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Staying sane during tax time


It’s almost 1 July, you know what that means right? Tax time is looming, and it’s time to finalise your EOFY to hit the ground running.

You’ll need to organise tax returns, refresh your business plan, balance your books, do a year in review, consult with your accountant, and ensure absolute compliance with the ATO. But you knew that already.

It also means a few metric tons of brow-furrowing pressure and stress.

Make no mistake, tax time is stressful, and the savvy business owner will be deploying a few tactics to combat the tension and remain sane during tax time.

Lean on your accountant or bookkeeper

Your bookkeeper or accountant lives for this time of year.

Advisors have studied and worked tirelessly to become as adept as humanly possible at the art of compliance, taxation, and business advice. Use this to your advantage.

It’s likely that your chosen vocation is not in the accounting world, so at this time of year, lean on the experts and harness their knowledge to remove the guess work and stress from EOFY.

A good accountant is worth every cent when it comes to tax time, so think of it as an investment that’s paid back in spades.

One task at a time

Multiple studies show that trying to tackle several tasks at once is a recipe for disaster. Recent research by the American Psychological Association notes:

“Doing more than one task at a time, especially more than one complex task, takes a toll on productivity.”

When faced with a mountain of extra work, the best tactic is to monotask not multitask. It sounds obvious, but precious few of us actually do this effectively and consistently.

It helps to be a little militaristic here:

  1. Create a complete list of EOFY tasks
  2. Order your tasks in terms of priority or date due
  3. Turn off all digital distractions and put your phone and email on silent
  4. Tackle one single task at a time until complete
  5. Don’t even think about bouncing between tasks or contemplating what comes next

It may sound elementary but by laying it down this simply, you’ll be surprised how well such single mindedness helps you breeze through tasks. You’ll also find this produces a sense of accomplishment while negating the inevitable stress that comes with a full plate.

Plan your day for success

Play to your strengths by understanding when you’re at your best, then arrange your day around your peak.

Don’t be tempted to jump straight into EOFY work in an unready state – take time to wake up, have a nutritious breakfast and get your headspace right – you will then be in a position to smash tasks out instead of a slow unproductive trickle.

“Your morning sets up the success of your day. So many people wake up and immediately check text messages, emails, and social media. I use my first hour awake for my morning routine of breakfast and meditation to prepare myself,” says Caroline Ghosn, American entrepreneur and business owner.

Eat, sleep, exercise, repeat…

Your mind is an extension of your body, and your body needs your help. Sleep, nutrition, and exercise are the most important part of your routine to ensure you’re performing at peak efficiency.

You’re probably aware that good nutrition, proper sleep, and regular exercise are favourable things. Do you view them as an integral part of your business life though?

Getting enough sleep (ideally 7-9 hours) is particularly important, as any less can be like having a shot of whisky before work. Dr. Matthew Walker, sleep specialist and professor of neuroscience and psychology at Berkeley, tells us:

“Many business leaders still believe that time on-task equates to productivity. Even in the industrial era of rote factory work, this was untrue. It is a misguided fallacy, and an expensive one, too. Every key facet required for business success will fail when sleep becomes short within an organisation.”

Proper sleep is more than just a productivity and intelligence booster though, it also acts as a potent stress reliever.

“Dream sleep provides a fascinating neurochemical soothing balm. It is during dream sleep and only during dream sleep when our brain shuts off a stress-related neurochemical called noradrenalin.”

So, at this time of year, make sure you give your body and brain every chance of success:

  • Ensure a bare minimum of 7-9 hours sleep a night to ensure peak brain function and stress reduction.
  • Have a planned set of healthy meals prepped ahead of time to avoid unhealthy snacking.
  • Hydrate rigorously.
  • Take 20 min breaks to do high intensity simple exercise circuits.
  • Ensure you take time to get outside, get some fresh air, and surround yourself with greenery.

At such a tumultuous time of year, it pays dividends to get every edge you can when it comes to task management and healthy mental and physical acuity.

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