Marriage-300x200Getting married is a huge step for everyone. Not only are you combining your two lives legally, which means that you are now sharing just about everything, you are also combining your financial lives. Even if you maintain separate checking accounts (some argue this is a bad idea, but it has helped save countless marriages by eliminating fights over money), your financial lives will be severely intertwined and changed forever. If you are planning to get married soon, or looking toward the future as to what marriage will bring, your accountant in Billings, Montana helps you be aware of what to expect.


Dual Incomes After Marriage

There is a term you may have heard. And most likely you have heard it used inappropriately. That term is dink, which stands for Dual Income No Kids. Even if you are young, fresh out of college, and not making a lot of money, two incomes is better than one. As a married couple your expenses don’t increase that much, but the money coming in doubles. Before kids enter the picture, now is the time to really get things on track financially (because after kids come then you are in a whole new financial category).

With two incomes you will want to make sure that your emergency fund is sufficient. This means having enough to cover a few months of living expenses if you were to suddenly find yourself unemployed. It also means having a bit extra so when, or if, you decide to have children you have enough to pay for their hospital bills when they’re born.

Two incomes means really plugging away at your retirement funds as well. When you are young, and time is on your side, is when you need to stuff as much money into your IRA’s as possible. A few years now are worth a whole lot more than a lot of years later.

But two incomes will also mean that you are pushed into a new tax bracket.

Married Couple Taxes

Suppose you were married on January 1st 2015; your taxes for all of 2015 would be as a married couple. If you were married on May 1st 2015; your taxes for all of 2015 would be as a married couple. If you were married on December 29th 2015; your taxes for all of 2015 would be as a married couple. You get the point, no matter when you were married, for tax purposes you were married the entire year.

For those in a lower tax bracket (that is the 10% or 15% brackets) the incomes are basically double. For instance, as a single person you are taxed 15% on earnings between $9,226 and $37,450. For a married couple filing jointly, you are taxed 15% on earnings between $18,452 and $74,900. However, once you move into the 25% bracket, that is when things start to change a little.

Add into the mix that if you have substantial deductions, but your spouse doesn’t, then it may be better to be married filing separately. If you work, but your spouse doesn’t, then there is always the head of household status. If you have a lot of deductions, then you could push yourself into a lower bracket. The bottom line is that as your income increases, your taxes become more complicated; especially with a spouse and a family. It’s a good time to hire an accountant to do your tax preparation.

Practical Taxes

We are a full service accounting firm in Billings, MT. We understand that marriage causes a lot of different financial changes, and money can end up causing a divorce. Instead of fighting over money, be prepared for what is to come, and let us handle your taxes so you can eliminate stress from your lives.

Practical Taxes can handle all of your accounting needs including tax preparation, payroll services, bookkeeping, and more. Call us today to learn how we can help you 406-894-2050.

Business Accountant

When you have an office to build, don’t waste your time trying to learn accounting.

As a business owner, you need an accountant. But if you are just getting started, you may not want to have to deal with the costs that come with hiring someone to do something that you feel you can do on your own. So what do you do? Do you suck it up and spend a little bit of money, or do you suck it up and spend extra time learning how to do it all yourself? If you ask around to all of the successful entrepreneurs out there, you will find they all say the same thing: hire an accountant. Your accountant in Billings, MT outlines 4 great reasons to use an accountant rather than do it yourself.




An Accountant Can Help You Determine Business Structure

Before you even begin your journey as an entrepreneur, you need to determine what the best business structure is for you. We talked about this a few months ago, so rather than repeat everything just go back and read about how to determine the proper business structure.

What it boils down to is this: what type of business are you starting, how big do you expect the business to grow in the next few years, how many employees will you end up having, and what your tax goals are. If you can answer those questions, your accountant can help you set up the right business for you.

