It’s that time of year again – tax season!
If you just had a negative reaction, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
ADHD adults have a complicated problematic relationship with tax season.
Finding ADHD-friendly tax organizing tricks is one problem. Preparing and sending in that darn tax return is another.
And a third? It’s sooooo boring. Our theme song is, “Anything But Boring Details and Tasks.” And, getting tax returns to the IRS on time is fraught with boring details and tasks.
So is filing taxes ADHD-friendly? No way! Definitely, absolutely not.
But you know what also isn’t a friend to people with ADHD? Paying extra fees. Getting in trouble with the IRS. The negative self-talk, shame, and anxiety that come from not filing your taxes on time.
So this year, even though you get a bit of extra time (thank you, US government), let’s make sure we don’t procrastinate and dig ourselves into an ADHD tax nightmare of epic global proportions. (Cue the dramatic music.)
The Ugly Reality of ADHD Tax Procrastination
Here’s what I know: Tax day is going to roll around and there’s a good chance you’ll still be procrastinating on your taxes. ADHD works that way.
That’s why I want you to stop fighting procrastination and make it work in your favor. Plan to procrastinate. Use what I call Strategic Procrastination.
How does Strategic Procrastination work? It’s pretty simple, actually.
First, block out what I call a procrastination buffer. Time it right before the tax deadline to work on your taxes. Don’t schedule other things in your buffer. It is for focusing on your taxes at the last minute.
Strategic Procrastination won’t work without a wide procrastination buffer.
Next, take as many tiny steps towards working on your taxes as you can before you get to the procrastination buffer. This will help make preparing your taxes at the last minute easier.
What tiny steps? Putting all the tax forms in one place as the mail comes. Downloading your tax prep program. Printing off credit card bills. All examples of tiny steps that will make tax preparation easier before the deadline.
ADHD-Friendly Tax Time
Now let’s untangle this mess. If you have ADHD there are two parts to focus on to make preparing taxes easier. Thinking about taxes in smaller bits makes the whole mess less overwhelming.
- ADHD-friendly ways to organize tax information. Wisely gathering the information you need to prepare your taxes throughout the year. We’ll cover the details of this in next week’s blog.
- Motivating yourself to prepare and submit your taxes before the deadline. Using the small step and creating a buffer time will help. And, don’t fall for the “I’ll just file an extension” trap. That just prolongs the agony.
I have two tax filing goals for you:
My first goal is that you manage to file your taxes on time this year. If you live with a disorganized tax records system you can expect this to still be challenging. You won’t have an ADHD-friendly tax system set up early enough to make a big difference this year. But, follow my sage advice, and you’ll be in much better shape for next year.
My second goal is that next year (and every year after) preparing your taxes will be ADHD-friendly. Easier, less stressful. It will still be boring but the overwhelm will vanish.
Post below – how are you doing on your taxes this year?
Next week, we’ll focus on ADHD-friendly tax tips. Organizing, preparing, the whole deal. Stay tuned!