Episode #115 Savvy Tips for Managing Bookkeeping and Workflow Stress

For this insightful new episode of The Bookkeepers Voice', tune in as Amy Hooke, owner and founder of The Savvy Bookkeeper and Off the Hook Bookkeeping once again takes over the Podcast!

For our last episode, Amy was joined by Savvy Client Relationship Manager Angie as they discussed the importance of managing stress levels as a bookkeeper and business owner. In this episode, Amy chat's with our Practice Manager, Maia Coghlan to discuss some Savvy Tips on Managing Bookkeeping and Workflow Stress.

Key Takeaway: “By learning how to create a successful balance between work and home you’re able to increase your profits, productivity and overall happiness.”

Podcast Info

Episode: #115

Series: General

Host: Amy Hooke

Guest speaker: Maia Coghlan

Topic: Savvy Tips for Managing Bookkeeping and Workflow Stress

Read transcript

Tips for Managing Bookkeeping and Workflow Stress

Summary keywords: bookkeeper, bookkeeping, workflow, bookkeeping stress, stress management techniques, personal stress, business owner

 

Amy Hooke  0:02 

Good morning. Welcome to another episode of The bookkeepers voice. Thank you for joining us today. I'm Amy. I'm the founder of the bookkeepers voice, the savvy bookkeeper and off the hook bookkeeping. And this week, I am hosting the podcast again. So most of you know, Angie, who regularly hosts the podcast, but I am back and today, I'm joined with Maya Coughlin. She's our practice manager at savvy and off the hook. And together, we're going to be discussing some tips on managing bookkeeping and workflow stress. So thanks for joining me, Mike.

 

Maia Coghlan  0:39 

All right. It's good to be here again.

 

Amy Hooke  0:42 

Yeah, definitely. So last week, we talked a little bit about so I had Angie on. So as you know, and she's one of our team members at savvy as well. So we talked about how important it is to manage your stress levels. As a bookkeeper and a business owner, we talked a bit more about personal stress, where's today. So we promised you last week that would give you some tips about how we actually, you know, like what to do about it. Whereas last week, we just kind of identified the problem gave you guys a questionnaire. So hopefully, you've had a chance to do the stress test. But if not, we'll give you the link again. And make sure you listen to the previous episode so that you can catch up if you missed out on that. So I guess the the gist of it is if you burn out and are too stressed, then you can't support your clients and your staff and your family. And you know, also yourself if it gets that bad. So so that's why my eyes here today, because she is definitely someone who helps to helps our business to keep an even keel when it comes to stress.

 

Maia Coghlan  1:46 

So I'm all about having a manageable workload, even though Yeah, I haven't said that. There have been plenty of times when I myself have got stressed and not had a manageable workload.

 

Amy Hooke  2:02 

Definitely. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And, you know, I think I mean, I think one of the big things that, you know, like if you've gotten stressed in the past, usually, if we have a quick chat, we usually just find it's usually to do with priorities, kind of getting a little bit out of order.

 

Maia Coghlan  2:21 

Yeah, that's right. So often, we create huge to do lists and our heads and everything seems like top priority. But when you take a moment to step back and look at everything, actually, there are so many things, you can just cross off the list or put on much, much later do it when I have free time, which will actually be never. So it's really not that important. A lot of the things that we think of priorities actually aren't. And you focus on them.

 

Personal stress and stress management

 

Amy Hooke  2:53 

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Right. And I was thinking. Yeah, so for those of you who joined us last week, we did talking quite a bit of detail about what personal stress actually is and what it does. And you can find some interesting resources about stress on the Better Health website. So that's the Victorian Government website. So it's always good to see if you can find some local guidelines on this kind of thing. So you can look up your local city, depending on where you're based. And we'll provide a link for this. But they've got they've got a really good little definition page about like stress management and why it's actually important. And the reason I wanted to call it that is because when I went on there to have a little bit of a look, it says that stress is a process, not a diagnosis, which is really interesting, because last week we pointed to so we did I did an interview with Tim Hartman, and he talks about mental health in the work workplace, but stress is not a mental health issue or diagnosis. So it's actually a process and it says, like, we experienced stress when there's an imbalance between the demands being made on us and the resources we have to cope. So that's, that's really like relevant to, to what we're going to be talking about next with my team. So yeah. And so you found something on it on beyond blue assaulting me? Well, yeah,

 

Maia Coghlan  4:16 

On beyond blue. It says, stress is a part of life. And I'm sure we're all aware of that. But you can develop skills to support yourself and others when times are tough. And those skills or techniques are we'll come to some of those the point of today. Yeah,

 

Amy Hooke  4:37 

that's great. That's good, because actually, I've never thought about this, but it actually kind of distinguishes the difference between stress and anxiety. So anxiety is like it's to do with thinking and worrying about things where stress is like a physical response and it happens to everybody whether you have anxiety or not so. So that's what's really helpful to kind of have some ways to manage the workflow. Dress because obviously when things pile up, it can be really overwhelming for anybody. So, yeah, cool. So do you want to you can just go through your, you know, like what's important to you, as someone who cares about the team stress?

