Skip to main content

Samantha Luo

SFU Co-op Student
Beedie School of Business › Accounting

empty
Author
Always keep in mind that “the time is now.” Put procrastination into your past and you will feel happier and more accomplished at the end of the day.

How many times have we started a project with a lot of exciting ideas, burning enthusiasm, and high hopes, only to later find it scrapped and buried in the bin? It’s a great feeling to harness such energy in the beginning, but it’s sad how easy it is to lose it after the first few weeks or months. Students often have to work independently or without close supervision.  There is a heavy emphasis on taking initiative and being responsible for your work with minimal instructions during your Co - op work term(s)

Company Background

Olson & Company is a small accounting firm based in New Westminster that provides accounting services to clients throughout the Lower Mainland. Services provided include auditing, business advising, bookkeeping, data processing, payroll, and both personal and corporate tax returns. Many of its clients are in BC’s film industry, which makes the clients’ files very interesting to work with.

Mr. Olson is the owner of the firm and his family members also come into the office to help out from time to time. Thus, the working environment is pleasant and family-oriented.

Getting Things Done

Most of the work that I did as Accounting Assistants revolved around corporate tax returns (T2) and personal returns (T1). I was responsible for preparing the analyses, working trial balances and working papers that would effectively summarize a company’s entire activity for one fiscal year. I also needed to perform a lot of data entry as I entered in the company’s bank statements, credit card statements, receipts and invoices, revenue timesheets, and bills into the Excel spreadsheet. Although it seems like a very tedious task, the analysis of these numbers will allow us to determine how much the company earned over the year and how much it must pay to the government in taxes.

Learning on your own and taking the initiative to ask questions would be challenging for some students. There was much less supervision and direction than a university classroom as there were no real assignments, deadlines, or exams. The following are just a few tips that have worked for me. They may not all apply or work for your job, but my hope is that you find at least one of them to help you stay motivated at work.

  1. Make a list: Your mind will be more settled if you write down your assignments. Take a few minutes each day to write down everything you need to accomplish. This will free your mind from continuously thinking about the 'what' and move on to the doing.

  2. Break things down: When you have a large project to complete, feeling overwhelmed is understandable. Sometimes, a big company file can take a whole week to complete, but it is essential to get past feeling overwhelmed and regain your inspiration. Look at your work list for the day, and break it down into manageable pieces. Then, focus on how to motivate yourself to take the first step. When you've completed the first step, then focus on the next step and so on. You can apply the process of breaking a large job into smaller parts to just about any project.

  3. Set short-term goals: Setting goals and scheduling them gives you a simple task list for your project. You can assign a task or two for each day that you work on the project, and feel comfortable working toward a visible goal. This way you can also work more effectively and without procrastinating, because you already know beforehand what you are supposed to complete each day.

  4. Take frequent breaks: If you find yourself going in circles and getting nowhere, get up and take a walk or fix a cup of tea. Whatever you do, walk away from your work for a few minutes. The work will still be there when you come back. And, renewed inspiration may be your reward for taking a short break. As with parenting a child, bringing a project to fruition is sometimes both challenging and frustrating. When you are frustrated, you are not productive. Invoke the magic of a few quiet moments to collect your thoughts and stretch your muscles. Your work will improve as a result.

  5. Reward your efforts: Even if you had a difficult day staying focused and motivated, reward yourself with something at the end of the day. Just marking something off your to-do list with a fat red marker may be enough to inspire you to get up the next morning and start all over again. With no one to check on your progress, it is up to you to provide your own inspiration. No one can motivate you except yourself.

Always keep in mind that “the time is now.” Put procrastination into your past and you will feel happier and more accomplished at the end of the day, instead of stressed out or regretful. When you are motivated, life is more fulfilling. I hope these self motivation tips help you become more inspired and enjoy work every day.

About the Author

Samantha Luo

SFU Co-op Student
Beedie School of Business › Accounting
Jien Hilario photo
What’s in a Name? Coming to Terms With Labelling Myself as a Person With a Disability

If you were to see Jien on campus, you wouldn’t know that she had a disability. She does not use a wheelchair nor does she have a seeing eye dog. She has an invisible disability. In this article, Jien shares her journey on how she came to terms with labeling herself as a person with a disability. 

Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere
Why Doesn’t Canada Have a Disabilities Act?

It is 2018 and Canada has not yet implemented adequate protection and legislation for people with disabilities. When it comes to equality for all, Canada is falling far behind. In this article, Jien discusses the research and reality of why Canada needs a Disabilities Act.

We Can Do It!
How to Satisfy Your Inner Activist

When people think about social justice, they think of things like protests or hunger strikes, but the options don’t end there. These volunteer organizations can help you satisfy your inner activist.

You Might Like These... Volunteering, Community Engagement, Professional Development, Personal Development, Life Balance

STC West Coast
Alumnus Profile: How Crystal Kwon Advanced Her Career Through Volunteerism

Students often overlook one important benefit of volunteerism. While students realize that scholarships and bursaries usually require community engagement, they often forget that volunteerism can also give you the edge you need after you finish your degree.

Picture of the medicine wheel
Career Wellness | Part One

How do you make your career a part of your overall wellness? How do you know when this aspect of your life is out of balance, and what can you do to even things out? How do you define career wellnes?  Dave shares his thoughts on career wellness and balance in a two part series.

A woman fast asleep
Sleeping for Success at Work!

The days of pulling all nighters and getting by on 2-3 hours sleep are over! Getting enough sleep is essential to ensure you can keep up with the demands of a fulltime work schedule and put forth your best performance.

You Might Like These... Career Exploration

Team Success
Working on a Team: Five Keys to Success

You’ve got to that new stage in your life as a new employee. But as a new hire, you may feel somewhat out of place on what may be an established team. So, read on to find out five ways to successfully blend in.

Image of an art workshop. It is a big room with wooden pillars and roof beams. There is a wooden ladder in the room. Some tables and chairs and some paintings on the walls.
A Discussion/Disclosure Regarding Professional Development in the Arts

Professional development in contemporary arts, in a post-secondary setting, is problematic. What is the responsibility of the university? What does professional development for artists look like? Kevin answers these questions and more.

Person in deep thoughts
So You Can’t Do It All. That’s Okay.

There are lots of people that will tell you about all the things you should or could be doing, and why doing these things will benefit you. But sometimes you can’t, you really can’t, do it all. And Lauren is here here to tell you that that’s okay too.