It was 6th grade. Other girls in our class had started going to parties with boys. But on a Friday night, Lindsey and I just wanted to play with Clarice.
Clarice lived in Lindsey’s basement. She was heavy, but perfect in every other way. She hummed when she was ready. She made the greatest sound under our fingertips. And her drawer operated with rapid precision, as if proudly declaring a finale for each transaction.
Clarice was a cash register. A real electric cash register that Lindsey had wanted for her birthday. We loved the hell out of her.
Playing office with Clarice made everything feel more real. We still used our carbon-copy invoices, but Clarice was different. Clarice was what real businesses used. We felt like pros.
So why is it, 20 years later, sending invoices and doing office-y things feels like a drag?
Simply: it’s just not fun anymore.
I say no more! Let’s reconnect with 6th grade brain–the one that can have a riot of a Friday night playing with a cash register. Some grunt work will always be grunt work, but maybe it can be a bit more tolerable. Here are a couple things to try:
1. Get cool equipment.
To this day, I’m more apt to use something practical if it’s pretty. Get some fancy pens, use the best shopping cart, treat yourself to a nice computer bag for when you’re schleppin’ to a coffee shop. Having neat stuff makes everything more fun.
2. Beautify your shop.
One of the best parts of playing office was setting up the store. If you work from home, you may be the only person who ever sees your “shop.” You deserve a comfortable, beautiful working space. Pick a lush screen saver, have a website you adore looking at, and de-clutter your workspace. Put some art on the walls and get a comfy chair. When you like your workspace, you like your work more.
3. Create systems.
Clarice won’t let you take a payment before you ring something up! If you have tasks that you repeat a lot, like blogging, shipping, or collecting payments, set up step-by-step system for each one. This will simplify the process, you’ll always know where in the process you are, and stuff is less likely to fall between the cracks. Automate where you can.
4. Batch the crappy tasks.
We didn’t play office all day everyday. If there’s a task you really don’t like to do, consider setting aside time each day or week to do all that stuff at once. Put on some music, grab your favorite beverage, and knock those suckers out. No need to pepper the crap throughout your day.
Hot dog, I know what you’ll be doing on Friday night! Really, some things will just never be met with kid-joy again.
But don’t be fooled: having fun is your heritage. In your business, don’t forget where you came from.