Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Breaking down a project

An email arrived from my accountant reminding me that he needed the report by the end of the month. Panic set in as I realized I was 18 months behind in my bookkeeping. The consequences of my procrastination could cost me late fees, a high tax bill or worse.

Unlike banks in the USA, my Swiss bank does not provide the ability to import data files into a format compatible with Quicken. Manually entering each bank statement would take 30 minutes, I estimated. This meant six hours of data entry or an entire day in the office.

A few days passed before I cleared my calendar to give me the time and headspace to start the project. I turned on the Spotify jazz radio channel, made a green tea, pulled out my bank statement binder, and got started. The first month took 20 minutes. Elated and energized, I tried to reconcile but couldn't. What was wrong? Then I realized I had entered all those numbers with the wrong year. Correcting those years took 20 minutes. But I still couldn't reconcile. To my shock and dismay, I realized, I had entered the wrong month as well. This cost me yet another 20 minutes. I was out of practice.

If only I had kept up with my bookkeeping each month!

The urge was strong to enter yet another month, but I stopped myself. In the past, I would have sat for eight hours straight, forgetting to eat, to take care of my dog, to cook, or to move my body.

This time, I decided to limit myself to one hour.

In my calendar, I scheduled one hour per day. In each day, I wrote "accounting feb & march" and so on.

Now, six days later, I am done. Tomorrow, I will start on 2016 and will create a reminder in my calendar to enter my statements each month. Now, I look forward to each bookkeeping hour.

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