 

Anxiety and stress management techniques

 

Maia Coghlan  5:16 

Okay, so, um, I guess my three main things that you should look at when you want to reduce your stress. And these three things are sort of in order like you would do the first one, then the second one, then the third one. So that's the order. We'll talk about the men. But the first one is set goals. The second one is prioritise. And the third one is have a schedule.

 

Amy Hooke  5:39 

Yep. That's great. And I'm checking into fourth one on the inside. We'll talk about that at the end, which is Yeah,

 

Maia Coghlan  5:44 

one. I guess the fourth tip helps you manage your schedule a bit.

 

Amy Hooke  5:49 

Yes, that's true. Yeah, that's right. It's not directly to stress.

 

Setting goals to reduce stress as a business owner

 

Maia Coghlan  5:53 

Yeah. So setting goals is the first one. And it might seem like, you know, you've got all these things to do, the last thing you want to do is sit back and not do anything on your list. And instead, think about what you should be doing. It just, if you think about it like that. Setting goals does not sound productive. But it helps you to figure out why you're doing things, which will be the next step of prioritising but setting goals. Anyone can set a goal of like, I want to have this many new clients by the end of the year, or I just want to make more money. But those aren't real goals. They're just sort of vague dreams, you need something specific that you can then set out, like how you're going to actually achieve that, when you're going to achieve that how you're going to measure whether you're on track to achieving that. Yeah. And that's how you set goals that are going to actually be attainable, and realistic and relevant to what you're trying to do in your business and your life as well.

 

Amy Hooke  7:06 

Yeah, that's really good. That's very good. And you know, that's that sort of ties into the SMART goals that that you talk about. In the priorities masterclass that you ran?

 

Maia Coghlan  7:16 

Yeah, yeah, exactly. We talked about setting SMART goals, which is basically what I just described without using that word. But yeah, smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and time bound. So you set the specific goal, I want to have this much income, or I want to have this many clients or something like that. And then measurable is, obviously, it's measurable, because you know what the end result will be. So you'll be able to see as you go along how close you are to that end result. And then it's achievable. You're not saying I want to make I want to be making $5 million a month, by the end of the year, like that's probably not achievable for most people said something that's actually achievable. so disappointed when you don't manage to reach this goal that wasn't achievable in the first place.

 

Amy Hooke  8:07 

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And I love the point that you made, which is time now linking into your next one, which is about knowing why. Because you might be I mean, if someone says I, you know, want to get three new clients by the end of the year, and then you say why? And it's like, I don't know, because I just don't know

 

Maia Coghlan  8:27 

exactly why, like, if you your your goal is to have a certain amount of profit, or cash flow are something coming through your business. But what does that look like for you if if you achieve that, so now now, I guess we're going on to step two, which is prioritise you've set your goals, you know what you have to do to achieve those goals. Now, you have to figure out what you're going to do first, and what other things that you thought you were supposed to do. Maybe you don't really need to do some of those things. So you're, you've got your goal and you want to make be making X amount of money by the end of next financial year, something and I guess first of all, yeah, what what does it look like? And and this, like,

 

Amy Hooke  9:26 

do you and why is it important?

 

Maia Coghlan  9:29 

Yeah. Why is it important? What will change in your life? If you have that? And on on a, on a smaller level? it I thought to include that because of the conversation that you and I had this week where we were talking about some new reports we're gonna make to track some things with savvy.

 

Amy Hooke  9:53 

Yeah, and I said on the report, you're like, why? And I'm like, I don't know.

 

Maia Coghlan  10:01 

So a lot of when you're prioritising your tasks. Ask yourself why you think it's a priority. If you look at all the things that you think you need to do, ask yourself why you need to do them. And sometimes you'll actually realise that it's not that important to do all of these things. And maybe maybe the

 

Amy Hooke  10:25 

motivation. Yes, like out of line, do you know what I mean? Like, maybe you're doing it for someone else? Or because you feel that you should rather than doing it, because it's something that you want.

