Avoid procrastination, after reading this

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Even The Number Cruncher, Allysia Lewis gets occasionally sidetracked by the internet……

Virtually everyone is prone to procrastination. A new Donald Trump meme can induce low-brow fun and hysteria even for the most focused cat person ….and put that important tax preparation on the back burner.

The Lady in Charge Teya was interviewed by the CBC about the topic of procrastination. This was fitting for two reasons:

A lot of people procrastinate about organizing their bookkeeping and taxes (even when the tax deadline April 30, 2016 is peeking like a creepy clown behind a wall). As a the owner of a bookkeeping company Teya’s job is to help business owners become more organized and meet their CRA submission deadlines.

As perpetual procasters, we have found that Teya has an impeccable ability to avoid distractions (such as social media) and get things done. (If we could nominate her for the “least likely to procrastinate” award, we would.)

You can get there, too–we all can! Stick to the following five tips to really increase your productivity.

1. Outsource

Starting a new business can be quite costly so it is common for business owners to take on the initial roll of “everything to everyone” in order to keep costs low.

Although this isn’t a bad way to start, as time goes on and the business grows this workload can begin to become unbearable. This is where the procrastination starts.

According to an article by Phyllis Lokki in the New York Times the larger your workload the more likely you are to become overwhelmed and start procrastinating.

This is why outsourcing certain tasks is really important. It allows you to reduce your workload, free up some of your time and focus on your strengths.

For example: Teya has outsourced writing this blog to me because she is so busy making sure your taxes are filed on time 🙂

2. Lists, lists, lists and more lists

Write everything down and prioritize your important tasks. It is easy to use small tasks as a method of procrastination because they give a false sense of productivity.

Think about the revenue each task will bring you and then prioritize accordingly.

For example: Vacuuming your bedroom floor, although necessary, will bring $0 to your business so it should be last of your list. Completing work for your client will bring in revenue so it should be a priority (you can then use this income to outsource your vacuuming)

3.Limit your social media usage

This is easier said than done, especially when social media is so prominent in most people lives.

Time your usage. Create a social media plan that allows you to fit your daily social media into 20 minutes per day and stick to it OR outsource your social media management to an employee or to a firm.

It is very easy to get caught in a social media vortex. All it takes is for you click on a one link and before you know it 2 hours have passed.

4. Make sure you take breaks

Breaks allow you to refresh your mind. There are several studies that reveal taking a break to eat your lunch or to go for a walk actually increases your productivity.

So stop eating at your desk and enjoy some fresh air.

5. Only check your emails twice a day

Emails are often a procrastinators drug of choice. Don’t get me wrong they are important. However,  it is easy to fall into the trap of checking them 300 times a day.

You need to limit the time you spend with your emails so that you can focus on other important tasks.

Most people are happy/ pleasantly surprised by a same day turnaround. So even if you only respond to emails once in the morning and once in the afternoon that is usually all you need to ensure positive feedback from your customers.

A great tip suggested by Timothy Ferriss author of The 4 Hour Work Week is to set up an email response that lets your clients know exactly when and on what day you check and respond to your emails so you can manage their expectations.

So you think you can claim that expense?

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That’s Michelle Chand, our cool new intern, and a messy bookkeeping project on her lap we call The Big Blue. But all you see is your face,  stuck amid a pile of receipts you are not even sure you can claim as a business expense and a mean clock ticking down to tax time? We can help!

So, you just got a styling hairdo at your favourite salon and a fancy Aritzia number to go with it.  But can you claim your new look come tax season?

Every year around this time, clients come in, confused about what they can and can’t claim.

So, we decided to bust common tax myths:

Home office Tax Myths:

  • Your Dog is not a security expense – You laugh but this is a legit thing people try to claim! We repeat if you have a home office you cannot claim any expenses related to your dog as a security expense. That means vet bills, dog food and hours spent loving your dog are not under any circumstances tax deductible.

  • Home office deductions are based on the percentage of your home that you use to conduct business NOT  the size of your home. You need to calculate: square footage of business area and divide that by the square footage of your home. Storage space for business supplies and/or tools also can be included in your calculations as an area used for business.

Clothing Tax Myths:

  • GENERAL CLOTHING CANNOT BE WRITTEN OFF UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. The only benefit you are going to get from purchasing some new work threads is the satisfaction of looking really good. The only exception to the rule is safety clothing such as hard hats or steel toe boots and company branded clothing that is considered a uniform.

  • Dry Cleaning is only deductible if you are having a company uniform cleaned. That beautiful Armani Jacket you own unfortunately needs to be cleaned at your own expense.

