Have you taken a good hard look at yourself over the past few months when your normal routine changed?  I certainly have.  There are things I liked and things I definitely didn’t like about the way I adjusted to the temporary new normal.  I really liked my commitment to exercising (there are no excuses when the most exciting part of your day is going for a walk).  I very much enjoyed connecting with my husband as my busy travel schedule came to an abrupt halt and I was required to stay at home.  I was not so fond of the frequent trips to the fridge or the increased consumption of alcohol.  I became accustomed to wearing gym pants and found comfort working in my home office.

It is common thought that is takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to make it into a lifestyle.  We have certainly cracked the 21 days with the lockdown measures, but will your lifestyle be permanently changed in some way as a result of COVID-19?  Personally, I really hope to reduce the amount of travel I do now that I can so easily conduct a meeting over Zoom.  That will impact my lifestyle allowing me to explore new ways to use my time.

Perhaps now is an opportunity to work on some new business habits as we start to move out of the severe restrictions and back to something closer to normal.  I feel it is almost like the start of new year, we have that line in the sand when we can look at what we did BC (before Covid) and see what we can adapt to our advantage going forward.

I have no idea how we would have coped this past few months without technology.  Not only has it benefited our business, it has benefited our clients.  Now is the time to consolidate on this and encourage the use of more technology.  I feel that the fear of technology has been partially eased as we all had to embrace technology to remain connected.

If I can get my parents to partake in a weekly family Zoom catch up, there is hope for those who have neglected to take up technology options because it all seemed a little too difficult.  It really wasn’t that hard to find and use an online product that has helped over the past few months, and it is not just the millennials jumping online to conduct business.  Baby boomers and GenX are moving online and getting pretty good at it.

Even our business which I consider as an early adopter of technology has made changes.  We had to close our offices very early in the pandemic as we had a scare that effectively required all of our staff to self-isolate. The one problem we had was our phone system which required someone to be at an office location to answer the phone.

Always up for the challenge my business partner Michael sought a solution.  We now have a phone system that works over the internet and allows us to take, make and transfer phone calls using the Microsoft Teams product.  This means our work locations are no longer limited.  Our staff working from home can communicate with clients using their mobiles of through their computers via our work number.  After a few small hiccups we are now excited to be using our new phone system up and running.

Another app we have been promoting as a great benefit to those who have the bad habit of losing receipts, is Hubdoc.  Hubdoc is an app you can download on your phone and take photos of your receipts, feeding them directly into your accounting software.  Hubdoc is not the only product out there so speak with your accountant for the most appropriate solution for your business, but if you are using Xero, you will have Hubdoc as part of your subscription.

It is simple to use, particularly for your Tradie.  It is great way to break that habit of throwing receipts into the centre console of the car, or on the floor where they fade and are lost forever.  Now is a great time to start a new habit of taking those photos.  So how do you remember to do that?

Most habits are motivated by some sort of trigger.  Here is my suggestion on how to get into the habit of taking a photo of your receipts.  When you are at the shop, or the service station and the cashier asks if you would like a copy of your receipt, ask if you can take a photo instead. Use the question as your trigger.  Before long it will become second nature to opt in for a photo.  You will have a permanent copy of your receipt attached to the associated expense without the need to keep paper files.

As an alternative to taking a photo at the checkout, dedicate a time each day to take a snap of your receipts, but link it to something else you do everyday.  It may be when you watch the news, or as you crack open that first beer in the evening. Grab your phone and take a few pictures while you are watching the advertisements. Why not also take that time to reconcile your transactions in your accounting product?  A few minutes each day and everything will be done. The wonders of technology.

Associating a task with something that is already a habit makes it so much easier to introduce that as a new habit.  We all have habits that are good and bad, but lets take advantage of this fresh start to bring new technology and new good habits into our business lives.