An Accountant will Save You a LOT of Time

Starting a business takes a lot of work. Most of that work will be done by you in order to make sure that everything is moving along nicely and that everything is organized properly. Throw some employees into the mix and now you have to manage the business as well as manage your employees. That includes setting schedules, performance evaluations, dealing with unhappy employees, and payroll.

But if you have an accountant, you can alleviate a lot of that burden. Your accountant in Billings, Montana can handle the payroll, bookkeeping, and manage all of your finances for you. There’s no need to go with Quickbooks or a similar program when you have a real live person that can do it all. This frees you up to do what you do best: run a business. Read about how using a payroll service will actually save you money.

An Accountant will Prepare Your Taxes

Naturally when people think of an accountant, they think of someone to prepare their taxes. Your accountant can do that, but when you become a business owner, it is more important than you think.

With a business in place, your taxes now become harder than ever to get in place. You have to make sure that you are deducting the right amounts, putting incomes in the right places, filing on time (business taxes are due March 15), and making sure everything is done correctly. Why learn accounting when you have a business to run?

Your Accountant can Maintain Records

Most people that become business owners are fairly well organized. If they aren’t, then they end up going out of business. However, sometimes things get a little sloppy because there are just so many things to do.

You have two options here. You can hire a personal organizer to come in and develop a plan for you. After that you do all the work and keep your own records. Or you can hire an accountant to take over. You pass along the proper information (hours worked, pay structures, cash in, cash out, etc), and then your accountant in Billings, Montana can handle all of that record keeping for you.

Practical Taxes

As a full service accounting firm in Billings, MT, we can handle all of your accounting needs. The bottom line is that we can save you a lot of time by taking these things off your plate. In the end, you get to focus on what you know best (and what you love), and you don’t have to worry about the things you don’t know that only slow you down. Give us a call at 406-894-2050 to learn more about how we can help your business succeed.

Sierra Exif JPEG

Sierra Exif JPEG

If you read enough about higher education, student loans, the cost of education, and personal finance, you will get a wide variety of opinions on the matter. Some will say that higher education is a joke, and you can get a great job without a college degree. Others will say that you need the education in order to truly be competitive in the market today. Some will agree that you need an education, but the costs are way too high; others will still claim it’s a great investment. Then there comes the matter of paying off your student loans and there are yet more opinions on the matter. How do you make sense of it all? Your accountant in Billings, MT explains what your options are after you have decided to get a degree, and you are now stuck paying off your loans.



The Silver Lining: Tax Deduction

If there is one good thing that comes from having large student loans is that you get to deduct the interest you pay on them from your taxes. Since the loan rates vary depending on when you received the funds, we will use an average of about 4.5% interest (you could likely be higher, or lower, than this rate). And since the amount you owe varies depending on how long you went to school and where, we will use $40,000 as the total amount owed.

Every year you will pay back some of your loans, and every year the interest you pay will get smaller and smaller. Our analysis looks at the first year on loans with a payback period of 15 years.

Using these numbers, your loan repayments will cost you $306 per month, for 180 months. You will pay a total of $55,079 and $15,079 will be interest. During your first year you pay $1,760.90 in interest, and $1,911.10 in principal.

The good news is that you can deduct this interest off your taxes, even if you don’t itemize your deductions (the standard deduction is $6,300 for a single filer in 2015). So your student loans will save you $440 (assuming a 25% tax bracket) no matter what your other deductions turn out to be. But that loan is still costing your $1,320 per year.

Paying Off Your Student Loans

Many people hate to be in debt. Even thought student loans are considered “good” debt in the sense that they help you earn more money and the interest is deductible, most want it gone. This is actually not that hard to do, but it does require some planning, discipline, and hard work.

Using a Bankrate Student Loan Calculator we can find out how much faster you will pay off your debt by figuring in additional payments. Suppose you add $100 every month to your payment, then you pay off your loan 5 years sooner and save around $5,000 in interest. Bump that repayment up by $250 and you save $9,000 by paying them off 8 years sooner.