 

Maia Coghlan  10:36 

Yeah, exactly. If you're doing it just because somebody else told you to do it. That's not really a good enough reason you need to, you should only be doing things that are prioritise the things that you really feel are actually important, not just that somebody else said or important.

 

Amy Hooke  10:57 

or things that you saw other candidates doing? Yeah, like something's worth sharing. Yes, that's right. You say like, Oh, what's that person doing? Oh, that person's using this software or something like that. And we want to kind of copy them, but it's like, or a big one is actually about growing and growing your business. So there's been a big thing over the years that I think some of us are kind of getting over that a little bit. But if it was this big thing on like, grow your business, like that was the biggest thing in the world. And then, you know, like, I started thinking, why, like, why do you want a bigger business? Like, that's why we changed savvy so much, and started the membership, because I was like, I want, like, quality over quantity. Like the goal is not to have a big business, the goal is to have a profitable business, a happy business, like, you know, a business that fits in with your life and all that kind of thing. So it's like, why am I growing my business? Well, that's because everyone, that's what everyone tells me I should be doing. But it's like, well, that's not. It doesn't have to be that you can reassess and go.

 

Maia Coghlan  11:54 

Yeah. Yeah. More business more responsibility.

 

Amy Hooke  12:01 

And yeah, that's right. Exactly. And you get to do more work.

 

Maia Coghlan  12:07 

That's, that's why I suggest thinking about like, what does it actually look like for you? Because because it might, it might be amazing to have that much money coming into your business. But at the same time, that probably also means that you have to have more clients than you're probably going to have to hire new staff to cover the workload, because otherwise you're going to be working.

 

Amy Hooke  12:31 

And that sounds like more stress.

 

Maia Coghlan  12:33 

Yeah. Sorry, about the stress, like the increased profit with, like, all that extra stress. Exactly. So yeah, that's prioritising do the things that actually matter to you. And if your to do list is 1000 things long, cut it down to the things that only matter to you. Or that mattered the most. And all the rest can go on a different list to look at later, if you ever want to move on to those things. And a lot of those things, if you decide to do them later, because they're not a high priority right now, you might find that the majority of those things you never come back to, because you moved on, you'll be doing that definitely. Definitely happens. Because high priority things occasionally you'll think back Oh, yeah, I wanted to do that. But it's just never high enough priority to get around to it. So there's no point in stressing yourself out about needing to do these things that aren't actually high priority.

 

Amy Hooke  13:41 

That's Yeah, that's true. I've got I just thought of this really fun framework that I learned years ago, and I still do it to figure out the priorities because I know everyone has that. Like, if it's like, what is it high priority or low priority? And then they have this is, Oh, is it important, or not important? And is it urgent or not urgent, so someone taught me that and I like that model. But there's another cool one that I really like which is doing now not doing now never doing now? And I like that one because that helps you get that there's this list of things like what my just you know, just said about you know, there's things on the list that you never even get started on. And there's something really good about deleting those things off the list or hiding that list so that you never have to like are caught you know, you're I can archive it. So I've got a project folder where I put everything that I'm doing or not doing and I have a folder called never doing or you know or it could be do it I think it's doing now not doing now never do it I've never done now that's what it is. So it's like never I'm never doing this now like it's always some day so you can actually delete them and you feel so good afterwards. You're like oh wow, my to do list has gone from like a million things to like five

 

Maia Coghlan  14:57 

Yeah, I have. I have Have an app that I use for just like my personal to do list. And if something has been in the overdue section for X amount of time, I take the due date off it. Because it's obviously not going to happen. I don't need to look at it every day and be like, Oh, look at all these things that are overdue. It was obviously something that I wanted to do. I thought I would do it on that day. I didn't I never did it. Yeah, I may still want to do it eventually. If I do still Yeah. Like you don't have to get up. Yeah, exactly. And then it goes into like, this other area that I never look at. Good. Eventually, I could go back and do it. But I don't need to look at it every day if I'm actually just not going to do it.

 

Amy Hooke  15:49 

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that's really good. So that's kind of like I was just thinking also to jot it down when you're speaking. But the first one you said about setting goals is like figuring out the what and the priorities is obviously as you said, the why. And then the next one is like the win. So yeah, for you.

 

Maia Coghlan  16:04 

With the priorities we also did in you know, the priorities masterclass, which you Yes, this before, there is a exercise in there about so once you've set your goals, there's an exercise in the priorities masterclass. That will step you through one process, there are many different processes that you could follow to prioritise your huge long list of things. But then we go through an exercise that helps you cut it down to I think it's the top five things that you should focus on, and you're not allowed to focus on any of the other things and finished one of those five.

