How to Stay Sane While Working at Home as a Bookkeeper During COVID
During these unprecedented times, Bookkeepers are focusing more than ever on supporting their clients while often forgetting about themselves.
Over these past few months it seems that we bookkeepers have been working under consistent high pressure. When considering we had just finish submitting BAS when COVID-19 hit and we had to immediately turn our attention to Job Keeper Applications and now we are back to where we started with BAS being due once again and we are all exhausted and struggling.
While working away at all the important work for our clients we are also dealing with new work situations which add a whole other level to the stress. Although many bookkeepers are used to working from home many of us are not used to having our families home 24/7. With these isolation restrictions bookkeepers, home offices have been transformed into day-care centers, homeschooling classrooms, and lounge areas for non-essential workers.
Let’s just come out and say it; this transition has been hard for everyone and everyone knows someone who is struggling. As bookkeepers we are so used to focusing on others that we often push our mental health to the side resulting in a higher chance of us burning out and becoming useless to our clients.
To stop this, we have created a list of tips and tricks that can help you prioritize you while working hard to support your clients. Here we go;
Like What You Do
With the famous saying, ‘I just fell into bookkeeping’, at the forefront of every bookkeeper’s mind; we need to sit down and work out what about bookkeeping we love and what aspects we don’t. Then, keep doing the things you love and that makes you excited to come to work every day and find ways where you can stop doing the things you don’t.
If you work in a team environment delegate the tasks you don’t love doing throughout the team by focusing on everyone’s strengths. Or, if you are a sole-trader then look into ways you can outsource the tasks you don’t enjoy doing to allow yourself to have more time to continue focusing on things you love doing for your business. By making these small changes you will be amazed at the difference that you will see in yourself as well as your team when coming to work each day.
Have a Schedule
Before the Corona Virus outbreak, The Savvy Bookkeeper team worked remotely from home with our partners/husbands also working from home, permanently. Because of this lifestyle choice the Savvy Team puts a high value on the influence of working on a schedule in both our work and personal lives.
When considering a work/personal schedule don’t go overboard in focusing on the minuet details but instead focus on creating a routine. When creating this routine make sure you schedule out time blocks in your work calendar (such as Google Calendar) with set reminders to ensure you allow yourself to have set times each day to help create a ‘new normal’ for working from home. Here are some examples:
- Have a scheduled start and finish time for each day,
- Have a scheduled break throughout the day to have lunch and get up from your desk and get mobile,
- Have a scheduled family time for each day, and most importantly
- Have a scheduled ‘me time’ blocked in.
By scheduling in these main priorities into your calendar you will ensure that you are prioritizing each aspect of your work and personal needs resulting in a much happier work/home relationship.
Prioritise Me Time
Lately, we have been spending more and more time on discussing the concept of ‘me time’ with our clients. And it’s an aspect that we all struggle with. As bookkeepers, business owners, partners, etc we are always placing ourselves at the bottom of the priority list. This has to stop. We need to realize that if we don’t prioritise us we eventually won’t be able to prioritize anything because we will burn out. And sadly this happens more often than not in our industry. Here are some of our top tips for prioritizing yourself;
- Join Online Social Groups such as Meet Up, Facebook Groups or Online Bookclubs to continue to have a social life while in isolation.
- Learn What Your Me Time Is. Me time is different for everyone; for some it might mean having a cup of tea and reading a book, or it might mean going outside doing sport, or having a relaxing bath after a long day. Whatever your me-time looks like prioritize your mental and physical space as it will help you reduce your overall stress and keep you going.
- Make Your Free Time Productive. While in isolation it’s easy to start feeling like a ‘blob’ so make sure that you stay productive and interested in your free time. Read a non-fiction book, listen to music, get outside, and breathe some fresh air, learn something new, take an online course or finish that home DIY project. It doesn’t matter what you do just stay active and have fun.
- Adjust Your Perspective. It’s not unusual for us to be feeling alone during a time like this but there are ways to stay connected. Between Skype, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and so much more we have so many ways of staying connected and visually seeing each other. Take that virtual step and meet up with friends digitally; you might be surprised by how much fun you have.
- Exercise. I know, the dreaded ‘E’ word but hear me out. With the closing of gyms, it is easier than ever to get a personal trainer or take that yoga class you’ve always wanted. Personal trainers and instructors have finally made the transition to the digital world which means that now you can do your dream work out at home with a click of the button; how easy is that!
Prioritise Your Business
Although this is an extremely busy time for bookkeepers it is also the best time to be working on your business processes to help you handle the increased requirements your clients now require.
- Optimise Your Work Space. Working from home has its benefits but you need to make sure that you can work uninterrupted. Sit the kids in front of the TV or set them up with a good book and tell your partner you need some uninterrupted quiet time. We even have clients that have created a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign which is posted during working hours; how great is that!
- Optimise Your Communications. Start bulk sending your emails to clients instead of answering every question individually. This will save you hours of phone calls and repeating yourself over and over again.
- Optimise Your Website. Take this time to start a blog for your current and potential clients. This ‘value-added’ service will help educate your current clients while establishing yourself as an expert in the field and boost your SEO. It’s a win/win!
In the end, you need to remember that we are all in this together and are adjusting to our ‘new normal’ at our paces. Make sure you continue to check in on friends and family members as well as yourself during this time. Even though we might be not able to physically be together we still can virtually and as Bookkeepers we are equipped with the knowledge to make this work. To learn more about how the Savvy Team stays sane while working from home, check out The Bookkeeper’s Voice Episode 69 to hear Maia and Will chat things through.
NOTE: If you’re struggling with your mental health, or know someone who is, you can call Beyond Blue at1300 224 636 to speak to a psychologist or start an online chat conversation.