Food Tax Myths:

  • A legitimate meal expense is one where you are going out with a colleague or potential client to discuss business. Going for a solo lunch while working doesn’t count for a meal. You should also record the name and number of the client you are meeting with on the meal receipt.

NOTE: In an audit of one of our clients, the auditor asked to see each meal receipts with the name and phone number of the person who was present at the meal AND a description of the type of business that was discussed.

Vehicle Tax Myths:

  • Just because your vehicle is branded doesn’t mean that you write off 100 percent of vehicle expenses. Auto expenses are calculated based on the percentage of the year’s total km’s that are driven for business purposes. That said the expense of having your car branded is 100 percent deductible as an advertising expense.

Client Gift Tax Myths

  • If you purchase liquor or any type of gift certificate from a restaurant, for example, a Starbucks or Whole Foods gift certificate, as a client gift, this is considered a MEALS expense (so only 50 percent is deductible) NOT an advertising expense (100% deductible). In order to deduct client gifts at 100 percent you need to buy gifts that aren’t food such as spa packages, flowers, Home Depot gift certificates etc.. Additionally you need to make sure you note which client received what gift in case you are audited.

Employee Tax Myths:

  • If you receive a T4 from your employer, you are not eligible to deduct ANYTHING unless your employer fills out a T2200 form authorizing you to do so. That said any dues or insurance you purchase from professional organizations can be deducted so long as you have been designated as a professional.

Student Tax Myths:

  • Unfortunately, as a student, you are not allowed to deduct any additional expenses beyond what your tuition slip from your educational institution (T2202) indicates. Therefore items such as your computer and stationery supplies are non-deductible.

When filing your taxes it is important to keep in mind that from the CRA’s perspective anything that could be deemed as personal, WILL be deemed as personal in the event of an audit.

Although you can take the risk and claim the above expenses you really should not, because in the event that you are audited and your claims are denied you will be forced to pay a fine in addition to paying back all of the tax you avoided along with interest.

We are taking appointments for tax consultations now so if you want to get ahead of the rest and book your ideal time contact us now.

Stretch your tax worries away

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Feel the burn? Power through tax season like a champ with these sassy moves.  Stretch your tax worries away. By Anja Konjicanin

At the Homeroom office, we have set ourselves the challenge to stretch every day.

So we get up every two hours for a break from the chair.

Great warm-up for tax season, right?!

These movements may not be much but the consistency with which they are repeated makes all the difference toward a long healthy life. Because a little bit goes a long way with these office-friendly stretches that keep on giving!

We are doing it for the forever healthy, happy, energetic body. What’s your WHY?

Sit Less, move more, do more, feel great:

1. Neck mobilization (6-8 reps): Keeping your chin up turn your neck side to side with a pause and hold on each side. With your chin pointed down toward your chest roll your chin from shoulder to shoulder in gentle half-circle.

2. Shoulder and upper back openers (6-8 reps): Arms are in front of your with forearms and palms together. Separate your arms keeping them at a 90 degree angle push back until you feel your upper back squeeze together. Keep your back squeezed raise your arms over your head. Return to the first position and repeat.

3. Wrist and hand stretch and mobility (6-8 reps): Arms are extended straight in front of your body. Flex or roll wrists and hands.

4. Good morning twists (6-8 reps): Arms are crossed against your chest. Keeping your head up and back straight hinge at the hips moving your chest toward the ground until you feel a stretch up the back of your leg (hamstrings). Hinge up to standing erect pressing your hips forward until you feel your bottom (glutes) flex tight. Then standing straight and tall twist to the right, return to the middle and twist left. Start at the first position and repeat as directed.

5. YTUW Back, Glutes, and Hamstrings Hinge (3 reps): Standing straight and tall push your glutes out (stick your bottom out). Raise your hands above head then move your arms down into a “Y” position, then “T”, “U”, “W”. Return to hands above head. Hinge forward keeping your head up and back straight until your hands come to rest on your desk or other flat surfaces. Slide your fingers forward on your desk feeling a stretch down the back of your body. Return to standing and repeat as directed.

6. Split Stance Tilt for calves and hip flexors (2 reps pers leg): Part 1 – Standing tall with feet shoulder width apart. Step forward into what would be a natural stride keeping your back heel pushed down to the ground. Push your hips forward toward the front foot keeping your chest high and your head up. Part 2 – In the same stance look up and fully arch your back and tilt your hips up and away from your back leg. Return to standing shoulder width and repeat with the other leg.

7. Ankle circles (2 reps per side): With your toe pressed into the ground make small circles rolling your ankle in one direction and then the other.

Small daily actions go a long way. They can keep you healthy, stress-free, and organized.