Author: Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist
As CPAs are very much aware, “busy season” has officially begun. This is the three to four-month period when the accounting profession shifts into overdrive, and is busy preparing last year’s statements, conducting audits, assembling tax returns and submitting reports. Long hours, travel requirements and a lack of personal life can contribute to a stressful few months for many accountants. However, whether you are a CPA or busy professional, below are ways to help you manage your time against a demanding workload.
1. Prioritize Your Day. Each morning, review the day’s to-do list and consider what can/should be labeled as “urgent,” “important” or “not urgent.” If something is marked “urgent,” be sure to take care of it right away. If something is marked “important” but is not necessarily “urgent,” it can be completed once more pressing tasks have been resolved. For all “not urgent” items, consider reviewing these projects later in your day, once the time-sensitive items have been accomplished.
2. Take Breaks. It is important to remember that for the sake of your mental and physical well-being, you must take frequent breaks. Avoid overworking yourself by setting brief timers that will break up your day. Use the breaks wisely and allow yourself the opportunity to recharge.
3. Eliminate Distractions. For the better part of our day, we turn to our phones for the latest news and information, including weather and social media updates, emails, texts and missed calls. However, if you have too many projects that require your attention, be sure to turn off notifications and silence your phone. In addition, a clear workspace helps to clear the mind. Consider decluttering your work environment and ridding yourself of unnecessary distractions.
4. Delegate Tasks. Remember that you cannot do it all, so be sure to delegate appropriate tasks to your teammates. Delegating is a great way to more efficiently use your time, and it allows your fellow associates to develop new skills and a sense of empowerment.
5. Focus. When you sit at your desk, you may be wondering where to even begin. Be sure to focus on one task at a time, and steadily you will complete all of your projects, devoting appropriate attention to each one. Attempting to “multi-task” or complete several tasks at once may be an attractive proposition, but it will more greatly benefit you to focus on one thing at a time.
6. Plan Ahead. In between meetings, calls and emails, a lunch may be just the break you need. But when you are busy, and the day is planned down to the minute, time allotted for lunch can be limited. If you tend to order lunch from the eateries in your area, be sure to plan ahead. Research establishments that deliver or those that can prepare your meal relatively quickly. Thus, even on a tight deadline, you are best prepared.
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