I don’t know about you but I’m a “project person”. I like jumping in and doing a good rescue job or setting up a whole new system. But as a result of being wired for longer-term PROJECTS, I don’t love doing repetitive tasks or routines. I also like to save things up and do them at the last minute because I find the stress of a deadline strangely motivating. If you’re nodding along here, you might be a project person too.
Are you a project person?
Before I keep going, let’s get clear on whether you’re a project or task person.
- Do you prefer to save up all your reconciling and do it all in one big batch rather than do a little bit each day?
- Do you like work that has a beginning, middle and… (thankfully) an end?
- Do you enjoy working like a crazy b!tch during BAS time and then going on holidays, or sleeping for three months straight?
If you answered yes to all of the above, congrats! You’re definitely a project person.
Being a bookkeeper who hates routine
Interestingly, most people think that bookkeepers are nerdy, shy, analytical creatures who love routine and mundane daily tasks. But the reality is that bookkeepers are as diverse as the general population. And a LOT of bookkeepers are project people who really don’t enjoy the routine work.
SIDE NOTE: These types of bookkeepers make GREAT business owners!
So, as a result of making this discover about myself, I wanted to share it with you and talk a bit about how we can use these project tendencies as a bookkeeper, work with our strengths, and still get our regular work done on time.
On the bright side…
Being a project person is a strength too! You’ll probably achieve lots of cool things because you like to start and finish projects – even big ones. Because you’re wired a certain way you’re a motivated go-getter. But in business, and especially a bookkeeping business, you need to juggle finishing projects with daily tasks and routines.
You need to overcome your inner slob
In our personal lives, being a project person can look like piled up dishes, clutter, and mess. And look, I’m the same. I’m not here to judge. I’m here to help (and share my own experience!).
After getting really frustrated about my messy house, I found a book that helped me to get it under control. The book talked about the concept of the “slob brain” which is a common trait in those who are naturally project people.
Your inner slob tends to let tasks pile up, overlook routines, and skim over daily tasks. The problem with this is that things quickly accumulate, get overwhelming, and you have to rush deadlines like a crazy person. You probably find routines boring and repetitive. So, whether you’re conscious of it or not, you tend to get behind on things deliberately so you can save things up, get an adrenaline rush that comes from working to a deadline, and then do it all at once.
And while you might have got away with it until now, that sort of thing isn’t going to work for you as you build your business and team, especially when it comes to keeping on top of regular tasks for your business (and your clients). So, let’s look at how you can overcome it…
3 steps to conquer your inner slob
1) Learn the difference between a task and a project
A task is something you can do in a single session. It might be something you need to repeat regularly. A project is something that includes multiple tasks, but it has a fairly clear beginning, middle, and end. Notice if you are naturally drawn to work on projects and tend to ignore or procrastinate with your tasks.
2) Develop a routine and practice it
As a project person, you’re not naturally drawn to routines, but this is something you can work on! Routines are powerful because it’s often the small tasks and habits you do every day that allow you to achieve big things (both in your business and your personal life). I like to block out time and tasks on my calendar. It helps me form better habits and stick to a routine so that it becomes more natural for me… even as a project person.
3) Focus on one thing at a time
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a big list of tasks, it’s time to take a different approach. Break things down. Set your priorities. Get focused on one or two important things that you need to accomplish each day – and if you manage to do some other things, that’s just a bonus. This will help you feel like you’re accomplishing something, even if it’s not a full project.
Work to your strengths to overcome your weaknesses
All of this is a great lesson in working to your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses. A little bit of self-awareness goes a long way. Once you can recognise your tendencies towards projects and your weaknesses around tasks/routines, you’ll be better equipped to get things done in your business.
Over to you…
Are you a project person or a task person? I’d love to hear if you found this useful… did it help you explain why you work the way you do? Feel free to continue the conversation with me in the comments below.
P.S. I’ve put together a few resources to help you. A “stress test” you can take to see how stressed you are and how that could be affecting your work performance or putting you at risk of serious health issues. A business plan template to help you to do things in the right order. If you have any questions join The Savvy Bookkeeper Facebook Group.