Tuesday, 16 October 2012

How did I ever have time to work full time?

The question I've been asking myself lately is "how did I ever have time to work full time?"  Seriously.  I don't know how I ever managed to get anything done! How did I ever make anything; read anything; write anything; see anyone; play anything; pay anyone; clean anything; calculate anything? Oh that's right, those last two items I still struggle with.

This afternoon I've been doing my BAS* for the Tax Office so that I can work out how much goods and services tax I've collected for them and pay it back.  It bores me stupid.  For a little while I convinced myself that I loved being systematic and working the fabulous spreadsheet that my more fabulous accountant set up for me.  This afternoon I discovered that I have been lying to myself and to everyone else about this.  I still hate it.  Putting numbers in columns and cross checking the little pieces of paper, with their faded printing, that pass as receipts these days, updating my car usage in my special diary is just so DULL.  Even the thrill of seeing how much money I've earned during the quarter was not enough to make it all shiny and satisfying again.

When I first started out on this business venture, I knew that I would need to have a really easy, uncomplicated and appealing system to use to keep all my records in order.  If I didn't start this way, there was a chance that the tax office would be looking for me a few years in the future and I'd probably be hiding in a cave somewhere because the disarray and volume of paper would just be too much.

That theory was right and I was very diligent early on.  Then I became extremely busy: flying all over the countryside, stopping at home long enough only to wash my clothes and repack my suitcase.  Travel for work generates paper like no other activity I've ever been involved in.  I started this busy period by clipping them all together and putting them aside to be entered into the spreadsheet next time I was home.  I did this a few times until there was a teetering pile.  The pile teetered right off the edge of the table and with another round of travel looming, along with the deadline for lodgement of my BAS coinciding with this time, I knew I had to tackle it today.

For almost three hours, I've sat chained to my desk.  It's done now and the payment is set up and everything, but I don't feel a sense of achievement.  I feel like I've been cheated of quality time I could have spent doing something else more interesting and invigorating.  And now I've started the recriminating conversation with myself. "You can't let it get out of control again".  "Just do it whenever you have a receipt - it's easier to do one or two at the time." Blah, blah, blah.  I know, I know, I know.

The only thing that makes sure I do it is the fear of further tedious conversations with the tax office.  If I could be assured I'd never have to do that again, I'd sit down with my spreadsheet all the time.  Well maybe that's an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

So today, I've done nothing else. Well I've done a few things.  I managed to do a couple of loads of washing and dry them.  They're now piled on the couch until further notice.  I ate breakfast and lunch.  I've picked up equipment for tomorrow's workshop.  The washing up from yesterday is still sitting in the drainer on the sink.  I have no idea what I'm going to eat for dinner.

Remind me: how did I ever have time to work full time?  I don't know how I ever got anything done!

*BAS = Business Activity Statement


  1. I know what you mean! I worked full time, up to 16 hours a day away from home, to come home and still do homework with kids, cook, clean, etc etc etc. I must have been on something because I can't imagine doing that now!

    Oh wait, I still do all of that and run a few business on the side ...

    Even now I'm not sure how I (we) get through it all!

  2. I know - it's interesting isn't it! Different pace, different focus and different perspective! I like this view much better!