But the bigger question is how do you come up with the money to pay off your loans faster? The answer is to start pulling some side jobs. These are any skills that you have that you can monetize. Cleaning houses, mowing lawns, fixing cars, writing for websites, or anything else can all be monetized if you market to the right person. Putting 100% of that extra income toward your loans can wipe them out incredibly fast. Want more proof? Check out Joe Mihalic’s blog about how he paid off $90,000 in student loans in just 7 months.

With a little frugality, some entrepreneurial spirit, and a whole lot of discipline, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to wipe out your debt in just a few short years.

Practical Taxes Can Help

If you are spending your time earning extra money in order to pay off your loans quickly, you will need all the time savers that you can get. If you are pulling a side job, then you will have tax consequences. Let us prepare your taxes for you so that you can focus on bringing in even more money. If your side business grows big enough and you need employees, let us do your payroll so you can focus on finding more jobs. We are a full service accounting firm in Billings, Montana. No matter what your accounting needs are, we can take care of them. Call us at 406-894-2050 to learn more.

Wind-Turbine-300x199As your home gets older, and technology progresses, you may find that your energy efficiency is not quite what it should be. You are, essentially, leaking money out your walls and roof. Fortunately, the government knows this, and there are a number of tax rebates, credits, and deductions that you can get to help offset the cost of updating your home to something more energy efficient. If you combine those perks from the government with the energy savings over time, you may end up saving money in the long run all because you invest in your home. Your accountant in Billings, MT explains what the most popular rebates are, and how you can go about claiming them.


Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency

Every year the government offers some credits for those who install energy efficient sources of energy. This does not include energy efficient appliances, updating insulation, installing new windows, etc. Those rebates are available, but they often change (for instance, there was a credit available for windows and doors that expired last year).

Geothermal Heat Pump – A geothermal heat pump uses the earth’s natural cool and warmth to help heat and cool the house. During the winter the ground temperature is higher than the air temperature, and in the summer it is cooler. You can receive a tax credit of 30% with no upper limit if you put one in.

Small Wind Turbines – Wind is one of the best natural resources we have available. By installing a small turbine, or turbines, you can help offset your electricity use. Here in Billings, Montana we often get a lot of wind, so this is especially useful in our area. The same credit is available as with the heat pump.

Solar Panels – There are two forms of solar panels available. One is the traditional panel that we see popping up: the photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight into electricity. But there are also solar water heaters. Both are eligible for tax credits of 30% of the costs.

All three of these upgrades to your house can be expensive. But they all offer  30% tax credits. So if the system costs $10,000 (including installation costs), you can get $3,000 off of your taxes when it comes time to file next year. And then if you realize a savings of $1,000 per year that the system is in place, you will be making money after 7 years. Obviously all of that will vary depending on where you live, what type of system you install, and how much it actually costs you.

You can learn more about these systems, what the requirements are, and how to apply by visiting the Energy Star website.

Practical Taxes

Here at Practical Taxes we know all about the energy credits and how you can save money by installing one of these systems. If you need to consult with us to make sure it is going to save you money over time, just give us a call at 406-894-2050. We can even help you get the paperwork together as well.

Practical Taxes is a full service accounting firm in Billings, Montana. We can help with your tax preparation needs, payroll services, business consulting, bookkeeping services, and more.

mortgage_rate-300x284If you study personal finance at all, you will find conflicting accounts of whether or not you should pay off your mortgage. Some say to get out of debt as quickly as possible, and that means pay extra on your mortgage. Others say that since you can deduct mortgage interest from your taxes that you shouldn’t pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible. But how does it actually work out? Your accountant in Billings, MT looks at the numbers and helps you decide what is in your best interest.






How Much Interest Your Pay

The decision to pay your mortgage off early or to keep it around for the tax deduction, all depends on how much interest you actually pay. So we will look at two scenarios in order to determine if it makes more sense to pay off your mortgage early or just let it run its course.

