward for having finally accomplished The Project.
3. GATHER YOUR TOOLS. Spend 5 minutes before tackling The Project to determine and collect the necessary tools with which to do the work. Having them readily available to begin The Project reduces interruptions and frustration from loss of thought or concentration.
4. MUSIC SETS THE MOOD. Calm classical music gets me in my work zone. Studies indicate that baroque music appeals to our beta brain waves which causes deeper concentration. Find what works for you, though. Get in your happy place.
5. ALLOW NO DISTRACTIONS. Block out the time, turn off your phone, and just pay attention to The Project for that designated period of time. Take a 10 minute break if needed, however, powering through helps keeps your head in the game, gets it done and over faster so you can enjoy your treat sooner.
6. REVIEW AND REFINE. Depending on the depth or complexity of The Project, prior to its completion, another appointment time may be necessary in order to review and refine your work, investigate more detail or perhaps ask others questions. When this occurs, schedule the next appointment with yourself with another predetermined time allotment; repeat steps 1-6.
Finally, again for this year, tax preparation is completed and delivered to our trusty accountant on time. Now, he can get to work. As for me, which grill to purchase?