 

Amy Hooke  16:39 

Yeah, that's really good. That's good. And yeah, we'll share the link to the priorities masterclass as well. So anything every anytime we mentioned link today, we'll share that in, you can go on to the podcast page or in the Facebook group and, and find that on our website as well. Um, yeah, that's great. So

 

Maia Coghlan  16:55 

yeah, so we've done what we've done, why. And then, of course, the next one is when So step number three, after you set your goals, and you prioritise them is to have a schedule.

 

Amy Hooke  17:08 

Oh, I love schedules.

 

Creating a schedule to better manage your workflow

 

Maia Coghlan  17:12 

Grading schedules, they make me feel like I'm going to be so productive. Yeah. And they do help. but not always, I mean, something's gonna come up. And it takes. This might sound weird, but it takes practice. To follow a schedule, I think because you're used to just doing things the flow. Yeah, discipline, for example, emails, checking emails, I think is everyone's weakness.

 

Amy Hooke  17:41 

Yes,

 

Maia Coghlan  17:42 

most people, including myself, I remember you, I don't know if you check your emails…

 

Amy Hooke  17:48 

Yeah just don't check them anymore.- haha nah, maybe once a month.

 

Maia Coghlan  17:57 

I always have my Well, I try not to. But if I'm not, if I don't concentrate on it, I have my email tab open in my browser all day. And if an email comes in, I'll see that the notification, like the number of unread emails has gone up, and I'll go in and I'll check it, it's impulsive, I can't help it. If it's there, I'm going to look at it. So don't let it be there. I have to remind myself, okay, I'm going to work on this thing, I don't want to be interrupted, I have to close my email tab. Unless there's specific information that I need in a specific email to do the task I'm doing, which you can copy and paste somewhere else. So you don't have to have your emails open.

 

Amy Hooke  18:39 

And we could actually share the link to that you did an episode on a previous episode. So if you go back a couple of episodes, Meyer actually did a whole thing on emails, which can talk about, but I think emails are very stressful for some people like it can be but maybe one of the most stressful parts of business because it can. Yeah, it can dive, it can just divert you and suck you in and take I

 

Maia Coghlan  19:02 

know it can ruin your day you have. So you've created your schedule, right? created your schedule, which I guess will go into creating the schedule after I'm doing it. It's a little bit out of water, not sticking to my schedule. But But after you've created your schedule, you start working in the morning, you know what you're going to do for the day, you open your email, all of a sudden, everything just is completely derailed because you start just putting out fires left and right from all these emails that have come in and oh, this client wants this and that client wants that and this system is broken and that link doesn't go there anymore. And this person wants answers to this question and I'm it's the end of the day and I didn't do anything that I was supposed to do. Yeah, exactly. Speaking from real life experience there.

 

Amy Hooke  19:50 

I was starting to feel stressful you were describing what

 

Maia Coghlan  19:55 

happens it's really stressful is actually really stressful. emails are huge. thing that will contribute to your stress. And you need to manage the way that you check your emails. You need to be disciplined, and

 

Amy Hooke  20:10 

practice. So I joke about not checking my emails anymore, but I do check my emails, what I do is I just do it during a specific time. Like I don't I cuz, you know, you, I think you reach a point where you're just like, I'm not gonna let these emails and what everyone else wants and their demands like to control my life and take over my day, like, as well you sort of reach a point where you're like, I'm not doing this anymore. And, you know, you can say, for me, it's after, like, I check my emails after lunch, because first thing in the morning is like, let us do stuff like, I don't want to get distracted. And then checking emails is like, for me, when I check emails, I always just check for emails that I don't need to respond to. And then I come back to the other ones once the inbox is cleared. Just like, obviously, there's a different way for everyone, but just how to, you know, like, we don't have to be victims to emails like we can, you know,

 

Maia Coghlan  21:07 

get there are some good tips come up with email episode that Angie, and I did or weeks back that, that I've been using more now. Since since doing that episode. Yeah, I've got a much better handle on all my emails, which is great. So going back a little bit up to actually creating your schedule schedule. There. Yeah, time blocking. I love time blocking. Like I said, it makes me feel like I'm going to be so productive. And when I follow it, I am super productive. It's so good. When I check my emails first thing in the morning, I don't follow my time blocking for the rest of the day. So that

 

Amy Hooke  21:55 

is known. Like it's good when people become aware of those things like cool, like Finally, because they'll be people listening now who like the emails just dominate them all the time. Like it's just that's what determines the direction of the day, whatever the first email was about. Yeah.