In our first scenario we are buying a new house. Our total mortgaged amount is $200,000 and we got a good deal at 4% interest on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. For ease of calculations our first payment was on January 1st of the year. Over the course of 12 months we make payments totaling $11,457 of which $3,522 is principal, and $7,935 is interest (keep in mind every payment more goes toward principal and less toward interest).

If we itemize our deductions, which means we have to come up with $4,465 for a married couple (to put us over the standard deduction), then paying on this mortgage will save us $1,983 off our taxes (assuming a 25% tax rate).

In our second scenario we are an existing homeowner. We have a loan with the same terms, but there is only $100,000 left on the mortgage. Over the course of 12 months we still make payments totaling $11,457, but this time $7,572 goes to principal and $3,885 is interest.

Assuming we still itemize, and have $8,515 of other deductions, then we can save on our taxes with paying our mortgage. But now those savings are only $971.25.

Now here is the situation: in scenario #1 you spend $7,935 to save $1,983. In scenario #2 you spend $3,885 in order to save $971.25. In other words, you spend a dollar to save a quarter. Unless you need that itemization to push you up and over the standard deduction, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep your mortgage around for the tax deduction. You can calculate your mortgage and amortization over at Bankrate.com.

Other Factors to Consider Regarding your Mortgage

However, there are several other factors that play into the keep-it or pay-it-off decision.

First of all, can you even afford it? If you don’t have an emergency fund, and you are skimping on your retirement fund, then you are better off keeping the mortgage. Use those extra payments to boost your other accounts before trying to pay off your mortgage early.

Liquid money is always better. Having your net worth tied up in your house is almost never a good idea. If you need cash, you will have to sell the house or take out an expensive home equity loan. Unless you have other resources, you might not want so much money tied up in the house.

Finally, you could likely get a better rate by investing the money. If you have a 4% interest rate, your after-tax savings rate is 3%. Over the long term, your investments should make far more than that. Why give up an 8% return in order to get a 3% return?

There is a lot that goes into the decision to pay off your mortgage. If you are simply keeping it around for the tax benefits, then you are actually losing money (pay $1 to save $.25). But if you are keeping it around because you don’t have other resources, and you have the discipline to invest it elsewhere, then it makes a lot of sense to keep the mortgage around.

Practical Taxes is a full service accounting firm in Billings, Montana. If you have a mortgage and other deductible expenses, we can make sure to get you the biggest refund available. If you are a business owner and need other services like monthly accounting, payroll services, or more, then let us know and we can help you out. Call 406-894-2050 to learn more.

Success-300x225If you want your startup, or your existing business, to take off, your best bet is to read up and learn from those who have come before you. There is a wealth of knowledge out there from some of the smartest business men and women around the world. You can buy their books if you want, but the majority of that knowledge can be found online for free. To get you started, your accountant in Billings, MT shares 5 inspiring insights from some of the best entrepreneurs around.




Always be Selling – Mark Cuban cannot emphasize this enough. In his book How to Win at the Sport of Business Cuban states “In business you’re always selling…” The idea is that you can’t just sit back and hope for the best. You have to sell your employees on the idea so they can sell the clients and customers. No matter what you think, you’re the brand ambassador and you have to make it happen.

Failure is an Option – Most understand that failure is not something to be strived for. We have been taught to avoid it at all costs. But what we haven’t been taught is to learn from our failures. Bill Gates explains that celebrating success is great, but “it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Every great inventor, business person, athlete, or other prominent and influential person has failed repeatedly. The difference is that they learn from those failures.

The Sky’s the Limit – I’m sure we have all heard this adage before; or the similar “shoot for the moon because if you miss at least you’ll land among the stars.” They’re catchy but don’t really mean much. Oprah Winfrey expounds when she says, “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it… don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” Goal setting is important; but if we set tiny goals we will be satisfied with tiny results. Aim bigger from the start and you’d be surprised what you can accomplish.

