virtual reality mask

Put your own oxygen mask on first

2020 has brought tremendous change and uncertainty on individuals and organisations

For many, this uncertainty can create significant stress and over time can have a serious impact on deep thinking and productivity.

Business leaders have a role to play in ensuring their teams feel supported during periods of ongoing change.

Research shows our mindset contributes greatly to our ability to reduce the impact of our limbic system response. For leaders that mindset can keep our teams in the adaptive ‘sweet spot’ neither under nor overreacting to an evolving situation. This sweet spot is a belief in eventual success, combined with a deep acceptance of the harsh current reality.

“It may feel self-evident to look after our own wellbeing but in times of disruption, the day-to-day things we know we should be doing often fall by the wayside.”

As leaders we need to keep this in mind and help create clarity in our teams to remind them of our shared goals and the journey to get there.

A few habits can make the biggest difference in managing threat levels – taking care of ourselves as leaders, looking after others and delivering on what matters.

Another key aspect is the ‘Knowing – Doing Gap’. It may feel self-evident to look after our own wellbeing but in times of disruption, the day-to-day things we know we should be doing often fall by the wayside. It’s important to intentionally create the space for yourself and your teams and look for opportunities to demonstrate what we know we should do.

What drives you?

Our brains are constantly scanning the environment for anything that might harm us. In fact, there’s significantly more neural ‘real estate’ in the brain dedicated to detecting threat than rewards. It turns out feeling socially threatened or socially rewarded affects the brain in many of the same ways as physical threat or reward.

We can conceptualise this by way of the SCARF model which comes from research into how the brain processes the five different types of social drivers that impact how individuals respond to threat and reward – status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness and fairness. Everyone has a different ‘balance’ of each of the SCARF domains, some are more attuned to detect unfairness while others respond strongly to uncertainty or threats to their relative status in a group.

When we experience too much threat our more automatic, primitive brain systems tend to drive our behaviour. Under conditions of high threat, we may experience a fight-or-flight response and it becomes challenging for our executive functions which are involved in high-level thought processes such as critical thinking and creativity, to work optimally.

Create buffers to manage threat

While we can’t always avoid a threat, there are strategies to help manage when one appears. A buffer can help reduce the level of threat by providing a sense of certainty, autonomy, relatedness or fairness and as a result improve focus, decision-making and deeper thinking.

  • Establish a sense of certainty: creating and maintaining a daily routine can help provide certainty. For example, setting time aside every day to get outside to exercise or do an enjoyable activity such as playing a musical instrument.
  • Find opportunities to make choices: feelings of being out of control can be overwhelming. However these feelings can be more manageable when we find a way to gain some sense of control over them. By focusing on choices within our control, we experience an increased sense of autonomy. For example, try to focus on three key things you really want to achieve each day rather than overloading yourself with an unrealistic set of tasks.
  • Build relatedness: sharing experiences and goals with others through virtual meetings or events can help establish a sense of community.

By adopting buffering strategies leaders are not only helping themselves but they’re also helping their teams gain focus and clarity.

Notch Above Bookkeeping is a team of Platinum Certified Xero bookkeepers and BAS Agents. We help small business owners right across Australia prepare their BAS returns and streamline their bookkeeping processes, payroll and accounting records. Call us to find out how on 1300 015 130 today.

Source: Put your own oxygen mask on first. (2020). Retrieved from

KEM Carpentry & Maintenance logo

Property maintenance business bookkeeping case study

Online bookkeeping well in hand for property maintenance business

Powered by Notch Above’s Peace of Mind bookkeeping package

Any dutiful tradie knows that the last place they want to be is sitting behind a desk! And that goes for Notch Above client and property fixit guru Keith Mulhall at KEM Carpentry and Building Services in Sydney.

When Keith first came to us he was, like many small business owners, invoicing his customers using a Word document.

Keith could never be certain who owed him what and he is the first to admit that using the ‘Word invoicing system’ didn’t lend itself to properly collecting payments, so he often lost track (and hard-earned money). It is a word processing system after all.

On top of that, business expenses may have been missed and therefore underclaimed at tax time due to Keith paying for work costs from separate accounts and not recording each one correctly.

Keith is not unique and the team at Notch Above soon saw the familiar flaws in his set up. Once he bought his bookkeeping across to us, the first thing we did was introduce him to Xero and got him onto a Xero file.

The benefits of doing so were immediate.

Real-time bank feeds could be seen in the business Xero file online so all income and expenses were accounted for.

Keith could raise invoices as each job was done so cash started coming into his business much quicker than the old paper-and-payment way whenever he got around to it.

Keith now reconciles every two or three days so, at any given time, he knows exactly who owes him what.

And, as Keith’s offsite bookkeeping team, Notch Above provides peace of mind with financial support so he can get on with doing his small building repairs and keeping his property management customers happy.

“When I started my business, bookkeeping was my biggest worry,” admits Keith.

“Bookkeeping used to terrify me but now I can focus on my day to day work because Notch Above makes sure that things are correct and they are only a call or email away.”

To maintain your residential or commercial property with professional care and upkeep in Eastern Sydney, call Keith on 0415 442 959 or email him at

To find out more about how Notch Above Bookkeeping can help your trade services business, call us on 1300 015 130 or check out all our bookkeeping packages at

Copyright 2020. @NotchAboveBAS Xero Remote Business Bookkeeping

Federal Audio Brisbane

Online bookkeeping change saves time… and trees

Powered by Notch Above’s Time Saver bookkeeping package

Notch Above Bookkeeping client, Federal Audio, is the Australian distributor for ADAM Audio professional monitors, supplying tools for the discerning audio craftsman.

Based in Brisbane since 2010, they supply studio monitoring solutions, headphones, racks, modules, microphones and cables to many of the industry’s renowned recording studios, audio engineers and producers.

When we first started keeping the books for owner Cris Stevens, he was diligently printing and posting his paperwork to us each quarter which took an inordinate amount of time and wasn’t doing the trees any favours either!

Cris tells his customers that if their audio monitoring is compromised in any way, that information can be unreliable. The same message rings true for business. As Federal Audio runs an online business powered by Shopify, it made sense to consider the online options when it came to the business’ bookkeeping not only to streamline the process but to provide accurate data to assist decision making.

Accordingly, we introduced Cris to ‘cloud bookkeeping’ and helped him to implement an electronic submission method so that, as invoices came in, he could forward those to us and use an app to submit sundry spend receipts as they happened.

Rather than Cris’ bookkeeping being a quarterly affair, it is now processed more regularly, which saves time each quarter plus provides him with real-time reporting if needed for business decision making.

Apart from saving reams of paper, Cris has also experienced the time saving of not having to block his time out each quarter to prepare the paperwork for us.

“I did actually print my paperwork for one final quarter before fully changing over, just to double-check that everything was running smoothly,” Cris admits.

“The team at Notch Above handles any queries we have and I’m very comfortable with the new set up, so I won’t be printing out any hardcopy bookkeeping paperwork anymore.”

Federal Audio believes the choice of monitoring is the most important pro audio decisions you’ll make. Read more or purchase equipment from their website at

To find out more about how Notch Above Bookkeeping can help your professional business, call us on 1300 015 130 or peruse all our bookkeeping service packages at

Copyright 2020. @NotchAboveBAS Taking Your Business a Notch Above with Remote Xero Business Bookkeeping