 

Maia Coghlan  22:13 

Let your email be. If you let your email dictate your workday, instead of you dictating your workday, then you're only going to do the things that your email tells you to do on that day, you're not going to do any of the things that were actually the priorities that you set down the things that you wanted to do to reach your goals.

 

Amy Hooke  22:34 

Yeah, exactly.

 

Maia Coghlan  22:35 

schedule, do time blocking. And we talked about this in the priorities masterclass as well. I guess this is kind of a short description of the things that we cover in the priorities masterclass in more detail. Oh, it has templates to help you do this stuff.

 

Amy Hooke  22:52 

I love templates.

 

Maia Coghlan  22:53 

Yeah. So creating your schedule. For time blocking, I guess a basic overview is that you separate your day into blocks of time, you don't necessarily choose specific tasks like choose specific to go in each block. But you would have a block for checking your emails, you would have a block for maybe working on this particular clients file or that clients file or you would have a block of time for like doing marketing or social media or something for your business or you would have a block of time for checking over your own business's finances or your own businesses goals are really looking at your goals and your priorities each week to see if you're on track you can have a block of time to look at your time blocking time blocking exception Exactly. And something that really helps me is not just so you've set your block your blocks for the week. Like on this day, I want to work with this client and on that day, I want to focus on the internal business stuff and on this day, I want to do this stuff from before lunch, I do this and after lunch, I do that. But the to get the most out of it. Think about the top three things that you want to work on.

 

So that would be the either the top three things for the day, or you can think about which thing is most important for you to do in each of your blocks of time. But that that can be helpful or, or not. It depends on how you you know try it one way tried another way really, there's no one way that works for everybody. What works for me, is if I think about the top three things I need to get done the next day because similar to em Miles, I find it really disruptive. I tried to do it first thing in the morning, I, sometimes you know, I forget to do it the day before, I just don't feel like it. And then I start working in the morning. And I'm ready to start work, but I don't know what I'm doing yet. And yet my time blocking says I'm working on product creation. But what product am I working on today? I don't know, I don't remember. I haven't. I haven't told myself what I'm supposed to do yet today. It's too vague. So then I have to, you know, spend the first 1015 minutes of my day figuring out what I'm actually going to do today, in the time blocking. So if I do it the day before, then when I start in the morning, my first minute of work is actually working on the stuff that I need to work on today. Yeah, that's, that's the system that I would recommend. tried and tested several different ways to do some This is the way it works best for me anyway, is at the end of the day, or maybe even after lunch, because just when you check your emails, yes, after lunch is when you check your emails, not first thing in the morning. And when you check your emails, then you can see things that need to be done. Most of the time, they don't need to be done straightaway. And you can actually do it tomorrow, or the next day or whenever you work on that clients. business. So I

 

Amy Hooke  26:27 

think it's the are thinking about the you know, obviously if stress is like this physical reaction, I think that it's actually when you check the email. It's the stress that you feel that you're actually trying to, it's like the stress that you feel is like a little flyer and you try and put it out, you're like I don't want to feel this stress. So I'm going to deal with this email. Rather than realising like oh, I can just like, put down the email and step away. Because if you didn't feel that stress, and you looked at read that email without the feeling of stress there, you would probably realise it's not as important as it feels. So the feeling that you're getting is like this is really important. But if you think about it, like when you're running a bookkeeping business, or any kind of business, like how often is an email that feels urgent, actually urgent, like hardly ever? It's hardly ever actually urgent. Sometimes it feels urgent, because you're like, Oh, my gosh, I should have done this or something like that. But it's actually not.

 

Maia Coghlan  27:30 

Yeah, this is this is a great moment to come back to the point before of why? If you read an email, oh, no, I need to do stuff. Yeah, I can step back for a second for each email. Think about it. Do I really need to figure this out right now? Do I really need to respond to this right now? Or can I do it later? And if you can do it later, do it later. Unless it takes you one minute, maybe you could do it now. But if it takes too long, one minute? Yeah, that's probably well, even if it's something

 

Amy Hooke  28:04 

I can't do it in like less than three seconds and don't do

 

Maia Coghlan  28:08 

this, unless, unless responding to it involves pressing the little delete button, then. Yeah, okay. No, thanks for watching one of the tips, news, news, yes, news,

 

Amy Hooke  28:22 

the snooze button.