I’m not Smart – The most important thing an entrepreneur can realize is that they don’t have all of the answers. Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam Records, knows this and stated, “I’ve been blessed to find people who are smarter than I am, and they help me to execute the vision I have.” From payroll services, to legal work, to website work, you shouldn’t do it all because there is no reason to be an expert in every area. Focus on what you know best, and outsource the rest.

Start Small – Many big name companies that you know started out in a garage, a basement, or somewhere else inconspicuous. The reason is that “you don’t need to have a 100-person company to develop that idea.”   Don’t take my word for it; take it from the founder of Google, one of the world’s leading tech companies. Take your idea, develop it, and add employees and resources as needed.

Building your business should be an adventure and a journey. There will be bumps along the way; there will be victories and setbacks. You will see your dreams grow and see them crushed, only to rebuild them slightly different. Take it from those who came before you, those who are likely far smarter than you, to show the way.

Practical Taxes is a full service accounting firm in Billings, Montana. We can do monthly accounting, payroll services, tax preparation, business consultation, and a whole lot more. This helps free you up to grow your business, focus on your business, and do what you do best. Call us today at 406-894-2050 to learn more about how we can help you grow.

Books-300x168Being in business means that you have to make hard decisions. One of those decisions is where you should invest your capital. You can invest in employees, in technology, in infrastructure, in product, in yourself, in training, and a whole host of other places. So how do you decide where the best business investment is? There is one place where you should invest if you are struggling to figure out where you should invest. Your accountant in Billings, Montana explains where.


Your Best Business Investment

Business owners and employees alike know that money comes and goes. If you have a big loss, you work hard and recoup that loss. Every failure is an opportunity to learn and succeed the next time. So your investment is not something that you make with money.

Your best investment will actually be a time, commitment, and intellectual investment rather than one that you spend money on. There will be some money involved, but it will be mostly self study and training that helps you to succeed.

Think about this scenario. When you choose a business that you want to work with, who would you rather use: the business that has the cheapest product, or the business that charges a little more but they are an expert in the industry? Many people will go with the cheapest around, but the longest term clients will stick with those that really know their industry.

Becoming an expert is actually not that hard to do. In fact, it can be done in your spare time over the course of just a few weeks. With the internet, there are millions of websites offering free information about just about any topic you can imagine. Spending 20 minutes per day reading will put you light years ahead of your peers.

To put yourself even further ahead as an expert, invest in some books. Buy 5 or 10 books that relate to your business, business in general, and your industry. Read them over the course of the next year. By doing so you will be vastly more knowledgeable than anyone else around.

Take that even further and invest in training for yourself. Now there are a number of fly-by-night companies that offer training in your industry. They have no clue what they are doing, and they will gladly take your money and offer minimal value. So do your research before you commit. When you find one that gets glowing reviews, it will be worth your money; even if it costs several thousand dollars.

Make your Best Business Investment

Practical Taxes is a full service accounting firm in Billings, Montana. We know that you are a busy business owner, so we offer a variety of services (such as payroll services) to help ease your burden. With that time free, you can make the best business investment you have ever made and grow yourself as a leader, an entrepreneur, and a business owner.

Business-Taxes-300x199Having employees can make your life as a business owner so much easier. It takes the burden off of you to do every little thing, letting you focus on the important aspects of running the business, and it provides a job for someone else, helping to stimulate the economy. But anyone who has dealt with employees before knows that it can sometimes be difficult to keep your employees motivated so that they want to work hard and help further the business. Your accountant in Billings, MT outlines six ways to keep your employees happy.



Company Paid Lunches

One of the best things that you can do is to take little stressors away from your employees. Making it so they don’t have to worry about lunch can do just that. If you have just one or two employees, you may want to consider providing lunch every day of the week; if you have more then you may want to do company provided lunches on Friday. No matter how you structure it, your employees are going to be happy because how many companies actually do this?

