If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you saw the word “procrastinate” in the headline and you immediately thought, “YES, PLEASE, YES.” Because, by now, even though it’s only February, you’re already neck deep in W-2s and W-10s and desperately searching for relief.
Don’t worry. What you’re feeling right now is normal. The human brain simply isn’t designed to focus on just one thing for an extended period of time (in your case, from January 23 to April 18).
Forcing yourself to work nonstop for four long months with no reprieve will not only decrease the amount of work you actually get done each day, but you might also find yourself making more and more silly mistakes — adding unnecessary clean-up work to your ever-overflowing plate.
Seriously. We’re not making this stuff up. According to science, taking quick breaks throughout the day to relax and reactivate your brain can actually make you more efficient, more productive, and feel more energized. All this combines to make your work more accurate and, quite frankly, more enjoyable.
So, go ahead, procrastinate. Then get back to work!
Here’s a few fun and fast ideas to take a quick break (read: reset your brain) without ever leaving your desk!
Take a Quiz
Can you name all the states containing the letter ‘S’? Can you recognize the lead singer of Led Zeppelin from a lineup? Do you prefer to communicate through movie quotes? Head on over to Mental Floss Quizzes to put your knowledge to the test! These quick general-knowledge quizzes take just five minutes or less, and because they cover topics ranging from world geography to 80’s rom-coms, there’s a little something for everyone.
Try these cool quizzes:
Would you rather find out which animal you were in a past life? Which Game of Thrones character you would be? Need to know which donut is your soulmate? For more … mindless quizzes, check out Quizzes on Buzzfeed. They’re quick, they’re silly, and, well, they’re pretty dang fun.
Try these funny quizzes:
Play a Game
Studies show that playing “brain games” for just a few minutes each day can result in a better long-term memory, better problem-solving skills, and even quicker thinking.
With that in mind, check out Mind Games, a collection of all the best (and free!) brain, puzzle, and word games on the internet. Play an old favorite or try something new!
Our favorite brain games:
Main Power: Can you fix the Main Power by solving this network puzzle?
Swipe a Car: Solve this car parking game with logic. Reach the exit as fast as you can.
Tower of Hanoi: A classic puzzle game! Move the tower from one end of the board to another.
If your brain isn’t quite up to the task of solving logic puzzles (or playing with even more numbers), find fun, five-minutes games on Kongregate. From fast-paced platformers to classic text games, there’s bound to be a game to suit your fancy.
Our favorite five-minute games:
You’re no stranger to reading. As an accountant, you’re constantly hunting down articles and books that will ultimately help you become a more valuable resource to your clients (and hey, that’s why we love ya’!). But there’s some big benefits to taking a break from work-related reading and picking up some literary fiction.
For one, it boosts your creativity — allowing you to make better use of your problem-solving skills. On top of that, studies show that reading fiction actually improves brain connectivity and cognitive function.
So set down Accounting Today, mute that CPA Academy webinar that’s playing in the background, and check out the top 160 greatest short stories, brought to you by American Literature. These stories are short enough to consume in just a few minutes, but powerful enough to leave a lasting impact.
Less interested in classic lit and more interested in learning about the world around you? We get it. Mental Floss is filled with quick reads that answer some of life’s greatest questions, like “What really happens when you swallow your gum?” and “Why is there no ‘E’ grade?”
Yes, we know Mental Floss has now appeared on this list twice, but it’s truly your one-stop shop when it comes to virtual procrastination. Their articles are written to be read in minutes — and the things you learn are sure to come in handy during your next trivia challenge!
Laugh a Little
Laughter truly is the best medicine, especially when boredom is your ailment. Bored brains are unproductive, unfocused, and far more likely to make a costly mistake. Cure your brain of boredom by catching up on your favorite webcomic or pursuing your favorite tax season memes!
Check out these webcomics:
When in doubt, videos of cute animals being silly can really go a long way.
Case in point:
You are welcome.
Browse the Web
The internet is a vast and wonderful place, filled with endless information and the answers to literally any question.
It’s also home to such websites as pointlesssites.com, which, you guessed it, contains a bank of pointless (but interesting) sites.
Our favorite “pointless” sites:
NiceOneDad.com: A site containing never-ending dad jokes. It doesn’t get much better than this.
HowManyPeopleAreInSpaceRightNow.com: Learn how many people are currently in space and how long they’ve been there.
Sanger.dk: Literally, just an endless loop of a dog licking a window.
Or theuselessweb.com, a website that does exactly what it promises to: deliver you to useless (yet entertaining) websites around the internet with the click of a button.
Go ahead. Take the leap. You never know where you’ll end up.
Snag Some Deals
Take your mind off those complicated tax forms by doing some virtual window shopping.
Start with Today’s Deals on Amazon. You never know what you might find, but you can bet you’ll find it for 50 percent (or more!) off the list price. Snag something you really need at a really great price, or treat yourself to something you wouldn’t normally buy (without the guilt of spending a lot of moolah). Not interested in buying anything? That’s fine. It’s still fun to browse all the strange things you can find on Amazon.
If you prefer to browse tropical vacations rather than coffee mugs and cell phone accessories, take your virtual window shopping to Groupon. Browse “Things To Do” in your area and gather ideas for life after tax season. Book a well-deserved massage and give yourself something to look forward to at the end of a long week. Or grab a Groupon for your favorite restaurant and treat yourself to a nice meal outside your office.
Browsing these deals will give your brain a much-needed rest … and booking a post-tax-season getaway (at a guilt-free price!) will give you something awesome to anticipate. After all, studies show that your mind is capable of solving the most difficult problems while daydreaming, so give yourself something to dream about!
Sometimes a break it just that, a break. A break from numbers, a break from problem-solving, or a break from thinking at all.
If you’re in need of just such a break, go to DoNothingFor2Minutes.com. This website forces you to literally do nothing for two entire minutes while your mind takes a well-deserved rest. Move your mouse or touch your keyboard and the countdown starts over. Turn the volume up and let the relaxing sound of waves washing up on the beach transport you to another time and place — a place where you aren’t surrounded by piles and piles of paper.
Two minutes not enough? Beaches not your thing? Go to Calm.com to further customize your quiet time. Calm is a guided meditation app that allows you choose your own happy place and select how much time you’d like to spend there. If you need some assistance winding down, Calm has some helpful tips.
Remember, science thinks breaks are important — and we do too. Make this your most successful tax season yet, and go ahead, procrastinate.