We’ve had impeachment votes, worldwide pandemics, quarantine-like lockdowns (for the healthy), public police brutality, widespread protests, intense riots, MURDER HORNETS, statues falling, social media anger and now we have a drunken and murderous monkey to top off our 2020.
What’s worse — the year isn’t even halfway over yet. And there are plenty of other things that we could have thrown in there, just for giggles.
Oh yes — and some people still need to pull together their taxes.
And they’re due in about THREE WEEKS. (July 15th, 2020)
Is that you?
And if it is, does it startle you?
There have been so. many. distractions. these past few months for Southern California taxpayers that it’s easy to see how it could have been set aside. And perhaps not even unwisely (a few words on that in a moment).
But now, well … it’s go time.
(If you HAVE used us, could I ask a favor? Please let us know what you thought. We really appreciate it. You can also find us on Yelp and/or Google Maps. A great review would be fantastic, but if you have problems, feel free to shoot me an email so I can address them and make it right somehow.)
Now, if you are panicked, we can easily file an extension on your behalf, and make sure that your return is still handled as advantageously as possible. (Which doesn’t mean an extension to *pay*, but that’s a subject for another day.)
But I also know how procrastinating difficult work (like getting your taxes ready) can induce a lot of guilt.
And with all of the junk flying around our culture these days, the LAST thing you and I need is more guilt. So I’m here to fix that for you (and I even have a gift for you at the end of my Note).
Let’s break those chains of guilt together, shall we?
Why Procrastination Makes Sense in 2020 For Southern California Taxpayers
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” -George S. Patton
Still haven’t filed your taxes yet? You wouldn’t be alone during this donkey of a year.
Or maybe you have already done so, but there is another difficult or cumbersome task you’re avoiding.
Well, it could be that you are, in fact, smarter than the average bear.
You see, right now there are an infinite number of things you could be doing. No matter what you work on, you’re not working on everything else. So the question is not how to avoid procrastination, but how to procrastinate well.
In my view, there are three kinds of procrastination. Depending on what you do instead of working on something, you could work on:
(b) something less important, or
(c) something more important.
That last type, I’d say, is good procrastination.
This is the kind of procrastination practiced by the “absent-minded professor” type, who forgets to shave, or eat, or even perhaps look where he’s going while he’s thinking about some interesting question. His mind is absent from the everyday world because it’s hard at work in another.
That’s the sense in which the most impressive Southern California people I know are all procrastinators. They’re type-C procrastinators: they put off working on small stuff to work on big stuff.
What’s “small stuff?” Roughly, work that has no chance of being mentioned in your obituary. It’s hard to say at the time what will turn out to be your best work (will it be your thesis for your PhD, or that detective thriller you worked on at night?), but there’s a whole class of tasks you can safely rule out: grinding through emails, doing your laundry, washing the car, getting a haircut–anything that might be called an errand.
Good procrastination is avoiding errands to do real work.
Good in a sense, at least. The people who want you to do the errands won’t think it’s good. But you probably have to annoy them if you want to get any real work done. The mildest-seeming people, if they want to do real work, all have a certain degree of ruthlessness when it comes to avoiding errands.
Some errands, like replying to emails, go away if you ignore them (perhaps taking friends with them). Others, like mowing the lawn, or filing your tax returns, only get worse if you put them off. In principle, it shouldn’t work to put off the second kind of errand. You’re going to have to do whatever it is eventually. Why not (as past-due notices are always saying) do it now?
The reason it pays to put off even those errands is that real work needs two things errands don’t: big chunks of time, and the right mood. If you get inspired by some project, it can be a net win to blow off everything you were supposed to do for the next few days to work on it. Yes, those errands may cost you more time when you finally get around to them. But if you get a lot done during those few days, you will be more net productive.
So here’s where we come in.
Consider us “The Ultimate Procrastination Solution”.
Allow us to take the pain away from these second-level tasks (like getting your return filed) — and you go back to writing that killer novel.
“CRISIS Action Plan” for my Southern California tax clients and friends:
1) Don’t marinate in other people’s panic. Be mindful of your social media consumption.
2) Continue to stay financially and logistically prepared for worsening situations.
3) Make sure you have some ready, liquid assets, if you are able. (I.e., cash in the bank, and in hand.)
4) Set aside plans for any big spending until the dust settles — but especially look out for your small business owner friends and vendors.