Be Real

This is easier said than done. But think about it who you would appreciate more: a boss that comes by once a week and gives you a cheery smile and tells you how much you’re benefiting the company, or the boss that comes by and says that things are looking grim and everyone needs to work extra hard to make sure we turn a profit this quarter? Now you can’t be negative all the time, but when you’re real your employees appreciate you more.

Listen and Follow Through

Too often the boss gets in the habit of saying, “This is how I want it done, so you do it like this.” This makes for disgruntled employees. Perhaps even worse is the boss that seems to care, listens to complaints and suggestions, and never does anything about them. Want to keep your employees happy? Encourage them to give you feedback, actually pay attention when they do (turn off the computer if you need to minimize distractions), and ultimately follow through.

Empower Them

Talking about “empowering employees” sounds cliché and overused. But there is a reason that these buzzwords exist. An employee that has a say in the company is going to be a productive employee. They don’t want to feel as though they come to work, do a series of chores, and then go home. If your employees have an idea of how to make operations smoother, test those out. If your employee wants to work from home, try it for a week to see if he or she is as productive (or more productive) than in the office. People want a say in what they do, let them have it.

Provide Incentives

Most jobs can be quantified in some form or another. Determine a series of goals and provide incentives for the employees as they meet those goals. Incentives can be as simple as a coffee card for small goals, or bonuses and pay raises for bigger goals. Little rewards keep employees happy; happy employees work harder and stay longer.

Profit Sharing Plans

This is separate from “provide incentives” for a couple reasons. First, it is more than just an incentive for working harder; it is a reward for the employee for their expertise. Second, it should be reserved for your top executives. Top talent needs to be rewarded when they help to grow the business. It encourages them to put more time and effort into the job (even if their pay remains the same); because at the end of the quarter they know they will get a fat bonus check. Profit sharing amounts depend greatly on the executive, size of the company, and many other factors.

Motivating Employees shouldn’t be Hard

You don’t need gimmicks to motivate your employees. In fact, if your treat them fairly, and you have the right person in the right job, then their biggest motivation will come from job satisfaction. But sometimes people get a little burnt out, and you do need to provide some incentives.

Practical Taxes is a full service accounting firm in Billings, Montana. We can help you with your tax preparation needs, bookkeeping needs, payroll services needs, and much more. If you are a business owner, and you want to grow your business, we can help you do that. Give us a call at 406-894-2050 to set up an appointment today!


Paycheck-300x224As a business owner you have a lot on your plate. You have to keep track of your business, make sure you are growing, make sure your customers are happy, manage a schedule for your employees, and a whole host of other tasks. If you are running your business properly, you know that you barely have time to sleep, and any little help that you can get with your company is valued highly. So why are you still trying to take care of your own payroll? Your accountant in Billings, MT handles payroll services so you don’t have to.




What is Included in Payroll Services

You would be hard pressed to find any business owners across the country that say they enjoy doing payroll. With the exception of those who specialize in that service of course. Instead, you will likely find just the opposite. Those that you contact will say one of their most dreaded tasks is sitting down to write paychecks every two weeks.

Instead of using your valuable time, and risking the fact that you could get something wrong and you would be in a heap of trouble, hire that service out. All you have to do is provide a way for your employees to keep track of their hours, and then you send them in to us. We provide everything as far as payroll services go, including keeping track of your employees, distributing paychecks, providing analytics on how much of your money is going out the door (and where it is going), and much more.

Every pay period, your employees turn in their hours worked. You get those hours to us (in any method that you want; it can be a text, mail a piece of paper, or even an email with the hours typed in), and we do the rest of the work. You don’t have to worry about anything other than making sure the funds are in the bank account to pay your employees. That’s all there is to payroll services (aside from the initial appointment that sets everything up of course).

Why You Need Payroll Services

Let’s suppose you run a business, and your goal is to make $100,000 (personally, not the company) each year. That means you have to be working for at least $50 per hour in everything that you do; anything less and you are drastically cutting into your take-home pay goals.

