with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
… at least until tomorrow. Hey, baby steps.
Over the last few months I’ve written about a number of organization issues that plague me, so I thought I’d do a little round-up on how I’m handling some of them. And what better time to do that than today, when I just happen to be completely on top of everything. Lookit me! I’m awesome! For heaven’s sake, do not put that down on my desk! Ahem. I mean, um, well, oh, nevermind….
Every now and then I reach a point of clarity and—rarer still—that point happens to intersect with the time and space where I’ve actually done what I meant to do, and everything is as planned. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Seriously.
Okay, listen up:
My work area. Writing out and then reading this entry finally propelled me into cleaning up my desk and getting back to working in my office, rather than everywhere but. This is Very Good News; I’m much more productive sitting here, truth be told. I threw out a ton of trash and filed some thing and am even making judicious use of the corkboard my husband was kind enough to mount behind my monitor. Excellent.
The only bad news here is that my desk features a cubbied hutch section which is still… ummmm… not as tidy as it could be, shall we say. I do need to get to that, as well. But at least my workspace is cleared out, my printer has been dug out, and I’m back in my ergonomic chair. Woo!
My accounting. As I mentioned in this post, I bought myself a copy of Quicken in an effort to keep better track of business finances. Guess what I found while I was cleaning up my desk? Several paychecks. Checks I’d never cashed, and forgotten that I had. There is no excuse for being that sloppy with my money. (Yes, it does embarrass me to admit this, but I do so to prove a point—it’s not that I was swimming in money, it’s that I had no idea who’d paid me when, and without a system there was no way for me to know I’d misplaced some payments!)
I’ve been tracking my invoices, payments, and expenses in Quicken for nearly a month, now, and I feel comfortable telling you that I would like to travel back to 2007 and kick myself, hard, for not having done this sooner. It’s not difficult. There’s nothing complicated about it. And with the push of a button I have a summary report that shows me what’s come in, what’s outstanding, how much each client has paid, etc. This is so much better than the guesstimation system. (Learn from my stupidity, please.)
My taxes. Well, I had the moment of realization back in October, did some planning in December, and finally resolved how to handle things on the first of the year. The results? So far, so good. Granted, it’s still January. But yesterday I went into Quicken (oh, Quicken, how I love thee!) and ran a report and took a deep breathe and calculated 30% of my revenue thus far. Because I’ve been doing such a good job of tracking everything, the number made me a little light-headed but wasn’t unexpected. Come Friday (February 1st) I’ll do it again and then take that money and put it into the tax payment account I opened. It’s an interest-bearing account, you know, so each quarter when I empty it out to make my tax payments, I’ll also get to go have a nice cup of coffee. Just a little gift to myself for actually being a grown-up. Ha!
My outlook. I know this is always the way, but once I do these things I’ve been meaning to do but have been avoiding (because who wants to spend two hours cleaning the desk that wouldn’t be such a mess if only you’d been more organized in the first place?), I’m always astounded at how much better everything is and what a ditz I’ve been for not doing it sooner.
Would you do me a favor and remind me of this, the next time I start slacking off? Thanks. You’re swell.
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