We all do it. We wake up every day full of good intentions. “I am going to reconcile my Xero account” we think. “I will submit that paperwork to my accountant” we promise ourselves. Then reality sinks in. You know that you won’t do it again today, just like you didn’t do it yesterday. You wish that you were a better person, more organised, more productive, more…….
It’s called procrastination, the definition of which is to keep leaving things you should do until later, often because you do not want to do them.
It doesn’t make us bad people if we procrastinate. But imagine what a relief it would be to be on top of your accounts, to feel in control every day. And to wake up without that feeling of dread that today really has to be the day to get organised!
Small habits can help to control your business finances
Our founder, Georgi, has been reading an excellent book recently called ‘Atomic Habits’, in which the author, James Clear, states that,
“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision.”
His rationale is that, by making small changes each day, the cumulative effect can be monumental. A small change, performed each day, will become a habit. Over time, these small changes can alter the way that you work forever.
“When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do,” says James Clear. And this makes complete sense. Boredom is the reason why our good intentions fail. We have all joined a gym in January, fuelled by our Christmas excesses, only to cancel the membership in March when we realise that going once doesn’t constitute a good use of the gym or our hard-earned money. But to commit yourself to just two minutes out of the 1,440 minutes each day doesn’t sound too hard. What a good place to start. Make a commitment to something that sounds easy and that doesn’t take too long. We can all do that! Have a look at James’ excellent website for more inspiration.
When can I get started
Don’t put it off. Make the commitment to yourself and start today. We all want to be successful in what we do, whether it is to be a good business owner or a good parent. Nobody sets out to fail but by procrastinating we often deprive ourselves of the opportunity to do our best. We set ourselves up to fail if we don’t do something about it. And going back to James Clear,
“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”
Daily habits are things that we do that we don’t really notice doing. They are easy to do, don’t add to your mental load, they really are worth learning.
Phillippa Lally is a health psychology researcher at University College London. In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Lally and her research team decided to figure out just how long it actually takes to form a habit. On average, it takes just over 2 months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.
Two months really isn’t long to start a new habit, especially one that will help you to control your business finances.
So, start now! There’s no time like the present.
Daily habits are the key
Our suggestion would be to build a daily habit that keeps you on top of your bookkeeping, or if we look after it for you then commit to get on top of submitting paperwork to us so that we can do your bookkeeping in a timely manner.
Your new two-minute habit could be to sit down at your desk with your laptop each day and reconcile some items in Xero which have come through on your bank feed. The transactions will be fresh as you have only just paid for them or received the money, so you could reconcile a lot in two minutes!
Or you could forward your new bills to Dext Prepare or take photos of any new receipts and submit them too.
If you do this for two minutes each day as a new habit that you have committed to then it will help you to build good habits around your business finances. You could be on top of your accounts. You could feel in control!
Why is being in control of my business finances so important?
We have written numerous blogs which explain why getting your accounts in tip-top shape will help you and your business. It is really important to understand why it is important to be on top of your bookkeeping.
One of the main reasons that we advise that you understand your accounts by keeping well maintained records on Xero is that you can plan ahead for the future. With that wealth of up-to-date information at your fingertips you can start to think about how you want your business to expand without worrying if your decisions are based on the correct information.
And with fully up-to-date real time information you can even start thinking about management accounts and how they can help you to see how your business is doing
Contact us if you need help with anything that has been raised in this blog. From help using Xero, to finding out if you can include management accounts in the services that we provide to you, and anything in between, then reach out and get in touch. Ultimately, starting that new two-minute habit today could be the beginning of a whole new way of working for you and your business. And that is what all of us here at Starfish want for you.