Category Archives: new york

Are You Working on All the Wrong Things?

Are You Working on All the Wrong Things?

Have you ever gone through your list of things to do and looked for the easiest thing to knock out first? Have you ever been moody when you’ve looked through your tasks and said to yourself, “I don’t feel like doing that one, that one, or that one?” Do you have some items on your to do list that have been there for a while (like months)?

If so, you’re not alone. Maybe we’ve been working on all the wrong things first! Check out the time management idea below that I recently read about.

One of the top time management secrets that smart business owners implement is to prioritize their tasks in a very special way: by the highest payback, and not the biggest sense of urgency.Time-is-money-29387-300px (1)

 

 

 

The truth is we may not be able to get to every single thing we want to do, especially those of us who are creative business owners who have an idea every minute! You may have a lot of them captured on your to do list, and some may still be swimming around in your head. Keeping you awake even!

One of the ways that you can choose your opportunities and slim down that ever-growing to do list is to understand the concept of return on investment. For each task, how much money could it bring you if you did it? Some of the items that are not urgent but incredibly profitable are often the items we’re too exhausted to do once we complete all the required client and compliance work we need to do.

The successful business owner will make time for those profitable but not urgent activities. In fact, they will do them first thing in the morning before checking their email or returning calls.

Here’s an exercise to try on your own to-do list. Assign a dollar value to each task on your list in terms of revenue potential or cost savings. If you got to that task, how much could it save you or make you?

Then the fun starts. Sort your to-do list by this new dollar value column you just added. Sort the highest payback tasks to the top and the lowest payback tasks on bottom.

What’s jumping out at you on the top of your list that you’re not getting to? Can you find a time on your calendar to do it this week?

When we step back, become more proactive about insisting that we get a return on our time for what we’re doing, we can make a really huge difference in our bottom line. It’s as simple as assigning some values to the tasks on our to-do list, and then re-sorting them by that value.

However you identify them, the goal is to bring to our attention our highest potential revenue opportunities so we can act on them. Even if you only get to one more per week than you are currently doing, you’ve made wonderful progress.

It may take some discipline to resist tackling the urgent tasks. When we accomplish our urgent tasks, we feel needed. We love rushing to the rescue of clients that need us. When we attempt our high-dollar tasks, it may be a little uncomfortable, even scary. So that’s why we avoid them.

Prioritizing is something we all have to do, since we live in a world that competes for our limited time. Prioritizing by highest dollar return on investment is something the most successful business owners do, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.

When we do the serious work of choosing what is really going to move our business forward, we will see the changes in our revenue.

Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Do I keep it forever or can I shred it?

Your desk is cluttered and your file cabinets are overflowing with paper. You can’t even close the drawers anymore, and your hard drive is screaming at you to delete some files and create some free space.

Guess what it’s time to do! That’s right, it’s time to go through all those files and pieces of papers and get rid of the stuff you don’t need any more.  Before you get started, make a plan, it might take a couple days or even weeks (depending on how long you’ve been hanging on to stuff) to get through it all.. Decide if you’re going to start with the file cabinets or the computer files and then spend a couple of hours each day until the task is completed.  Of course if you like this type of thing, the organizing and cleaning, and want to spend entire full days on it, then go for it, and let me know when you’re done, you can come do mine!

However you can’t just start shredding and deleting, you need to know what documents and receipts are important to keep and for how long.  So below you’ll find a list of some personal and business items and a recommendation for how long they should be kept.  If you really want to get organized and maybe even go paper free, take everything you want to save and scan it in to files on your computer. File them in individual folders for each year.

Tax Returns and related tax documents:

The IRS has three years from your filing date to audit your tax return; you also have three years from your filing date to amend your return if you make a mistake. However because tax laws are always changing and the IRS actually keeps your information a lot longer than this I would keep your returns and all documents relating to them indefinitely.  The best way to file them would be to scan everything, and save as a pdf document.

Credit card receipts and statements:

Every month you should be reconciling your credit card statement.  If everything matches up you can shred the receipts that are not related to taxes. I would also suggest that you keep the receipts for any large purchases.  You only need to keep the statements for a few months unless they are tax related.

Bank Records, check registers, voided checks and check stubs:

Any banking related documents that are personal can be discarded after a year. If Business related I would suggest up to 10 years and of course if tax related keep them forever.

Personal Bills:

Phone bills, utilities and other personal bills only need to be kept for a year or shred them after you’ve seen the payment clear the bank. Most of us do our banking online these days, and even receive the bills electronically so you might not have anything to keep.

Medical records and insurance paperwork:

It’s suggested that you keep your medical insurance records like bills, copies of prescriptions and premium statements for five years after treatments ends. If you’ve claimed the medical expense on your taxes file them with the tax return and keep indefinitely.

Business Reports:

Business Tax Returns and related documents – as discussed above, indefinitely!

Monthly Financial Statements3 years

Annual Financial Statements – indefinitely

Sales Invoice and payment slips (cash or credit) – 7 years

Expense Reports – 5 years

W2’s and reports to IRS for employer taxes – 7 years

Vendor payments, invoices and purchase orders – 7 years

Please keep in mind that the time frames I suggested are just that, suggestions and recommendations. Your accountant or business advisor might have different time frames they’d like you to use, and the government might have specific time frames that need to be adhered to for different types of businesses. If you don’t see a document listed here that you have a question on please either leave a question in the comments or send me an email. I’d be happy to research it for you.

This article was originally written and shared by me on Business Darlings. The blog has since closed it’s virtual doors, so I’m reprinting some of my favorite articles here for you.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Tips for working with QuickBooks

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been? I apologize; I’ve been doing all my blogging over in the financial section of Business Darlings. Which is great, I love the site, but I also know that I should be posting over here on my own blog too. I should be at least sharing with you what I’ve been writing about over there.

So with that said, here’s a bunch of links to all the different articles I’ve been writing about QuickBooks.  I’m sure you’ll find them helpful for setting up or working with QuickBooks in your own business.

Getting Started with QuickBooks

Paying Bills with QuickBooks

Invoicing with QuickBooks

Customer Payments and Deposits with QuickBooks

Past Due Reminders with QuickBooks

Reconciling your Bank Accounts with QuickBooks

Customize your QuickBooks Invoices, make them your own!

If you have any questions or comments on any of the articles please leave a comment or contact me at deb@gemsvirtualoffice.com  Thanks for reading and have a great day.