FOUR ELEMENTS COACHING

Moving You From Surviving to
THRIVING

Blog

The best thing in this picture is the coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re self-employed, you’re responsible for all your bookkeeping, accounting and tax documentation. If you’re a Solopreneur like me, you probably choose to do it yourself.  And maybe, like me, it’s your least favorite thing to do and it often doesn’t get done regularly.  I’ll admit – I have gone an entire year and done nothing for myself but print out my monthly bank statements and filed income and expense documentation into appropriate folders. Not a great workflow. In fact, it’s a system that means I spend DAYS (usually at least a month) getting documentation and spreadsheets together for my accountant to file my tax return.

Every year, I begin with good intentions about bookkeeping, accounting and tax time. There’s a list in my head that runs something like this:

ð      Schedule monthly time for bookkeeping

ð      Enter income and expense data into spreadsheet monthly

ð      Save and organize documentation

ð      Start getting tax documentation summary for accountant in January, not April.

ð      Design a more paperless system

ð      Reconcile bank statements monthly

ð      Project income and expenses

Each year, I have failed at this list in some way.

For my 2016 return, I made some improvements, but I also fell short of my overall goal.

This year is going to be different. It already is. I pulled the list out of my head and put it down on paper. I scheduled a monthly money date for myself – the last Friday of every month. I’ve organized my receipts by month rather than just throwing them into a box or file to sort whenever I decide to take the time.

But my biggest revelation hit me the other day while driving to an appointment. I was passing by an office where I worked at a nonprofit for several years. I had just submitted my packet to the accountant and was thinking about aspects of my time working for for others.  In addition to all the responsibilities of being an Executive Director for a state nonprofit, I was responsible for the day to day administration of all the funds that came in and out of that organization.  Guess how I did that?

ð      Made copies of every piece of financial documentation

ð      Filed documentation and copies into files and a master binder, sorted by month

ð      Filed important papers like insurance, tax returns, yearly financial statements, etc. where I could easily find everything.

ð      Reconciled bank statement with Treasurer monthly

ð      Filed quarterly tax payments

ð      Created quarterly financial report for the board of directors

ð      Submitted tax info to accountant within a month after fiscal year end

So why do I treat my own company and my own business any differently?  Why is my business any less important than any of the other organizations I’ve served?

It isn’t.

“I Don’t Love This Task!!” my inner voice cries. “I can just do this at the end of the year! I’ve pulled it off before!”

But I hate doing it in large bunches like that. It feels overwhelming. I beat myself up with horrible self-talk. I feel like I am forgetting something important.

So on a Saturday afternoon when the house is quiet and I’ve committed to a few hours of catch up in my business, I am determined. I can make lists of what I really want, begin to create new habits and design a new workflow today. I can set aside this time I need monthly to do what I need to do. I can honor Bookkeeping Day just like I honor Back Up Day!

I could (not should) honor the day-to-day financial administration of my business just as I honored those tasks for companies I have worked for.  I can make that time feel comforting by pouring a cup of coffee, getting everything I need together and keeping that appointment with myself, no matter what.

Maybe I’ll even learn to like it a little more.

 

 

I am NOT great at handling an email once. I’m working on it, but I will still open an email, read it, decide I need to take action on it and then leave it in my inbox for me to handle later. Later turns into tomorrow or someday and I end up with…too many emails, clogging up my inbox, that are dated and no longer relevant.

I do meditate – probably more frequently than a lot of people do. I just have this sense that I would be better off if I meditated every single day. And as much as I love meditation, it does feel difficult to keep up a daily practice. I try to remember how I created dedicated time for my morning pages ritual all those years ago. What makes me automatically get up, make the coffee, and begin journaling every single day of my life, but stops me from moving into a few moments of meditation right after? How can this be so difficult for me when it seems so simple?

Don’t beat yourself up over what self care looks like. Just make it look like whatever you can manage today. Even if that’s just taking a shower.

Morning pages are definitely a habit for me now. But they take a good bit of effort, when I really think about it. I have to get up early sometimes to catch a flight or to drive to a client appointment. On vacation, I may want to get up early and have breakfast in whatever city we find ourselves visiting. But for some reason, morning pages are the way I operate now and they can’t be skipped. So I adjust my waking time to make sure that it happens – three pages, with my coffee, in the same seat every day.

Those of you who follow me regularly know that a strategic plan is one of my 4 Elements for Success! I think it’s pretty difficult to move forward if you don’t have a plan or roadmap for what you will do to accomplish your goals. It’s helps to keep you focused on what’s most important and eliminates your tendency to follow every bright, shiny object that will max out your time or capacity.

My heart and my hands and my mind share an occupation. I am a coach. I am a writer. I engage people in the discovery of ways to do work that they too can love. My goal really is to help their hearts, their hands and their minds find an occupation that creates a rich and wonderful life. I help them discover and give them permission to do work that brings them the greatest satisfaction. Whether that work is routine and predictable or wild and crazy with no limits.

My client was describing how she just bought a new car and her gauge tells her how many miles she should expect to be able to drive before she runs out of gas. I replied that I have a similar feature in my car, but have the option of viewing that measure or viewing another measure of miles per gallon functionality, etc. My client responded, “I wish there was a gauge for my personal energy that would measure how many clients I can serve before I just plain feel worn out and unable to give anything else.”

The power of a notebook is simple and yet so profound. If you carry around a small pad with you everywhere you go, nothing you ever think, hear or say is lost to you. You never have to worry about whether it will come back around again or what happens if you forget it completely. It’s there – in ink. Until you decide to deal with it.