One step at a time

I recently attended a cooking demonstration where the menu was remarkable – 72-hr braised short ribs with pickled papaya sauce served over creamed parsnips. The chef was completely in control despite the fact he had several things cooking at once. In contrast, I also love watching The Worst Cooks in America. The biggest problem that I notice with these folks is that they are completely out of control when they cook. They are so nervous that they forget about the steps that need to be accomplished to get a good result.

I started thinking about the similarities with taxes. I have had clients over the years that got way behind in filing their taxes. None of these folks fell behind because they were protesting the tax system – they got behind and then they got overwhelmed. When they finally come in to seek help, it is usually a result of receiving nasty notices from the IRS. As they enter the conference room with me, I’ve had several quip that they felt that they were entering to the principal’s office. What an awful feeling – for me and for them!

If you are in this situation or know someone in this situation, I encourage you to break it down into manageable tasks. Deal with one year at a time – the earliest year first. Judging yourself harshly through this process will only make it harder. Just take it in steps and before you know it, the tax return information will be gathered so the tax return can be finished.  Your work may not result in the best meal you’ve ever had, but you can breathe a sigh of relief that you got it done.

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