Let’s suppose that doing your payroll for your employees takes you 4 hours per month. That means payroll costs you $200 per month to complete (money that you are not making because you’re stuck doing payroll). If it costs even $195 to have someone else do your payroll, it is completely worthwhile.

Practical Taxes

Practical Taxes is a full service accounting firm in Billings, Montana. We love to help businesses succeed by taking over their payroll services and freeing up their time. If you spoke with any of our clients they would tell you that it is a huge burden off their backs. The best part: we are affordable. Give us a call at 406-894-2050 to schedule your appointment to talk about payroll services. You will be surprised at how affordable we are, and how much more time you will have to work on your business.

time-management-294x300If you are a business owner, you know that there just are not enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. You go in early, and you stay late, and you even work at night after the family has gone to bed. But you still can’t seem to get everything done that needs to be done. If you are faced with this dilemma, then you need to spend a little bit of time reading about how to appropriately manage your time so that you can get more done in fewer hours. Want to get the basics? Read on as your accountant in Billings, MT explains some of the secrets to time management.


Prioritize Your Obligations

Sometimes there are far too many things that need to get done in the day, and just not enough time. You have to prioritize exactly what needs to be done first, and what can be put off until later. Doing this is actually a whole lot easier than you might think, and it takes on two steps.

Before you even add something to your to-do list think “eliminate, simplify, delegate”. These three words can make your life a whole lot easier and can boost your productivity. For instance, when you have to get something done, think “does it even need done in the first place?” If not, then just eliminate it from your to-do list. If you can’t eliminate it, can you simplify it? If not, then can someone else do it?

For instance, let’s think about payroll. You can’t simply stop paying your employees, so elimination is off the board. You may be able to simplify your payroll by only paying employees once per month, but if that is done, then you may not be able to retain those employees that need paid twice per month. You can easily, however, delegate your payroll services. A+ Accounting specializes in payroll, and with a short meeting you can remove this huge burden and free up a lot of your time.

Once you have your to-do list trimmed down by eliminating, delegating, and simplifying, you are now ready for the second step. Everyone’s list contains some difficult tasks, some that are fairly easy, and a whole lot in between. In order to be as productive as possible, tackle those harder tasks (or the ones you dread doing) first thing. Save the easier stuff for later when you’re tired and you just want to go home. Doing so will help you to accomplish more in the day than you ever thought possible.

Need to Get a Lot Done? Schedule a Power Hour

There will be times, even after you trim down your to-do list that you just have a ton of stuff to tackle. Now is the time to kick things into overdrive, and make sure that you knock out as many tasks as possible. You need a power hour.

A power hour is simple really. You lock yourself in a room where you won’t be distracted. You mute the phone, log off the internet if possible, and just work. You work hard, you work fast, and you work for exactly one hour. At the end of the hour, find a stopping point, and go stretch your legs. You could walk around the block, spend a few minutes watching cat videos, or get a cup of coffee; it doesn’t matter just clear your mind from work. If you are still behind, have another power hour after your break.

Just Say No

Many entrepreneurs have the problem that they want to do everything. You might need some money, you might need to expand your resume, or you might just want to make everyone happy. The end result is you end up with too much on your plate and it causes unnecessary stress. When this happens, you need to train yourself to say “no.”

When you do have to tell someone no, don’t worry about them being offended (unless you’re rude about it). Instead, simply tell them “I’m really booked at the moment, when things calm down I can check back to see if you’re still in need.” Most of the time people understand and if they’re in a bind they can find someone else to help them. If they wait, then it’s a good sign that you have a superior service or product; one worth waiting for.

Make the Most of Time Management

Now that you have spent time learning about time management, get back to work. Figure out your priorities, and then get in touch with us here at A+ Accounting & Consulting. We are a full service accounting firm in Billings, Montana, and we can offer you services that will help free up your time so you can run your business more efficiently. Schedule an appointment today by calling 406-894-2050.