It’s officially tax season. From personal experience I know this is a time of year when it can be tempting to procrastinate. So, I partnered with my friends at TurboTax to share four tips on how to get on with your taxes – and fast forward a potential refund! Before we jump in, I wanted to mention TurboTax Live, which is a service they provide where you can click to connect and have a one-way, live video chat with a real CPA or an Enrolled Agent to answer all your tax questions on-demand, year-round. I love that it’s a one-way video so they can’t see you – you can keep that onesie on if you like! Today, I’m sharing what I do to keep focused when I do my taxes; they work for me but this is a personal area so just try them out and see what does and doesn’t work to make you more productive.1. Set an intention and a timer
The first trick when I need to focus and not get distracted by the internet, social media, email or, frankly, anything else is to set a timer on my iPhone. Before setting the timer, I pick one thing I am going do, set it as an intention and then I turn on a timer for 20 or 30 minutes. I know this sounds stupid, but for me the combination of the specific intention and the timer focuses me on ensuring I have achieved the task before the timer ends. As soon as reach towards a distraction, I remember I only have a certain amount of time left and it prompts me to refocus on the task I’m meant to be doing. I do this with my taxes by breaking them down into various intentions/tasks so that my taxes as a whole can be completed in more manageable chunks of 20-30 minutes, such as sorting receipts, filling out a spreadsheet, organizing all my tax forms etc.2. Wear headphones, but don’t play music
When I need to focus to get something done I often put my headphones in and don’t even play music. I find with headphones in I get less distracted but also people don’t interrupt me so much, unless it’s really important. I am not suggesting you do this all the time, as conversations and connections are important, however if you have a hard deadline such as taxes, then it can be great to help focus you. And music isn’t a complete no-go, but I’d recommend something without vocals or that you don’t know so you aren’t tempted to get distracted by the vocal.3. If you need help, ask for it
I procrastinate more when I need help with something. This is how it plays out: I get stuck so I turn to the internet and end up in a black hole. I start searching the subject that I need an answer to, but before long I get conflicting answers and then get distracted with something related but not actually what I wanted the answer for. I’ve learned that sometimes, especially with complex tasks, it’s often easier to find an expert whether that be a friend, colleague, or if it’s about taxes, a CPA, and ask them for help. Turbo Tax Live have CPAs and Enrolled Agents who are on demand anytime to answer your questions – sometimes a quick chat with an expert can save you hours of research.4. Give yourself little rewards
My last tip is to reward yourself when you achieve something. Even if it is something small, such as finishing a presentation, clearing twenty emails from your inbox or completing your intended task within the timer you set, be sure you celebrate it! It doesn’t have to be big – maybe a mini macaroon with your afternoon coffee – but make sure you give yourself some love for the progress you make.