 

Maia Coghlan  28:24 

Or one of the tips that I said in the other podcasts the other day about emails was creating a task, which we're going to talk about in a minute, creating a task from the email in your task management. And then you don't have to look at the email, you can like, remove the email from your site forever, you never have to see that email in your emails. Again, you can just look at it in the task that you've created yourself. So when creating your schedule, set out the times of day that and they can be fairly vague, it can be all of the morning, I'm going to work on the top three priorities. And then in the afternoon, I'll fight my fires or something like that. It can be as simple as that, or it can be more specific. Try it some different ways, different ways will work for different people. It will take some practice to actually follow your schedule. But on top of figuring out when you're going to do things, set aside a little bit of time each day to figure out what you're going to do. What are your top three things you're not allowed to have more than three for one day? Three things. That's it? And then you if you have to, you can have a separate list of maybe things, but your definite things should only be three and do them first.

 

Amy Hooke  29:42 

Yeah, I agree. I agree. I think I feel the least stressed if I make that list the night before. in the morning. I think if I make the list in the morning, like I've already like things have already started like action is already happening. And so it's easy. To get sidetracked, or forget or wake up, like in a bit of a, you know, sort of drifting through, like, what do I do. Whereas if you do it the night before you like already have a plan, feel for me, that makes me feel,

 

Maia Coghlan  30:13 

it also reduces, again, the likelihood of someone else dictating what you're going to put on the list. Because if I, you know, we use how our internal chat is the same app as our task management app. So if I log in in the morning, and determine my tasks, for the day, I will see maybe that someone has messaged me, asking me to do something. And that can influence what I will put on my list for today. But yeah, that's right. If I do that, you know, maybe that thing that that person asked me to do sounds really urgent at the time. And I'm like, Oh, yeah, I'll just do this quickly today. But it might not be quick. And it might not actually be important. I could do it next week, and it wouldn't make a difference to anybody. So yeah, I said it the day before, I would definitely try setting it the day before.

 

Amy Hooke  31:05 

And I think that's how we started realising like it's better for you if we message each other and say, because I mean, just for everyone listening, just so you know, like Maya is one of the people like she models everything like in the business like Maya's like how like, you know, she's our practice manager, she's our, you know, our client projects manager, she's got her own work to do, but she also has to manage like everyone else's work, as well. And she's also our tech person. So being our tech person, she's the person that everyone goes to when something breaks when something doesn't work when they need to know how to do something. So for those of you who have stuff, you probably have someone in your business who's like the go to person for lots of different like a whole variety of different things. So part of Maya's job is actually that she like is actually being interruptible. Because there are things that come out on certain days, which means that you've had to really like make the effort to go on the days where you need to get your own work done, instead of doing things for other people, you've set aside like, Do Not Disturb days, because that helps you to get those things done. Otherwise, it's just constant stress of people throwing tasks at you.

 

Maia Coghlan  32:22 

Yeah, in my latest addition of my time locking calendar, because whatever you set the first time around is probably not what's going to work best for you. It's going to be trial and error. You'll do it for a day and then realise that this doesn't work. And you need time for that. And so it's it's adaptable, review it regularly. But yeah, in my latest edition of my time blocking calendar, I have a couple of times a week, an hour set aside to do random stuff that people ask me to do. Yeah. So if if I get asked at nine o'clock in the morning for something, and I judged that it's not actually that high of a priority, and they can do other work, while they're waiting for me to do this one thing for them, I will leave it and I will do it later, when I get to the block of time that I've set aside for doing these random things that everybody asked me to do.

 

Amy Hooke  33:20 

Yes, exactly. Because I mean, especially like earlier, when you first started like you might not necessarily I mean when when people are just throwing tasks at you all day long, like you don't know how important they think it is, or when they expect you to do it. So we sort of stuck we started to get in the habit of like, whenever you ask someone to do that, you've got to say like, Is it urgent? Is it not urgent and say when you need it by and then from there, we kind of worked out like, okay, like, if you can add a task to that person's list, like rather than sending it in the chat expecting them to stop what they're doing an add a task for themselves. Like that helps as well like it just because otherwise the stress of like that chat, you know, it's hard to keep track of all the conversations and and it's hard to know when the person wants it. And like you were saying before about asking why, you know, there's sometimes you know, the team will be giving each other tasks and then it's like, why, like, why I want you to do this why do you want me like why do we need to do this and yeah, like we're actually taking you know, sometimes we do things we don't need to do at all. Yeah, helpful. Yeah,

