Well, That Didn't Go As Planned

Today is April 15th, the tax filing deadline. Except not this year. Again.

For most people, this isn't a big deal. It may even be a relief. However, in my business, we staff up between January and April. We stay open from 8 AM to 8 PM and work weekends. Everyone on my team works long hours to get the job done and to do it well. We count on a big party on April 15th and getting time off and flexibility for the rest of the year.

Since I have a business to run and a financial planning practice to boot, I need to finish my tax returns and move on. An extended deadline leads to clients pushing back appointments, paying seasonal staff for a longer period, and distractions when all I want to do is move into the next business phase. It is not my ideal scenario.

So, I'm curious. How many of you bought my story? Our brains default to high drama and powerlessness in the face of unexpected change. I absolutely had all these thoughts about the deadline change.

But are they true? Do I have to keep my seasonal staff on for an extra month? Is it impossible for me to refocus on my overall business management and financial planning practice in May? Do I have to extend my late hours and keep my appointment schedule open for an extra month?

The fact is. I do not have to do any of these things. My choice is that I won't do all these things. I have made several strong decisions relating to how I will execute my business operations in May.

I will not keep all the seasonal staff through May. We will move to our regular hours of operation on April 16th. I will not keep my appointment calendar open for tax returns. I will begin work on my 2nd quarter goals.

There are accommodations our management team has chosen, as well. We will move our tax party to May 17th. I will keep Thursdays open for limited tax consultations and review, primarily by phone and Zoom meeting. I will refer clients who want a face-to-face appointment to other advisors in my office.

To make these choices, I first acknowledged that I had options.

Then I evaluated the mental obstacles that came up for me. I worried my tax clients would be upset and leave if they couldn't get an in-office appointment with me. I worried about a slow down in cash flow. I worried about clients deciding to extend to October since they were already getting out of the normal April 15th routine.

Next, I weighed the pros and cons of each decision. Keeping extended hours for an extra month would be brutal for my staff. In our company culture, we are enthusiastic about gearing up and working hard for a specific period. We all value our rest and flexibility throughout the rest of the year. I am not willing to punish my team for a circumstance outside of their control. There is no reason I cannot complete my clients' returns by April 15th. I prefer to stick to the original plan and stay on track to meet my annual goals, even if it means a few people decide to use a different preparer in my firm.

Finally, I make a decision and honor it. There is no indulging in what I should or shouldn't have done after making the decisions. I commit myself to the process and give it my all.

What decisions feel out of your control? What decisions are you afraid to make? Where do you feel stuck with no available alternatives?

Follow the 4 step decision process and see how relieved you feel.

  1. Acknowledge you have choices and brainstorm alternatives.

  2. Evaluate the mental objections and obstacles.

  3. Weigh the pros and cons of each option.

  4. Make a firm decision.

  5. Commit to and execute based on the decision.

Indecision steals our dreams. Don't let it take yours. Coaching can help you remove the blinders you have about your options and show you where your stories are just that. I am here for you if you want to get unstuck and move forward.

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