I Tried Using a Bullet Journal and This Is What Happened
I have to admit — I was SO confused when trying to grapple with how a bullet journal works. I looked at various tutorials, Pinterest-worthy photos and a seemingly endless stream of YouTube videos. I really, realllllly tried to focus on the whats, the whys and the wheres. But all the while, I was wearing a WTF look on my face (and it should be noted, that this is not my usual look).
Even with the initial confusion, I was willing to give it a go because I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient, to work smarter and to be more focused on making those dreams of mine come true. This whole bullet journal seemed to be worth the brain pain.
The first thing I learned is that there were things that I needed. Hello, shopping! First and foremost was a journal, one that’s sturdy and a size that’s easy for me to bring into the wild (I went with Classic Moleskin). Then I needed some pens — pens that I love, pens that make me happy when I write with them (hello UniBall Deluxe… I love you). I threw in a ruler and Washi tape after getting major inspo from the bullet journal masters on Pinterest.
The second thing I learned? My penmanship sucks. (I think it’s time to sign up for Brit + Co’s Calligraphy 101 course!) I just had to remember that the bullet journal is an uber-personal thang, and it isn’t for public consumption. Although I’d pretty it up with fancy tapes and cute labels, the gist of it is purely utilitarian. But in the end, the prettier I made my journal, the more likely I’d open it up.
I spent more time than I should have setting up my journal (there went a chunk of being-efficient time). In mapping it out, there were some basics that I made sure to add per Ryder Carroll, the inventor of the bullet journal. They included the Index, Future Log, Monthly Log and Daily Log. I then threw in a few of optional goodies such as a TBR (To Be Read) page (with little sketches of the spines of books, natch), Spending (or, where the hell does all my money go), Project (Fun), Projects (Home, aka not as fun) and Ideas. I opted to sprinkle those extra sections throughout the book using paper tabs so they’re easy to reference.
Since I’m crazy busy (but really, who isn’t these days), the big one for me was the Daily Tasks. On Day 1, I wrote an assortment of stuff that needed to be done RN, from pulling together a list of story pitches to filling out a jury duty questionnaire to paying the cable bill (and seriously questioning why it’s so spendy). I love that you’re supposed to do a thing called “rapid logging” and not get too immersed in the deets (“pay cable” rather than “pay that enormous cable bill or else you’ll have no Game of Thrones tomorrow”).
The thing that had me stumped for a while was the whole “bullet” part of it. Then a light bulb went off. You’re just putting a dot, and as you do things, you change the dot to an “X” (for completed tasks), or an arrow for migrating a task or a task that has been scheduled. It’s all based on the dot. Bullet = bullet point = dot. Duh! While it was all fine and dandy, I *totally* missed the satisfaction of crossing off an entire task when I was done, I had to show major restraint to merely turn the little dot to an “X.”
As the days of embracing the bullet journal ticked by, there were a few things I noticed. I was actually excited to fill up my Daily Log each morning with my coffee in hand. It allowed me to purge all the things that I needed to tackle on a given day. If they don’t happen on that day, I just move them to the next.
The other aspect that I adored was having a home for all of the other things on my mind, from my next embroidery idea to how much I spent at Peet’s that afternoon. The journal held me accountable for not just my spending, but for holding on to those random ideas that pop up throughout the day (ideas that would have otherwise gotten lost in my brain or on a tiny slip of paper). One of the best things, for me at least, was the tactile nature of it all. I love that it’s offline and something made of paper and ink (and cute Washi tape, of course). Has it improved my life in any significant ways? Not yet, but I think if I continue on, it will.
“Continue with the bullet journal.” Yep, adding that to my task list.
Have you tried bullet journaling? Tell us what you think @BritandCo!
(Featured photo via Getty)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com