“It’s income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.” —Dave Barry
Tax preparation annually threatens my mental and emotional stability. Collecting all the information for our CPA and double-checking the numbers is even more complicated when you have dyslexia and cataracts. The dyslexia I’ve had all my life, but the cataracts are new. Combined, they create a real challenge.
(And to answer your unspoken questions: Yes, I’m a methodical person, keeping all financial records organized, and yes, I’m having surgery for the cataracts sometime this spring.)
Normally, I put off doing taxes until the day before my appointment with our CPA, but that causes the job to grow bigger in my mind and increases my stress level. This year I’ve tackled the tax preparation problem by breaking the huge task down into smaller tasks and scheduling each task within a short time frame with a set deadline—no interruptions allowed.
Yesterday I got the first major task done in the allotted time. This afternoon I’ll finish two other tasks within a certain time frame, and tomorrow I’ll complete the project—again within a set beginning and ending time.
Mentally this causes me to focus on getting the job done instead of allowing it to become a mental stress monster. Because this is on my day planner and my husband has been alerted to not interrupt me, I don’t feel overwhelmed by something I don’t normally enjoy doing.
The key is to break down the mountain into manageable molehills. Schedule a set beginning and end time to complete each task, and don’t allow any interruptions during your work time (no phone calls, no emails, no chatting with the spouse or kids, and no side trips for a “surf the web” break.) The plan produces a positive stress that forces you to get a lot accomplished within a short amount of time.
I actually enjoyed doing taxes yesterday. I think I was finally able to put “taxes” in the “whatever you do” part of 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (NIV).
What do you do to tackle the boogeyman of tax preparation? How does that help you do your taxes “for the glory of God”?
In Him together, Susan Gaddis
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