Hey, I’m Taylor Vogel and this is Now That I’m Not Your Teacher. [cue music] Each week we’ll explore an aspect of adulting that you might have missed in school. Since I used to be a teacher, I’ll structure it in ways that are proven to help you retain information. But since I’m not your teacher anymore, I can approach it in a way that’s honest and sometimes inappropriate for a classroom.
In this week’s unit, we’re putting the spotlight on taxes. In today’s episode, we’ll set a workflow for doing our taxes.
One of the biggest reasons I’ll procrastinate on a task is because I don’t know how long it will take me to accomplish the task. This is the reason that I highly limit my cleaning routine, grocery shop at only one store for at least a quarter of the year at a time, and get project plans for work out of my head and onto a whiteboard timeline.
And when it comes to something as ever-changing as taxes? It’s best to plan on three work sessions of about two hours each. I say three two-hour sessions instead of one six hour chunk, because it’s very likely that you’ll need a break. If you’re not a tax professional, this is bound to get frustrating, or confusing at the very least. So break it up into three shorter sessions.
I recommend that session one be the gathering time. In this two-hour chunk of time, you learn what you need and gather all of the corresponding papers, forms, and digital documents and organize them into the same format, so it’s easier for you to access them. I like to create a digital file and pop PDFs of everything in there, then file any hard copies away in my tax folder in my filing tote. I’m less likely to lose a paper in between sessions if I’ve put them all in the same format on my computer.
If you’re doing your taxes yourself, session two is the time to dig deep into actually filing, actually plugging in numbers in the service you’re using to file. If you’re taking your taxes to someone to be done, this would be that appointment. I highly recommend creating an environment where you can deeply focus for two hours—I’ve had some messy changes from year to year, and it’s never taken me longer than this, because I already have my papers done, and because I focus. I also have a yummy warm, non-alcoholic drink to get me through it. You need to be sober for this.
So, if you’ve filed in session two, why do I recommend 3 sessions? Because something will probably go wrong at some point. It’s better to have a work session on the books and use it than to have to try and find time to schedule in the last thing you want to do—more paperwork. I’ve had to go back and re-enter information after filing before to verify it about a week after I filed. So I recommend spacing these sessions out about a week apart. In planning to fail, you’ll be less inconvenienced if something unexpected happens.
So what do these sessions look like for you? Mine are on early Saturday mornings. But do you work better after your afternoon gym session? What about early before work? Let me know on Instagram @nowthatimnotyourteacher.
Now That I'm Not Your Teacher by Taylor Vogel is a podcast that offers insight about the real world stuff that teachers often want to say, but either don't have time to or really shouldn't.
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