Wicked Wednesday. A month before Tax Day. All of us with deadlines. So let’s talk organization.
Edith here, churning out word count on a very messy desk. Behind me my office futon couch has turned into an ad hoc filing cabinet. One more year has gone by without entering my professional expenses, trips, and income into some nice application throughout the year as I incur them. I manage to get to talks on time and turn in blog posts on time, usually. But I’m kind of hopeless at the rest.
So Wickeds, what’s your favorite organizational tip? What helps you get through it all without throwing your hands in the air and giving up?
Liz: I’m not the greatest at this sort of thing. That said, when this writing thing turned into a real business I did start a spreadsheet to track my expenses. I track all my appearances, conferences, etc. and associated costs in one section, then in another I track all the other expenses–website costs, office supplies, book stock, and on and on. Now, do I add to it religiously, you ask? No. But I do remember to keep the information in a nice pile so I can go in and add to it a few times a year just to keep the end of year stress to a minimum.
Sherry: I have files in the drawer of my desk marked “Income Tax 2015” and “Book Business 2015”. As I open mail or when I have a receipt I can just plop them in the appropriate file so it’s ready to take to the accountant at the end of the year. I also try to use only one credit card for all of my business expenses.
Edith: I have one credit card for all business expenses, too, Sherry. That helps a lot. As does making lists. A to-do list every day on a pad of paper next to my keyboard. It always starts with “Write.” And I maintain another list on the white board in front of me, which includes longer-term items, things I don’t want to forget to do in the next few weeks. I also keep a paper calendar on the way (a lovely small one from the Tibetan Nuns) and I write all my book events on that, and the mileage for ones I drive to, so at tax time I can easily add them all up.
Jessie: I color code the calendar on my computer. When I add events to my schedule I select the color I use for business, volunteerism or personal. When I add a work or volunteerism event I go to Google Maps and map out the route I plan to take and then add the mileage to the title line for the event. At the end of the year I go through the calendar with a calculator and add up the mileage by category very quickly and easily by looking for the color. For places I visit frequently , using the same route, I keep a sticky note on my computer listing the mileage in order to skip the Google Maps step.
Barb: I keep my paper monthly calendar and all my to do lists in my Levenger junior-size notebook, along with all my “chrono notes,”–notes from meetings, conference calls, etc. kept chronologically through the year. I have done this for YEARS, to the point where my business colleagues were like, “Oh man, the notebook…” All paper–receipts and revenue–get thrown in the cubby over my desk, to be pulled out when it gets full, twice a year or so, and filed.
What about you, dear readers? How do you stay organized?