How a Bookkeeper Helps Keep Your Business Finances Organised

How a Bookkeeper Helps Keep Your Business Finances Organised

Can you believe it's nearly the end of financial year? This year, that means the cold has finally kicked in, but for many it's also that dreaded time when you have to dig through a nasty pile of paperwork, figure out what needs to be sent to the accountant and then wait for a nice hefty bill. But wait! There are other options!

What I love about Google Calendar

What I love about Google Calendar

One of the key ways to get your life organised is to be in control of your time. Whether it's making plans with friends, important business meetings or your next hair appointment, it's just so comforting being able to look ahead, make sure you're available and know that you won't forget when that date comes around. 

3 Ways to Get Rid of Distractions and Get Focused

3 Ways to Get Rid of Distractions and Get Focused

I have a home office and at the moment there's a big demolition going on nearby. Add that noise (imagine house shaking thumps of concrete being pulled up and dropped) to the usual city/harbour sounds and multiple tasks with conflicting priorities and a puppy that wants to play... Sometimes it can be hard to focus!
Here are a couple of ways that I block off those distractions:

Prepare for time off work to reduce stress later

Prepare for time off work to reduce stress later

This is the time of year when a lot of us are about to take some time off work to spend with family for Christmas. Whether you are self employed or work for someone else, there are a few things you can do to prepare for time off to so you can relax properly, not let anyone down and not be even more stressed when you get back to work.

Time To Re-Boot That 2013 Project

Well can you believe we are officially one quarter of the way through the year 2013 already?

It's a good time to stop and check in with yourself, how are you going with your New Years resolutions? Have you lost focus? Is there still something that you want to achieve for 2013? Now is the time to take stock, when you still have 9 months of the year left to make a difference on the goal, project or habit you want to work on.

If you have made some headway, give yourself a pat on the back (or your reward of choice), check where you can make improvements and make sure you're still on course, then keep going! 

If you haven't made much of a dent, that's ok! Don't beat yourself up, it doesn't help. Have a think, what's the thing that's holding you up? Think about all those excuses you've made, are they realistic obstacles that you need to overcome or are they just excuses? What's the Real obstacle? Is this goal even important to you anymore? no? thats ok too! Stop feeling guilty about it and take it off your to-do list.

The first step to get you on your way is answering all these questions and figuring out how to beat that obstacle. Is it lack of funding, lack of time, lack of knowledge? Then make a budget, set a schedule, do some research or ask for help. Just work on the one thing that will help you get started. Making those first steps might just give you the momentum you need to keep going. 


To-Do Lists - Part 3: Apps & Technology

With smartphones so popular, there are literally hundreds of apps available to keep track of lists, tasks and appointments. And because you always have your phone with you, it's perfect for capturing notes or to-dos when you think of them, and to always be able to access your to-do list when you are ready to tackle it.

To-Do Lists - Part 2: Pen & Paper

To-Do Lists - Part 2: Pen & Paper

This week I want to look at the types of lists you can keep, more specifically the paper based methods. 

There's plenty of technology around that can be used for tasks and just as much talk about "going paperless". But I find just as many people are still more comfortable writing with pen and paper. It's usually quicker, and some say that you think differently when you write the "old fashioned way". 

To-Do Lists - Part 1: What Makes A Good One?

To-Do Lists - Part 1: What Makes A Good One?

We're all busy, with information and demands coming at us constantly. It's impossible to effectively manage all this stuff in your head, and whether you're a paper person or a gadget person, it pays to be a list person.

Some people only need a single to-do list but what if it gets too long? Or you write it on scraps of paper and keep losing them? Or you don't have it with you when you need it?


Meal Planning Helps Save Time

I don't know about you but I can't stand getting to 6 o'clock at night and asking "What are we going to have for dinner tonight?" Back when I was cooking for one, this happened all the time! I'd get home from work, not being the most inventive cook I'd find nothing in the fridge or freezer, and I had no desire whatsoever to go back out and get food. So sometimes it would be toasties, tinned soup or take away delivered. These days there are 3 of us in the house (my partner and his 9 year old daughter) and weet bix for dinner doesn't quite cut it. 
I've found that an hour or 2 of planning on a Sunday afternoon can save SO much time and hassle throughout the week. Here's how we plan meals for the week at our house.
Warning: Don't try this on an empty stomach. Thinking about all those tasty meals can make you really hungry! 

1. Look at what's on this week

Get out the calendar, diary, or iPhone and find out who's home for dinner on which nights. In our case, we have one week that we call "adult week" when my partners little girl is at her mum's. That week we can plan to try out those new recipe's, or maybe a nice spicy curry. Then the next week we try to stick to meals that are more kid friendly. Also take into account those nights that you won't be home for dinner, the busy days that you'll want to have something easy and the more relaxed days when you might have time for a roast or to try out some new adventurous recipe you've seen.

2. Go browsing in the kitchen for meal ideas

Do you already have some recipe bases in the pantry? A Dolmio's or stir-fry sauce that you can use? Is there meat in the freezer, or veges that need to be used up? Getting some ideas?

3. Decide on meals to have for the week and write it down

This is the fun part, when you get to think back to meals you've enjoyed and maybe not eaten for a while, flick through some cookbooks, websites or magazines and see if something jumps out. If I've got a few meals picked out and they all involve red meat, I'll try and think of a chicken or fish meal to keep it balanced. Make sure you've got plenty of vege's and the right foods, depending on diets in your household.
Where to write all this down? This is totally down to what will work for you. I have an app on the iPad called Menu Planner that is great for storing recipes, planning the week and creating a shopping list, but it's a bit of extra work to set it up. On those busy weeks when I don't have time to mess around (and we all have those right?), I just write all the meals in a notebook. This comes in handy also, when you can look back at the meals you had in past weeks and get more ideas.

4. Create your shopping list

Go through all the recipes that you've picked out and make a list of all the ingredients needed. Check the fridge and pantry for items that you may already have. Some pantry items like olive oil, you may already have, but just check and make sure you have enough to last you through the week. Remember to think about lunches, snacks, cleaning and toiletries etc.
Some apps, like Menu Planner mentioned above, will create a list for you. I have another great basic app called ShopShop that is great for adding items to a list as you notice that you've run out throughout the week.

6. Grocery shopping for the week

Now that you know exactly what you need, you can whip around the supermarket in way less time. Or to save even more time I've recently started using Coles online shopping. I can place my order on a Sunday afternoon or evening and my groceries arrive the next afternoon, ready for the week!
The online option doesn't suit everybody, but if you live in the delivery area and you have certain times that you know someone will be home to accept it, there are so many advantages!
  •   I can get an online shop done in about half an hour, where a trip to the supermarket would be at least an hour!
  •   The search function works really well so you can go straight to what you need, you can also sort results by price making it easy to compare and select. You can also access previous orders and re-order items easily.
  •   The fresh produce is hand picked and seems even fresher, I assume because it hasn't sat out on the shelf all day
  •   I use Coles because it's a flat $9 delivery fee where I live. Woolworths has a sliding scale, the more you order the less the delivery charge. If you're doing big shops (over $150 or so) then this could be worthwhile too, but I haven't tried it. 
So now when it comes to 6pm on a Wednesday night, there is no "what are we going to do for dinner?" It's all there in the fridge ready to go! It's one less thing to stress about. Give it a try!