7 steps to avoiding panic on the path to Self-Assessment season

1st Nov 2021
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This time we’re taking a look at how you can use a combination of personal tools and work tools to handle stress and avoid panic on the path to a more enjoyable Self-Assessment season.

Graphic of the 7 steps to avoiding panic


36 – Take a breath... stretch...

Let’s start this part of the journey with a reminder that it’s ok to take a breath.

Friend of BTCSoftware, Paola Saunders, has a video you can use to stretch and re-energise before we return to the journey:


37 – Create a work plan

Feeling in control is half the battle when it comes to times of high pressure, and while January is still a few months away you have a chance to set yourself up for success.

Your work plan should cover the weeks up to the end of January and include space to handle incoming surprises as well as opportunities to catch up on admin so you don’t get lost in the tax return grind!

A practice management tool (like Pixie!) can help automate much of your plan to give you space to breathe.

38 – Create a stress plan

Perhaps you already know how to spot your stress levels rising, but as busy season hurtles along you may find yourself speeding along with it.

Now is the perfect moment to figure out:

  • What causes you the most stress? This could be deadlines, long hours, a lack of breaks, loneliness, conflicting demands, or even pressures outside of work
  • How do you react when you’re feeling stressed? Think about physical indications (like headaches) and how you cope (like staying up too late)
  • What can relieve the stress for you? That might mean asking a colleague for a chat, putting into place some time-management strategies, going for a long walk or even just closing your eyes for a moment to breathe.

Having a plan ahead of time will make it easier to implement when you need it.

39 – Motivate like a toddler

Creating a rewards system for yourself can work wonders, so motivate yourself like a toddler – you could even implement a star chart!

Consider asking your team to get involved too and find out what you can do together to support each other in the pursuit of your rewards. It might be as simple as having a coffee social for a half-hour once a week or it could be that you’d like a team meal in February to celebrate a job well done.

Whatever your rewards look like, having a goal that isn’t just “survive January without losing my hair” can be very useful!

40 – Turn to the experts

Support is an invaluable tool when it comes to stress management. While your colleagues, friends and family are a fantastic source of personal support, there’s not much they can do if you’re stuck with a technical question.

We’re really proud to be experts in what we do, and even prouder that 93% of our customers agree that our support leaves them feeling happy!

Happy customer support feedback 5 stars - "Brilliant!"


41 – Build your tool shed

Your kettle’s fuse has blown and you’re in dire need of a big mug of tea. What do you do?

Chances are you have the screwdriver and replacement fuse you need in your tool shed and so you can act right away to get that essential cuppa brewing.

When you use software in your practice, you need to have a similar tool shed. We’ve explored mapping your software and skills to identify gaps, but you also need to know how to use the new tools too.

We provide onboarding when you join us, so the tools we provide are ready to go when you need them.

42 – End-of-week reset

Implementing an end-of-week reset can help you let go of the week and enjoy your weekend.

Try the three-part method below on a Friday to allow you to head into the weekend with a clear head knowing that Monday won’t be the headache it used to be.


  • Clear down your inbox: start by flying through and deleting everything you don’t need, then go through again and categorise or file the rest.
  • Write your Monday to-do list: setting up for Monday morning now will mean you’re less likely to worry about it over the weekend.
  • Send emails now: By firing off a few routine emails, you’ll have one less task for Monday and stand a chance of having the replies waiting for you before you’d usually have even asked!


  • Let go of unreasonable thoughts: cast a critical eye over what’s worrying you by asking yourself if you can control it or influence it. If you can’t, let it go.
  • Say thank you: if you’ve had a positive interaction with a colleague this week, drop them a quick message of thanks. You’ll both feel better for it!
  • Give yourself kudos: acknowledge what’s gone well this week and your part in it. Jot it down somewhere to make it feel more “real”

Switch off

  • Leave your laptop alone: it’s the weekend, do not touch your laptop! If you have to, stick a note to the screen – a powerful “STOP” might do the job!
  • Make a plan: get in touch with that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with and arrange to meet them.  
  • Take a breath: as you leave your desk, stretch out, breathe out and switch off from work.

Get help from the experts

If you'd love to have a less stressful Self-Assessment season, we can help! 

Get in touch to book a demo and discover the difference the right software can make.

Next time

We’ll be bringing you 7 steps to a more enjoyable Self-Assessment season from our experienced team, including CFO and ICAEW member, Ian Katté.

Text: next time 7 steps to Self-Assessment season from an experienced accountant