My intention was to post these articles every day, or at least once a week. Then things happened, and more things, and, well, you know how it goes. Never mind that. I’m back in the office, with a relatively clear stretch ahead, and I’m going to kick everything and everyone out of my way until I’m caught up. So there.
The task I’m currently floundering through is one that’s so very easy to keep up with and so dreadfully horrible if it’s allowed to slide. I’m talking about business record keeping. If you’re already a pro at running a business, yay for you, you probably don’t need this. For those of us trying to get up and moving, this is something that can make or break you.
Yeah, I can hear you already. Record keeeeeeping. (Said in the same tone as a guy mocking a girl for wanting to talk about feeeeelings.)
Look, it’s like a food log. Just make it part of your daily routine. From nine to nine thirty, or whatever time slot works for you, sit your ass down and write down two lists:
A) What you want to get accomplished today
B) The three most important items on that list, the ones that MUST be done TODAY.
At the end of your work day, sit your ass down for another half hour and write down two more lists:
A) What business related items you actually accomplished today. In detail. If you called the bank at 12:04, and talked for 40 minutes about a glitch in your statement, record it. (Yes. This does in fact require taking notes on everything business related that you do throughout the day. Yes. That does in fact suck rancid moose sweat. No, you can’t skip it for a day and catch up later. Trust me. I’ve skipped it for the past year and I’m fucking hating life right now as I frantically try to reconstruct what I’ve done. Some of the most insignificant seeming tasks turn out to be the most critical to record. You never know which ones will sting you.)
B) What you’ve done to reward yourself for all your hard work today. A glass of wine? Ten bucks in the bank by way of a paycheck? A piece of luxury chocolate? A walk on the beach? Looking up goofy images on Pinterest? Track it. Why? Because if you don’t track it, you won’t do it, and you’ll be burnt out and cranky faster than you can say “1099, please”.
Do I do all these things?
Oh, hell no. Not yet. But the theory is sound… 😀
What I actually do is a mad scramble of leaving myself notes on my smartphone memo pad and making lists on Basecamp. I refer to those notes and lists when I get to my desk in the morning, several times during the day, and when I’m feeling particularly panicky, at 1 am. I’m finding that these days, if something isn’t written down–pick up laundry detergent, take car in for inspection, email client about advertising details, hell, my mom’s birthday, even–it literally does not exist in accessible form in my overwhelmed brain storage system. Routine items like showers and feeding the dog are burned in to my habit patterns. Returning books to the library on time, for example, is not.
Recording daily business minutia makes me feel like a cubicle gnome. But I’m now finding that having to backtrack and construct records is like being slowly dragged, bleeding from a thousand paper cuts, through a tank of sharks with capped teeth.
I’d rather be a gnome in a cubicle for a couple hours a week than go through this again.
Go write down that you read this post as part of your business activity. And make sure to mention the chickens. That will make your year end review a lot more fun.
Oh, OK, this isn’t a chicken. It’s a dodo. And it’s the logo for CapClave. So what? When did I promise that everything would be completely organized and tied in cleanly? Nevarhhhhhh. So. Dodo. Capclave. Go this year. Because it’s fabulous fun, that’s why…. and you can say it’s a reward for all of your hard work. There. Tied it in. Mwah. 😀