The Expense Report Blues

We all have those little things in our job that we absolutely abhor!!! You know what I’m talking about – those random tasks that truly bring out the absolute worst in us and remind us how flawed we really are. These aren’t big, scary things. Just those teeny, administrative, organizational hiccups that just seem like impossible obstacles to attack. I tend to avoid, avoid, avoid, which is highly ironic because I’m a doer-by-default.

For me, one of those horrible tasks that I put off, and put off, and put off, until my husband AND our company CFO are breathing down my neck is EXPENSE REPORTS. I just don’t have it in me to stay organized in the way that works well for my company’s expense reporting system.

Saving receipts never works out well for me. Remembering random Starbucks charges in Timbuktu (or technically rural Minnesota or Indiana when they are within 20 miles) never works. I can remember to complete 30 different things for work, school volunteering, and writing this blog, BUT connecting the dots on when I last paid my corporate card tends to fall onto my husband’s shoulders with embarrassing frequency.  It’s a good thing that I fell in love with and married an accountant all those years ago. High-five to my teen-age self!!!

So, what happens when you procrastinate and forget to submit your expenses for two full months?

Well, in my typical bi-monthly trend, I wake up at 5am and start printing receipts from my corporate card statement. Literally, I wake up at 5am because I start to stress over how long it has been since I have been reimbursed.  Then, I calmly start taping (YES, I SAID TAPING) loose receipts on a piece of paper to track and send to my Boston office.

After a good three hours of time “organizing,” I realize that I’ve forgotten at least half of my expenses and convince myself that I won’t tell my husband. Remember, you NEVER tell an accountant that you can’t remember every line item in a spreadsheet… This means that I will ultimately not be reimbursed for some of my expenses, but on the bright side, I have minimal commuting expenses since I work at home, so it sort of evens out, right?

So today, around noon, I will submit my expenses for October, November and December, which include 5 business trips! Woo hoo!  That’s an accomplishment.

Please tell me I’m not alone! What is your work-place procrastination?



How Long Can 1st Grade Homework Take…Really?

Homework picture

After a solid month under our belts of  back-to-school, the homework process has started to solidify.  By solidify, I don’t actually mean get structured, organized, better, etc. I mean my kids have very solidly come to decide that they HATE homework 90% of the time.

Note, I am not a teacher. I am also the ridiculous nerd that loved school and homework all through K-12. College was a different story, but I blame that on the misconception that I wanted to be a Chemical Engineer. I look at their homework, know that they can do it, and struggle to understand why something that they can complete in 10 to 15 minutes (literally, the teacher said 10 minutes) takes over 90 minutes.  I found a clock online that illustrates my kids’ opinion of homework all the time!

My kids are smart kids. They can do the work sent home. We’ve dealt with mild developmental delays for years with both kids – speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc. I want to emphasize that I understand when my kids are struggling and when they are procrastinating. When they are struggling, we help! When they are procrastinating, the ownership falls on them – even if they are 6 and 8. We do scheduled homework time. The kids get it done – groaning and moaning the whole time.  I check-in, but let them own the work the way their teachers do. We have even added it as a “chore” on their chore board.  I just wish it were easier…for all of us!

Ironically, I have come to appreciate the ingenuity with which they procrastinate. I truly believe that creativity will serve them later in life.

Thought I’d share our Top 15 Ways to Secretly Make Homework Last Longer…

  1. I Gotta Go To the Bathroom (assume 10 random trips to said bathroom in one hour between two children)
  2. I am STARVING (after multiple bowls of Veggie Straws or Goldfish)
  3. My Shirt Itches Me, I Have to Change (three changes of clothes later…)
  4. The Cat Scratched My Homework (what??? seriously??? you were petting the cat ON the table)
  5. My Pencil Broke
  6. My Eraser Broke
  7. My Paper Broke
  8. Gemma/Payton Is Bothering Me
  9. The Teacher Said I Don’t Need to Put My Name On It / Draw The Math Boxes / Do That 1 Problem I Skipped
  10. It’s Hot/Cold/Wet…. Inside
  11. I Read My Book….Anywhere You Didn’t See Me
  12. I Don’t Know When It is Due
  13. Everyone Else Is Playing
  14. The Cat/Dog is Staring at Me

How about you? Any good procrastination stories? I am assuming I’m not alone.