As a follow up to yesterday’s post, Don’t Turn Your Want Tos into Have Tos, I would like to present a related concept; how I’m learning to turn my Have Tos into Want Tos. There is no denying that I have plenty of autonomy when it comes to my career, but even self-employment has it’s drudgery. The task that I find the most difficult to coax myself into is entering expenses into Quickbooks. Sure, I’m great at tracking revenue. After all, that’s how I know how much money Jess LC is earning. But since I submit my books to my accountant for taxes just once a year, tracking expenses tends to be the last thing on my to-do list.
However, if I am better at tracking my expenses throughout the year I will have a much better handle on our profit-margin and genuine company health. I will be more informed and will be able to make better business decisions.
I just need to take the time to sit down with Quickbooks one hour a month. That’s all it takes.
But with MML, processing orders, marketing, managing staff, and a life outside of Jess LC, there are plenty of monthly reasons excuses as to why I can’t complete the dang expense report. But the truth is, that I can make the time.
I just don’t really Want To.
So a few weeks ago I took a long hard look at the facts: bookkeeping is a Have To for any small business. But I certainly don’t Want To do it. Ever. I could have interns enter the expenses. But I’d rather keep finances within my control. I could also hire a bookkeeper to do them once a month instead for about $40 an hour. But that’s an unnecessary expense since I can do them myself.
At that point I had a great idea.
I can do the bookkeeping each month and “pay” myself $40 (the opportunity cost of having a bookkeeper do it for me) and then go shopping with the cash I would have paid someone else. I would thereby turn my Have To into a Want To. Because, let’s face it, $40 of fun money can mean a cute top, nice candle (or two), or some awesome makeup. That equates to $480 worth of spending money over the course of a year.*
Another option to consider is saving $40 in a bank account and watch the money I would have spent accumulate instead. (But to be honest, I’m more enticed by the spending option myself. Shopping with $40 definitely ups my Want To quotient.)
Either way you look at it, I no longer see my bookkeeping as a dreaded Have To. I now see it as a way to earn some fun money to go shopping – which I would do regardless – the bookkeeping is now simply an awesome bonus.
Though bookkeeping is a specific personal example, there are many other unappealing things we all Have To do. By taking some time to really reconsider the tasks, we might be able to redefine our motivation or perspective – it just requires an open mind and some creativity.
* I just realized that I could use the lump sum of $480 to buy a Tory Burch bag – which is one of my intentional obsessions for 2011. Awesome.