 

Maia Coghlan  34:27 

sometimes. So this morning, for example, when I was just about to get started on something. And Caitlin messaged me she's doing she's like out copywriter and marketing person, and she messaged me and said she didn't have access to the recording for this week's podcast and I know every Thursday morning she uploads the podcast to be released on the Friday morning and for some reason The file wasn't where it was supposed to be. And so she messaged me, because that's one of the things that if anybody knows where that file is, it's going to be me even though I had nothing to do with recording it, I would know where to find it includes so she didn't message Amy or Angie, who were the people who actually recorded this podcast episode, she messaged me, because I'm the

 

Amy Hooke  35:25 

only one that knows where everything is. Yeah, that's right. And we had a joke for a little while, we had the hashtag ask my art, because it's like, if anyone doesn't know anything, or where anything is or how to do something, if you just asked me while. But then we were chatting me stressed. Yeah, why I got stressed. And you know, I think like, it's good to check in for those of you who have stuff like check in because sometimes you've got stuff that especially like, I mean, my you're, you're a very productive person, and you do a great job, because you like to, like, that's who you are, you don't just do it. Because you know, it's your job and that kind of thing you do you do it, because that's sort of how you are at work and not at work like you're productive goal oriented person. And so, so in the early days, like I mean, I didn't, I didn't actually realise, I didn't know when you were stressed. So like, I just, like come up with ideas and give you tasks and all this sort of stuff. And I figured, like all you'll tell me, like, if you get too overloaded, you'll tell me, and I'm just like, yeah, you know, obviously, you've got quite a high capacity. So you have to learn, like checking in with staff is really important as well, because you might not ever different staff have different capacities. And so we use like a team dashboard now where everyone actually reports their stress levels and their well being levels and you know, their job satisfaction.

 

Maia Coghlan  36:57 

Because not not only does everybody have a different capacity, but everybody has a different way of dealing with it when they get over capacity. And some people will say, me, my mother capacity helped me I'm stressed and some people will just go into a shell. And sure lots may be really stressed and not deal with it. And nobody is aware.

 

Amy Hooke  37:22 

disappear. Yeah, that's right. And, you know, like we I mean, we talked about this last week with Angie. So Angie is like calm on the surface and like, like productive and go go go kind of thing. And yeah, there's like different signs, you know, different staff members have different ways of being stressed. So like the checking in and giving, like the team a way to communicate, because not everyone? I mean, some people, regardless of how often you tell them, like let me know, if you get overwhelmed, they probably won't do that. Whereas if you have a weekly check in where they just tick the box, might you know, Mark, how many styles or whatever you can track?

 

Maia Coghlan  38:05 

Yeah, I guess that's kind of a bonus point of measuring not dealing with your own stress, but helping deal with your stuff. stress.

 

Amy Hooke  38:15 

Yeah, that's right. When you have a team, yeah, you got to look out for your interest and everybody else's as well. Yeah. Yeah, to make sure, you know, make sure everyone's feeling okay. And you know, that you're prioritising the things that you're delegating to the team as well. Hmm.

 

Maia Coghlan  38:32 

So I think that, yeah, and that your team are working on the same things that match with your priorities for business. So we've covered setting goals and prioritising and your schedule. And as part of your schedule, setting your your top three things to work on each day. And then the fourth point is the how, which we have sort of touched on a little bit as well, which is having having a tool to delegate these tasks, even if, if you don't have a team, just delegating them for yourself, like I said, copying the email into a task for yourself to look at tomorrow or something. Exactly.

Managing workflow to reduce stress

 

Amy Hooke  39:19 

Yeah, that's right. Like I mean, those listening probably most of us have like some kind of workflow tracker, like some use workflowmax or which is zero practice manager. You know, we use teamwork, which has got the inbuilt chart, we use air table as well, depending on what we're working on. And then a really popular one is carbon. So heaps of our clients at savvy use carbon, and then there's Asana and click up and a whole bunch of other ones. Like there's endless tools that you could use, but having that tool that you can just kind of capture those tasks and delegate them and you know, keep track is really helpful. Yes, obviously, that's a lot of information. And you know, like I was kind of thinking, I kept actually thinking about how like when you and I We're talking about like, make so because I went through a time where I felt quite stressed. And you, you said to me, oh, why don't you try? You said, Why don't you try meditating? And I was like, why? Have you like, I didn't know. I mean, I said something. But you said, Yeah, I was. I was like, What the heck?

 

Maia Coghlan  40:20 

My response was, I don't actually think that that people tell people to do so.

