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!

Should I Void or Delete a check in Quickbooks?

Should I Void the check or just delete it, what difference does it make?

If you delete a check you’re basically saying the transaction never happened. Transactions should only be deleted when you’ve made a simple mistake.

Let’s say you wrote the check for the wrong dollar amount but haven’t printed it yet. In this case its OK to delete the transaction and re-enter it because the transaction hasn’t actually happened and won’t until you actually print the check.

To delete a check in Quickbooks:

While in the check writing screen, go to edit and select delete check.

If a transaction has already occurred, meaning you’ve printed the check you will need to void it. For example, you issued a check to a vendor to pay for all the supplies you bought only to realize you paid them to much. You need to void the wrong check and then re-issue a check for the correct amount. If the check had been used to pay an invoice, then voiding that check will also reverse the payment for that invoice, returning it to an unpaid status.

When you use the void function in QuickBooks its keeps the check number, name of the vendor, and date for you. The check shows a zero dollar amount in the register and you can use the memo field to note the reason you voided the check.

To void a check in QuickBooks:

While in the check writing screen, go to edit and select void check. If you’re in the check register, select the check, go to edit and select void bill payment-check.

By voiding instead of deleting you are removing the financial effect of the transaction, but keeping a record of the transaction. In other words you won’t have gaps of missing check numbers in your check register. It’s a good practice to be able to account for all your check numbers for control purposes.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions shoot me an email!

Update Your Facebook Business Page by March 30th.

Don’t forget that Facebook has come out with Timeline for Pages. You Business Page will be converted to the new look on March 30th Even if you don’t have time to update the entire page, there are some updates that are definitely necessary. I did some research on the subject and came up with some great articles to help everyone out. Read my post on Business Darlings that tells you all about it. Click on link below:



Small Business Taxes..the subject we don’t want to read about but should!

It’s tax time again. That dreaded time of year when we all cringe whenever we hear the word! Over at Business Darlings I’ve written a few posts on the subject and figured it was time to share over here!  Read the summaries below and then take the time to read and educate yourself, I tried to make it as painless as possible.

A Quick List to Prepare Yourself for Tax Time!, gives you a brief rundown on some of the basic items you need to get yourself prepared before going to that appointment with your tax professional or accountant.

A QuickBooks Tax Tip and list of Deductible Business Expenses, talks about tagging your deductible business expenses in QuickBooks. I also share a list of some of those common expenses and the link to June Walkers book about taxes Self Employed Tax Solutions. I think it’s a great book on taxes, a subject that we  don’t want to read about but know that we really should. June makes it a little easier.

In my Happy New Year post I shared a post from last March called It’s that time of year again! The post asks how your going to prepare your taxes.  It talks about the different solutions out there for preparing your taxes and directs you to one of the best articles I’ve read on the subject called Tackling Small Business Taxes.

Happy Reading and Have a great day!

Kiss your Comfort Zone goodbye!

My Comfort Zone
I use to have a Comfort Zone
Where I knew I couldn’t fail
the same four walls of busy work
Were really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things
I’d never done before,
But I stayed inside my Comfort Zone
and paced the same old floor
I said it didn’t matter,
That I wasn’t doing much
I said I didn’t care for things
Like diamonds, furs and such
I claimed to be so busy
With the things inside my zone,
But deep inside I longed for
Something special of my own.
I couldn’t let my life go by,
Just watching others win.
I held my breath and stepped outside
And let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength
I’d never felt before,
I kissed my Comfort Zone “goodbye”
And closed and locked the door.
If you are in a Comfort Zone,
Afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were
At one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise,
Can make your dreams come true.
Greet your future with a smile,
Success is there for you!
~Author Unknown~
This poem was shared on my Facebook feed, it was originally posted by Exceptional Living, visit their page for more inspirtational quotes and poems to start your day with.
Have a great day!

Good Articles to Help You with all those Facebook Changes

I’m sure I’m not the only one that has been puzzled and confused by all the Facebook changes that are going on. And with more coming in the next few weeks, I’m sure the confusion will continue.  The good thing is, there have been some great articles written to help us get through and figure it all out. So every time I found an article this week that was helpful in explaining all these changes, I bookmarked it so I could share with you.  Here’s my list so far, I’m sure I’ll be adding to it when the new Timeline comes out!

Major Facebook Upgrade: This Week in Social Media written by Cindy King at Social Media Examiner

Customize Facebook News Feed with Your Favorite Pages written by Janine Gregor at Business Darlings

Five Facebook Changes and What You Need to Know written by Andrea Vahl at Social Media Examiner

What I Like About the New Facebook Timeline Profile, Privacy Settings, and News Feed written by Kristi Hines at

How to Use the Facebook Timeline: A Complete Walk-Through of the Redesigned Profile written by Josh Constine at Inside Facebook

As the changes continue to roll out over the next few weeks I’ll add to this list, and please if you’ve come across any articles that have helped you, add them in the comments below, so that we can all help each other figure these changes out!

Budgeting for Business & Pleasure

A few weeks ago on Business Darlings I wrote about how important it is to have a budget. I think it’s important for both your business and your own personal finances.

According to an article I read recently a good rule of thumb for where you should be spending your money is as follows:

25-30 percent on housing

15-18 percent on transportation

16 percent on food

The remainder to be divided between discretionary spending and savings

Do you know if your spending is in sync with this breakdown? Have you ever prepared a budget to see where your money goes to? Creating a budget helps you spend responsibly and achieve your goals. It also helps eliminate stress. Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to stress over money! You’d also be able to avoid that “money” argument because you’d always have the answers!

If you’d like to read the rest of the article, hop over to Business Darlings and read it here.

Have a great day and remember to smile, life isn’t so bad :)

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  Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Serving the Rochester, Finger Lakes NY area, and beyond.