February 17, 2022
As your days become even more fast-paced and busier, we wanted to share tips on how to survive - and - thrive during these busy times. We asked our current Lead to the Future (L2F) class of emerging leaders and leadership trainers for their advice on how to work smarter and keep energy and focus in check.
Tackle your "busier" season like a champ! Win it. Crush it.
Jami Benyshek, CPA – Senior Manager, AdamsBrown, LLC
Keep your mental health in check. Keep up with regularly scheduled health appointments and take time to refresh/reset your mindset each week.
Cassandra Carolan, CPA – Manager, BT&Co., P.A.
Make sure to keep work hours and personal hours. No need to be “on the clock” 24/7. Set your schedule and keep to it.
Find joy in the small things and change your mindset to stay positive.
Joe Debauche, CPA – Manager, Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd, LLC
Consider scheduling a time each day to read and respond to emails to avoid losing focus on high value, priority tasks. Maintain a positive attitude and take time to reset when needed. Busy season moves one day at a time and so should you.
Keaton Dugan, CPA – Senior Associate, KCoe Isom LLP
My tax season survival advice would be to make sure that you’re taking time for yourself. Although our work and our clients are important, don’t ignore you own mental and physical health – and look out for your colleagues as well!
Beauty Henecke, CPA – Senior Tax Associate, Goering & Granatino, PA
Taking care of yourself and finding time to be with your family/friends is very important during busy season. It is important to take breaks during a workday and do the things you care about i.e. working out, going out for a walk, hanging out with family/friends. All this will help achieve a work-life balance during busy season.
Candice Johnson, CPA – Manager, Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd, LLC
Prioritize. There is only so much time in a day and distractions are EVERYWHERE. Keep a list of must-do items and keep re-focusing on those items. Everything else can wait.
Be a team. Make time to help others. They will do the same for you.
Shawnell Linot, CPA – Senior Manager, BKD, CPAs & Advisors
Find the thing that energizes you both at work and at home and make sure to include both at least once a week. For work: Is this chatting with your coworkers or researching and digging into a topic you want to know better? For home: Do you love to read or run? Whatever it is, make sure to find a bit of time at least once a week to enjoy!
Rachel Ogle, CPA – Director of Accounting & Inventory, PTMW, Inc.
Possibly the most important part of keeping up during the busy season is taking the time for mental and physical fitness. Put your proverbial oxygen mask on before helping others; this is critical. Make sure you are eating right, drinking water, getting exercise, getting plenty of sleep, and taking enough breaks. You are your number one client and you need to treat yourself well to get everything else done.
Kelly Terhune, CPA – Senior Associate, KCoe Isom LLP
My advice on surviving busy season is setting aside time for yourself. Whether that is leaving work early one night a week, taking a walk during the day, scheduling a massage on the weekend – you need to find little ways to take care of yourself. You won’t do your best work if you are exhausted and burnt out, so it is better to spend the hours on yourself instead of working nonstop!
Tara A. Mollhagen Shepherd, JD, CPA – Associate Attorney, Bever Dye, LC
Don't do it alone. Having colleagues I can visit in the office or text, or even having a dinner pause once a week made all the difference.
That and a theme song for every crunch time!
Going in to your busy season, then, make sure you are setting aside a few minutes regularly to think critically about your priorities and plan. If you step back every once and a while to look at the whole picture, things tend to go a bit more smoothly.
Allison Whitfield, CPA – Senior Tax Associate, Goering & Granatino, PA
My busy season tip is to find small ways to brighten your day and keep you centered. For example, a plant on your desk, your favorite snack, a quick walk outside. For me, I have a daily cat calendar on my desk so I start each day with a new cute picture to look at!
Chloe Zimmerman, CPA – Senior Associate, KCoe Isom LLP
Try to go on a walk during the workday. Even if it’s only 15 minutes, the time away from your desk can really help!
Sarah Elliott, ACC, CPA, Co-Founder and Principal, Intend2Lead, LLC – Lead to the Future Trainer
Don’t sacrifice your own well-being in order to get the work done. This doesn’t do anyone any favors, as you’ll only burn yourself out and not perform as well as you’re capable of. Instead, carve out some space to take care of yourself during busy times, so you can unleash your peak performance. You don’t have to invest hours into self-care. Just find a few, simple ways to consistently support yourself. Starting your day off strong with some morning exercise, giving yourself a cut-off time for work so you can enjoy some personal time, and getting a good night’s rest with a consistent bedtime routine can make all the difference.
During busy, stressful times, humans usually go into fight-or-flight mode. When we’re in survival mode, we tend to see things through a negative lens and dehumanize the people around us. This mental shift usually happens without our conscious awareness, and it greatly hinders our leadership. We may see others as tools to getting what we want or obstacles standing in the way of what we want. We may not treat one another with the kindness and respect that all human beings deserve. Shine the light of consciousness on these very human tendencies by bringing mindfulness to your day. Simply notice when you get caught up in negative thoughts. Then, take a few deep, centering breaths to give your mind and body a powerful reset. You will show up as a more present and supportive leader for others.
Jon Lokhorst, CPA, PCC, Owner, Lokhorst Consulting LLC – Lead to the Future Trainer
This is the time to double down on self-care. You can't draw water from an empty well. Establish healthy rhythms that keep you healthy, fresh, and energized. Focus on the big three of diet, exercise, and sleep, but add life-giving hobbies and relationships into the mix. Encourage your team to do the same.
Make sure you get enough sleep. Nothing will keep you from showing up as your best self like fatigue will.
Put non-negotiable blocks of time in your calendar to unplug from work. Even small blocks strategically placed throughout your schedule can provide important breaks in the action. Devote this time to rest, family, and self-care practices.
Schedule the work that requires the most focus for the first thing in the morning. That's when you have the most willpower and focus to devote to important, but not necessarily urgent, tasks. Close your office door, avoid your email, and block out other distractions to preserve these focused work blocks.
Garrett Wagner, CPA/CITP, CEO/Founder, C3 Evolution Group – Lead to the Future Trainer
The stress this time of the year isn’t going to go away. What we have control over is how we deal with it. We need to make time each day to do something fun, something relaxing, something to take your mind off the stress and what feels like a never-ending pile of work. Find something that works for you to relax and unwind. Can’t find anything? A good trick, find a good simple game you can play on your phone, solitaire or sudoku. Play them on a moderate level of difficulty. Too easy and your brain will drift off to work, too hard you will give up. Find that right middle ground and your brain power will be diverted to playing the game and will automatically stop thinking about all those tax returns piling up. It is a proven brain hack.
The Ignite blog is an official publication of the Kansas Society of CPAs, Copyright 2021. Reprinted with permission.
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