Everybody wants more time. Becoming more efficient is a sure way to add minutes and even hours to your day. Here are five new habits tax pros should start practicing now so that come tax season, you will become the next productivity ninja.
Add structure to your schedule. Often, people feel their schedule rules their work day, but the more you control the calendar, the easier it is to make room for the unexpected. During tax season when the phone is buzzing all day long, you might have a hard time focusing on the job at hand. Create a standard routine in your schedule now. For example, allocate time slots to focus on tax returns. Set aside one hour each day to return all calls. A great pro tip is to change your voicemail to state you will return a call by the end of the business day, this way you won’t feel guilty for not responding immediately.
Stop multitasking. Very few people can solidly focus on more than one or two tasks at the same time, particularly if they require focus and depth as is required by tax returns. You may believe that you are getting more done when you juggle email correspondence with clients, tax documentation tracking and data entering, when in reality you are accomplishing less. Instead, concentrate your effort on one task at hand and reduce distractions.
Organize your documents. Disorganization cuts productivity rates in half, if not more. But organization is more than neat piles of paper on a desk — it’s about how easy you can access the needed information. It may take you a few extra hours to it set up a new process, but you will save a ton of time and irritation from having to search for what is important come tax season. An online portal to collect tax-related information and communicate with your clients is a sure way to go.
Time activities. Do you really know how much time you waste? People who take efficiency seriously set a time for each project and task, and then stick to that schedule. Try timing your tasks for a week — from phone calls with clients to data entry; then set specific times for similar activities. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much more efficient you can get.
Don’t forget to find time for fun. One happy employee can do the work of three average employees. So while every tax pro and firm is striving to be as efficient as possible, remember that you need rest and recuperation to perform at your peak. So find time for the things you enjoy!