Change Overload: 5 Simple Coping Strategies

Master the change around you with some healthy new habits. 

By Sandi Leyva
The Complete Guide to Marketing for Tax & Accounting Firms

This busy season brought with it massive changes in tax laws, form layouts, technology, and client confusion. If all this change seems to be a bit much, you’re not alone.

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Handling change requires extra energy and resources that our brains would rather not use, causing a struggle within ourselves.

As you move from the April 15th deadline to working on your pile of extensions, here are some tips to reduce the feeling of overwhelm and better manage your energy and productivity.

Everyone is different when it comes to the amount of change they can tolerate. Use these five tips to help you master the change around you.

1. Cling to your consistent routines.

While everything is changing around you, stick to some tried and true routines that you can control. If you commute, take the same road every day.  One CPA I know eats lunch at 12 noon on the dot every day. When I travel, I park in the exact same row every single time so I don’t have to worry about that one detail.

2. Reinforce your learning curve.

When you do have to learn something new, plan your activities so that it’s reinforced right away. This will shorten your overall learning curve and have you up to speed fast. For example, if you’re applying the depreciation rules, stack up all the returns that deal with that so you can repeat your knowledge while it’s fresh.

You may also want to group together all of your partnership returns and do them back to back.  Then tackle your nonprofit returns back to back, then your corporate returns, and so on.  This reduces the amount of change within a short timeframe.

3. Plan change while your willpower is at full strength.

If possible, when you do have to face a change, plan for it when your willpower reserve is at its fullest, which is in the morning (no matter whether you’re a morning person or not). Re-arrange your schedule so that you tackle complex tasks mid-morning. Save the afternoon for meetings and easier work.

4. Make time for comfort and self-care.

With too much change going on along with deadline stressors, our immune system can become compromised.  To avoid getting sick, we need to make some time for self-care.  You can do this in a variety of ways depending on what you need individually.  It can be as simple as making sure you have your favorite sweater and hand lotion with you at work or as complex as needing a regular spa appointment to rejuvenate.

5. Find a hobby that grounds you.

When you do have time off, take care to spend it on calming tasks (like sleep!) such as reading, working out, gardening, or spending time with family.  Avoid watching horror movies, jumping out of airplanes, and playing video games, and you’ll feel more in balance.

And while we know there’s not much time for gardening when you’re working 20-hour days, you can replicate your hobby somewhat by including plants in your office, pictures of your family having fun, and enjoying your window view.

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