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From the desks of FCS Financial Executive Leadership Team

Starla Harper

By: Starla Harper, Chief Financial Officer

Spring.  It’s a time of year when the sights, sounds and even smells remind us of the fresh start to the season we’re embarking on.  It’s also a time of year that your work demands you outside, making it very hard to justify any time spent at your desk.  Even though planting, calves, fences or hay may be demanding all of your attention, the paperwork associated with running a business does not stop.  In my three decades at FCS Financial, one thing I’ve been forced to become disciplined with is management of paperwork – and your operation demands it as well. 

Below are some tips that I’ve put into practice during my time with FCS Financial to manage through busy seasons without falling too far behind on paperwork.

Step 1-Get Organized

The first step for tackling paperwork is to get it organized. At FCS Financial, this means organizing my inbox.  At your farm, it might mean a filing system for paper mail and a system for your email.  Your system should allow you to quickly sort things that need action and file in a way that allows you to easily return to them on a rainy day or at the end of the busy season. 

Step 2-Prioritize

Some paperwork may require immediate attention.  Your filing system should allow you to address urgent and important items, even during busy seasons. The rest, you can file, making sure you note any deadlines that might hit during the spring hustle.      

 Step 3-Deal with it

When that rainy day does come or the busy season slows, don’t leave paperwork off your list for too long.  I start with my least favorite items and get them over with. I find the hardest part is often getting started, so by tackling my biggest challenges first, I am able to accomplish more in the time I have to spend. 

Step 4-Filing paperwork

It’s important to store documents in a secure location where they can be easily accessed when needed. The worst thing is to misplace a document that you need later. Dispose of records that no longer need to be kept. Sometimes the key to dealing with paperwork and staying organized is to not get distracted by the clutter.

Step 5-Keeping up

The last step to managing your paperwork is keeping up with it, no procrastination. A little time each week, even during busy times, makes for an easier task at the end of the period, whether that be month, quarter or end of the year.

Using the tips above will ensure that paperwork does not become overwhelming or a source of stress. It’s important to create a system that works for you and then be disciplined in implementation.

Happy spring!

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