2017 was a year of personal chaos. Some good, some challenging. And 2018 has been a continuation of the chaos.
But my business was not in chaos. It was not impacted by the nuttiness in my other worlds. Business was my source of calm. It’s where I felt in control. And that’s something in the bookkeeping world where even the best of customers can throw curve balls at you, or have their own surprises to deal with.
My customers’ work was done on time, to their standard and we even accomplished some out of scope wins for them. Plus, I took on a rescue file of some magnitude while completing a few others.
This is not a blog about Kellie’s bookkeeping awesomeness. Or strength under fire. This is a blog about well documented best practices, processes, systems and workflows saving my duff. This is a blog about setting boundaries and time blocking to get schtuff done.
I have been building out and implementing BPs-Ps-Ss&WFs for years. And years. Over 30 of them in fact. And they saved my bacon more times than I can name.
I was a marketing and branding professional. My day was spent coordinating full programs that involved many tasks, companies and people. Customer consults/input, graphic designers, customer consults, copywriters, customer changes, paper mills, print and promotion suppliers, more customer consults / changes / approvals, finishers and delivery companies. All on stringent, drop dead deadlines, as I was in the financial reporting and branding niche.
I liken my branding business life to rounding up a dozen cats from many locations to deliver to the vet in perfect unison for a single appointment – on time – all in one perfect crate, with no claw or bite marks, everyone one of them happy to be there. Or pay for the full visit even if I didn’t make it. And have the vet fire me.
Sounds like fun, right?! Sounds like being an Accounting Professional.
Actually it was fun. I loved it (‘till I didn’t – because I loved bookkeeping more) and I looked forward to work almost every day.
- I had bulletproof systems to manage the coordination of the interested parties and the things they had to get done.
- I had documented and agreed to customer expectations for their roles and timelines. I had trusted partners who had documented roles, timelines and agreements.
- I had best practices and everyone knew what to expect.
- We all had shared workflows.
- They were called work backs officially, but there were no questions about what was getting done by who, when, why and how they were going to do it. And everyone knew what the consequences of their non-compliance were.
- Everything was templated – even back then. I never created a document, communication or workflow twice. And every time we needed a new best practice, in it went.
Obnoxious, yes. Did everyone embrace it on every project, no. Did they comply and did we get schtuff done, yes. We may not have had consensus, but we sure had commitment. Love me or roll their eyes at me, most of my customers and suppliers stuck with me for almost 25 years.
So back to the chaos of the last year and a half. When I worked I didn’t think about what needed to get done. Or what had been done. Or how it needed to get done. And when I wasn’t working I didn’t need to think about my business. It took none of my headspace after hours.
- I had BPs-Ps-Ss-WFs to follow, built out in apps I was comfortable with.
- I blocked my time that it was going to get done.
- I turned off notifications.
- I set the boundaries for not only my customers and partners, I set them for my family, friends and personal contacts.
There were no personal distractions allowed to consume me during my work hours and no business ones rolling into my personal time.
I am grateful now that I have spent years as a relentless organizer. That I had all this built out for when I needed it most. That I kicked around and chose my tech to power it. But that’s not to say it happened overnight. I pecked away and built it one day at a time. One little piece at a time. Into an app that pulled it all together and made it seamless. I’m still working on my best practices, processes, systems and workflows.
I repeat, this is not a big about me being a shining star. What I did is not miraculous. This is about ordinary me simply getting thoughts out of my head, to a place where they can be used effectively, and how anyone can do it if they just start.
Or there’s ready made, out of the gates ones. Lots of ‘em from the people that have learned their lessons ahead of you.
So start now. Put away time, block it off, to create or buy systems and pick your tech.
- That will keep you steady in times of chaos. And in calm.
- That will optimize your customer relationships.
- That will bring joy to your workday.
- That will help you love what you do even when you are under pressure.
We love to see Accounting Professionals create efficiency in the Cloud.
Need help? Have questions? We’d love to book efficiency sessions with you!
Templates, workflows, app efficiencies, tips & tricks. We would love to get you started, discuss your pain points and solve them or make your processes more efficient!
Kellie Parks, CPB
Change is hard. Not changing will be harder.