Taxes too Taxing, I Continued Relaxing

My accountant requires that I get my tax info to him by March 18. I was impressed at how much resistance I felt as I considered this rather straightforward task. I decided to study my thoughts, feelings and behavior toward this task as a way of illuminating the dynamics of procrastination.

Starting in February, I mentally set time aside on numerous occasions for completing the task. There was plenty of time available for the couple of hours I needed to gather and organize receipts, and fill out a few worksheets. Still, I watched myself blow off every one of these planned work sessions, each time telling myself I’d do it later.

I felt a visceral jolt of reluctance wheneverI tried to make myself begin, and I could hear an inner voice stating “I do not want to do it.” In my mind, that box containing a year’s worth of receipts and W-2 forms represented an agonizing, tedious burden that would exhaust me and waste too much of my precious time. I reminded myself that these thoughts were a gross exaggeration and a distortion of reality, but somehow that realization didn’t make me more able to face the project.

On the other hand, I knew it would be best to do the task sooner rather than later, and I did not want to file an extension. It was like a responsible parent and a rebellious child were having an argument inside me. The kid was winning.

As March 18 approached, I felt more tension about the issue and thought about it more frequently. I began calculating how much time I had and how long the taxes would take. Intellectually I knew that it wasn’t that tough of a job, but still I resisted until the final hour. Literally.

Finally, in a state of intensity and dread, I buckled down on the afternoon of deadline and feverishly pawed through my bin of paper and reports. Within a couple of hours I had things organized in pretty good shape, and I reminded myself that if I forgot something, I still had a month before the accountant would send them out. I drove down to his office and proudly delivered my packet, a few minutes before he left for the day.

This familiar experience of the procrastination-binge cycle impressed upon me, once again, how powerful the dynamics of avoidance are, and how easily our intentions and goals are foiled by irrational aspects of our own mind.

I made the deadline. I deserve a refund.

About David Rasch

Author, psychologist, speaker, teacher, consultant, workshop leader
This entry was posted in Common Writing Block Problems, The Blocked Writer's Book of the Dead, Tips for overcoming writer's block and procrastination and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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