Why Putting Off Filing Your Taxes Is Bad for Your Health

Do your taxes pronto for the sake of your health, please.

Consider this your public-service announcement for the day: If you haven’t already done your taxes, go do them. Now. With T-minus 25 days (!!) until Tax Day, time’s a-ticking. And if the Pennsylvania Psychological Association is right, procrastinating on filing your tax return could mean bad news for your health.

Yup, we’re talking about stress, which can affect your mood, sleep patterns, focus and concentration, and can cause you to overeat and drink too much. (Sound familiar?) While your body is usually able to cope with short-term stress, prolonged stress—like, you know, putting off filing your tax return for four months or longer, if you get an extension—can cause headaches, muscle aches and sometimes chronic illness. Yikes.

For the sake of society’s health, the PA Psychological Association would like me to pass along these tips for stopping tax procrastination in its tracks. Without further ado:

• Set a 15-minute period of time when you will work on your task. Treat it as a non-negotiable appointment with yourself. That is, you will do it regardless of how you feel.• Expect some initial discomfort, but know it will probably lessen within a few minutes of getting started.

• Say, “I will do it,” not “I have to do it.” (Notice how much stronger you feel when you say “I will.”)

• Break your project into smaller tasks and make a list of them. Pick any task – you don’t need to go in order – and cross it off your list. Do the same with the other items. As your list gets smaller you will become more motivated to finish.

For more productivity-boosting tips, go here.

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