Monday evening, I opened my elderly copy of Quickbooks and began cleaning up—again. Each January, I do this. I do bookkeeping for others during the day, but working on my own books at night holds no interest for me. I’ll sit on the couch and knit while watching television. I’ll even do work like formatting a newsletter or writing or editing, but bookkeeping? Ewwwww!
But once a year, I force myself to prepare for taxes by organizing our books. And at the end of that time, I always resolve to keep my books updated all year round. “It’s so easy,” I say to myself. “Just put the numbers in once a day—or even once a week!—and all will be ready first thing in January.” Like all well-meaning resolutions (even the ones made later than January 1!), I keep up with it for a while, but then around June, my enthusiasm peters out and I’m back to my usual avoidance.
This evening I was starting from March. March! OMG. And my version of Quickbooks was sent off to pasture this year, which means that the last update included a key that turned off the import function so I couldn’t automatically import all of my transactions.
Ok, I thought. I can do this. Manually adding all of my transactions since March won’t be so difficult. Last year was spent in various states of lockdown. How many transactions could I have?
Forty-five minutes in, I am crying. I’m not even halfway through March and I can see this process is going to take so long. My back hurts. I want to make it easier and I’m not sure how to do it.
Do I go ahead and purchase a new copy of the program to make my life easier (the version I want is $400—ouch!)? Do I change programs (I haven’t found one that I like as well)? Do I ask for advice from an accountant friend?
All the questions. “Let’s sleep on it,” Stephanie said. “The question is in your head. The answer will arrive.”
I gratefully closed my computer and went to bed, knowing that I married a very wise woman.
And in the morning, a realization hit me.
If I prioritize my own bookkeeping with the same diligence that I use for others, I can make this work. I can do the hard work of manually inserting all of my transactions by splitting that work into little bites (thirty minutes there, forty-five minutes there), and then I can just proceed as I do with all of my other clients. I don’t have to get a new version of the program if I keep up with my transactions. I can just put my transactions into the system each day (or each weekend—I really don’t have that many), and go on like that until my budget allows for the purchase or maybe even a bookkeeper of my own.
At your moment of highest frustration, step away. We get ourselves so wound up and crazed that we can’t think straight. Instead of continuing to push at the problem with a stubborn bull-head, stop. Take a nap. Watch a movie. Walk the dog.
Releasing the pressure allows the answer to flow to you. It may not be the answer you want, but it will feel so right that nothing else will seem to solve the problem quite as well.
Sleep on it.