Senior Regional Vice President
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With the onslaught of long hours and stressful days of tax season well behind us, accounting professionals are embracing the down time that stretches from May through December.
To make the most of this off season, it’s important to find ways to recuperate socially, mentally and physically to help you clear your head and find a better work-life balance. Here are a few tips for tax pros on how to best recharge in the off season, so that you’re ready to buckle down again next year and excel at your job.
Reconnect with friends and family. Spending time with friends and family during tax season is next to impossible when you’re working close to 80 hours a week. Now that Tax Day has passed, take advantage of a more flexible schedule to rebuild your relationships – whether that be a lunch or coffee date with friends or family dinner gatherings. After a few months of limited contact, show your loved ones how much you appreciate them putting up with your annual “disappearing act.”
Get organized. As you dig out from the busy months, you may have found that you neglected routine office tasks, such as cleaning out your desk and email inbox. Now’s the time to tackle this – and it doesn’t have to involve a full day commitment. Pick your most unproductive time during the work day and schedule 15 minutes on your calendar to spend organizing. Break down a large project into manageable steps that can be accomplished in a short time frame. For example, instead of trying to clean out your entire desk in afternoon, organize one desk drawer each day until your task is finished.
Focus on self-care. Staying healthy and active are often sacrificed during the busy season when take-out food and long hours sitting at a computer become the norm. With Tax Day behind us, start getting back into healthy habits and taking better care of yourself. This could involve cooking meals at home, packing a healthy lunch, hitting the gym, going for a run, or even booking a massage and starting a meditation
Take a vacation. Taking a break from work is key to avoiding burnout and getting ahead. Just as athletes need to schedule recovery breaks during training, accounting professionals also need vacation time to stay sharp and engaged. Whether you take a trip someplace warm and tropical, rent a cabin in the woods, or just book a staycation, take the time you need to disconnect from work and unwind. Even better, make it a low-tech or tech-free vacation to offset the days spent entrenched in tax law, software and computer screens during the busy season.
Continue your education. The summer months are also a great time to study for advanced certifications. Many non-CPAs prep for the CPA exam and CPAs pursue additional credentials such as the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). You can also take advantage of the off season to catch up on the hours required to maintain such designations with extra study time.
Follow these best practices to enjoy a much-needed break from the high productivity and demanding office hours of tax season and set yourself up for success in the coming months.