So make your taxes and defeat procrastination


    Why is it so hard to motivate yourself to do taxes?

    It’s true – although we know we can avoid this stress by starting earlier in the year, the majority of Canucks are harshly hesitant with their tax returns. For example, a survey by H&R Block Canada published in late March found that 60% of Canadians had been living since age 30NS Meeting.

    In addition, a third of respondents said they fear the income tax season more than usual because they feared they owe money. In such cases, procrastination is not only stressful, it can also be expensive.

    If you have income tax debt and you miss the filing deadline, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will charge you a late filing penalty of 5% of your balance due plus 1% for each full month you file after the due date. plus daily compound interest on any outstanding amount due.

    Why are we doing this to ourselves? It has gotten to the point where postponing income taxes has become almost a perverse national sport. According to Tim Pychyl, an associate professor of psychology at Carleton University who studies procrastination and its relationship to personal well-being, this is a coping mechanism – albeit one that isn’t doing us particularly well.

    We tend to postpone tasks like doing taxes that are associated with negative emotions like disinterest, boredom, or fear because we don’t want to deal with those bad feelings. Unfortunately, the tasks – and the negative emotions associated with them – do not go away. You’ll have to face them at some point, so there’s really no benefit to procrastinating, says Pychyl, author of Solving the Puzzle of Procrastination: A Brief Guide to Strategies for Change.

    Fortunately, there are ways to break your habit of “never doing today what you can put off until tomorrow”. Here are a few tips you can use to finally get past the procrastination this tax season.

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    How to make your taxes: Establish a plan that focuses on the next action

    Procrastination resides in your brain’s amygdala, part of the limbic system that controls the fight-or-flight response. So instead of telling yourself that all you have to do is get started – which will likely make you run away from the task – focus your attention on taking action.

    Now you might be thinking that if it were that easy, no one would have a procrastination problem in the first place. But the key, says Pychyl, is to just focus on the next little action you can take. For taxes, this can mean just getting your receipts or estimating your net income and checking your tax bracket. And the next action after that could be categorizing the receipts by charitable donation, entertainment, or business expenses. By focusing on the next action, you have drawn your attention away from your emotions fueling the procrastination.


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