 

Amy Hooke  40:28 

That made me laugh so hard. I was like, Oh my gosh, like, I was trying to be annoyed. Because you like, I'm like, I'm just trying to tell you something. And you're like, Oh, what? Why don't you try meditation? And I'm like, it's how you were there when you said you don't do it, but that's what other people say. To do that I just always think of think of that and think oh, yeah, maybe you should try to meditate. Yeah, maybe you should try meditating.

 

Maia Coghlan  40:55 

That's just an ongoing joke for us. Whenever Yeah, exactly. to myself, is fine. You can do everything. just meditate.

 

Amy Hooke  41:02 

Yeah, yeah. Oh, ask Anthony. I did a talk the other day. And I accidentally said, Anthony say he said, he said, You asked my which is my as new my as the strategy of like, you know, not trying to help everybody, but focus on her tasks and kind of push back on others. You know, like, if you're someone that you know, you know, you're so productive, and you're doing all these things. And people are tasks that you see, like, cool, cool, like, I'll do it and stuff like that. But you know, there'll be bookkeepers who are listening who would like me to actually go, No, like, I'm not gonna do that. That's not, that's actually not my job and point the person towards being able to do with them self or learn how to do it.

 

Maia Coghlan  41:41 

Yeah, that's one thing I'm working on. And learning at the moment is not just doing things as soon as people ask things because people ask,

 

Amy Hooke  41:48 

but that's a damn thing. And being so proactive. Yeah, productive is that you just want to keep things like moving forward and to so to stop and show someone like, huh,

 

Maia Coghlan  42:00 

yeah, exactly. So that's, that's the new thing is that if someone asked me to do something, and I don't actually need to do it, and they can actually do it themselves? If they just try a little bit harder, then it's, don't ask my ask Anthony.

 

Amy Hooke  42:16 

That's why I asked him. The new hashtag. So yeah, that's good. So yeah, you know, hopefully, all of these suggestions that my outline today have been helpful in managing stress. You know, and I love the fact and that's the reason like, I mean, we've made it. Like, for me, it's like meditation. If someone's wants to meditate, like, I have nothing against people that want to meditate. But for me, like, the thing I love about, like, the way that you actually do things, is that you just like, you come up with a proactive plan, like, what can I do about this? Because, you know, you can go off and try and like realign yourself and just, you know, detach from what's going on. But sometimes you just need to get in there and kind of like reorganise and reprioritize. And kind of fixes the situation. Yeah, have a plan to get out of it.

 

Maia Coghlan  43:12 

If you clear your mind, but you don't fix the system, then you're just going to get behind again.

 

Amy Hooke  43:18 

Yeah, that's right. That's the thing. You have to meditate every day.

 

Maia Coghlan  43:22 

Yeah, no,

 

Amy Hooke  43:23 

it's like, What? Why would you do that? anyway? What

 

Maia Coghlan  43:25 

If meditation works for you, then? Go for it. Don't stop doing that.

 

Amy Hooke  43:29 

That's right. But remember, there's

 

Maia Coghlan  43:30 

also the practical things, which is why exactly, exactly maybe, maybe you wouldn't need to meditate every day if you just reprioritize your list.

 

Amy Hooke  43:40 

Exactly. And so next week's episode, we're going to be talking about stress again, and we're going to be teaching you how to meditate. No, really don't really we're going to be I'm going to actually actually have my scene, actually have my senior bookkeeper calm with me. And we're going to talk a bit more about stress as it relates to work. But we're going to talk about client stress, because everybody knows what that can feel like. So we're going to talk about, yeah, we'll talk about a bunch of things. But obviously, there's certain things that clients can do that stress us out, especially in bookkeeping, things that feel really urgent and cause stress. So we're going to be talking about that next week with Sharon, talking about some of the ways that she manages, you know, the client relationship and the stress related to that. So if you want to learn about today's topic, then you can have a look in the notes, we've got it, we're going to put all the links to everything that we mentioned today. Um, and, you know, make sure you listen to the last episode and get that stress test. Because, you know, before you start putting these plans in place, it's really good to get a snapshot of like, your actual stress levels, because there might be things outside of work and things happening in your life that are leading to stress, as well. We're making you more sensitive to stress. And of course, thank you to you for joining us and come You know,

 

Maia Coghlan  44:56 

yeah, always good to be here.

 

Amy Hooke  44:59 

We love So, all right, cool. So yeah, so that's it for today's episode. So until next time, be smart and get savvy.

 

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