I'm just putting on the finishing touches on my taxes.  Whew!  Where are you in the process?  If you haven't started yet, there's a little bit of good news.  You have a couple extra days because the deadline this year is actually Tuesday, April 17th.

Why do we procrastinate and what can we do to get motivated and reduce our stress levels?

The reasons for waiting until the last minute are varied, according to the reading I've done on this topic.  Some people feel they work best under pressure.  Others fear or resent the IRS.  Some people are busy and/or disorganized.   And face it, doing taxes are not fun!  We can find many other things we'd rather do, right?

Rather than spend too much time analyzing WHY you haven't filed yet, let's focus on how to get them done.  Because once they're done and in the mail, THEN we can have fun doing the things we really like to do!

Experts say it helps to find an Accountability Buddy; someone who can check in on you and make sure you're getting your tax prep done.   They also suggest doing work in small segments:  maybe organize your receipts one night and your w-2s or 1099s another night.  If you use tax preparation software, take advantage of the fact you can enter information in bits and pieces.  It doesn't have to get done all in one sitting.   These computer programs are also recommended for people who have "math anxiety."

Do you tend to eat chocolate when you're stressed and need a boost of energy?   I do.  Experts say candy is not the answer but rather, we should fuel up at regular intervals on fruit, nuts, and yogurt.   When you're feeling anxious, or your neck or eyes are tired from sitting at the computer or looking down at receipts, try stretching, deep breathing, or a little exercise.

I hope that helps.  Do you have any tips for the Ocean County residents who will be working on their taxes in the next several days?  Please share in the Comments section.

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