Chip Is Alive!, Issue 14

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Welcome to Issue 14 of Chip Is Alive!, where we examine thought-provoking life strategies and issues which may or may not be of interest to you. Chip Is Alive! is inspired by Chip Vivant, the app who thinks he's alive and wants to be your friend and help you in ways that other productivity apps can't. You can meet Chip at

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In this issue, we'll discuss:

  • creating procedures and systems for recurring tasks
  • using Chip's notifications as one-time reminders

Enjoy. Feedback always welcome. If you enjoy this newsletter, please consider Liking the EmpathyNow Facebook page and following us on Twitter. Every little bit helps.

Here We Go Again....

This week, I'm going to be reflecting on my ongoing failure to systematize recurring tasks and contrast that to the approach used by people more successful than I am.

I own two businesses: one is my S Corporation which I use for my software consulting work. I also funnel my app revenue (Apple App Store, EmpathyNow, to the business checking account of this S Corporation. I'm the part owner of another LLC called MODA Interactive LLC which sold PandaTunes and PandaRemote: software products which allowed you to remote control Pandora, with other music providers planned. (Pandora got annoyed at us and sent us a cease-and-desist notice, so we had to pull these even though we didn't agree with Pandora's assessment of the situation. We're currently planning our next move.)

But I digress. The point is: there are certain accounting tasks that need to be done at the end of each pay period, quarter and year. I've written a small program do compute payroll withholding and I personally file my own 941, 940, and state-related reports each quarter.

On the personal finance side, we enter our store receipts in Quicken and reconcile our bank statements and credit card statements.

My wife Wanda is pretty smart and studied math in college. She can easily reconcile the bank and credit card statements, but has recently started refusing to do so because she complains that I never keep my end of the bargain: entering purchases in Quicken as I make them online.

Contrast this to the CEO of the company I just visited this week, who says he doesn't even pump his own gas anymore so his time can be freed for the important tasks to running the company. There's a pretty big divide between where I am and where he is.

Now I don't make as much as the CEO of that company, so I can't justify simply throwing money at an accountant and having him or her deal with my payroll, do my quarterly and yearly reports, etc. (Well, I probably could, but I would find this a waste because my wife totally has the aptitude to file these reports.) The problem is, learning to file these reports takes time and knowledge of my incoming erratic cashflows in order to know how much and when to pay myself.

The company I visited makes elaborate training manuals and courses to bring their employees rapidly up to speed. There's a twofold cost with this: the cost of creating these training materials as well as the cost of the time of the employees participating in these classes who aren't doing productive work. Many companies the size of this one wouldn't have the foresight to make such a deliberate and planned investment in this training, and the payoff is spectacular.

Having witnessed this, I wistfully thought of how much time I could have saved all these years if I had approached the task of training my wife to do this payroll stuff with the same diligence as this company approaches its training. This applies to other areas of our finances as well. If I got hit by a bus tomorrow, my wife would have no idea what our different financial accounts are, let alone where they are.

Chip's Tips: Not Your Grandma's Online Reminder System

Chip's Empathetic Messages can be used as simple reminders for non-empathetic stuff as well (Dentist Appointment, Buy Groceries). You can opt to express these as a one-time message rather than a to-do if you don't need Chip to pester you until the task is completed. The twist is that with these notifications, you can talk back to Chip when he sends you them!

Juggling Update

Juggling has again been stalled for this week due to my travels. I'm back home yet again and am hoping to be juggling by New Year's.

If you enjoy this newsletter, please consider Liking the EmpathyNow Facebook page and following us on Twitter. Every little bit helps.

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