The Most Overlooked Part of Planning for the New Year
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It’s almost 2019! While most of us are deep into the hustle and bustle of the holiday celebrations to wrap up 2018, it’s important to take a minute to start actually planning for the new year.
No, this isn’t about how to make your new year’s resolutions, or how to set SMART goals for the new year.
I’m talking about taking an hour or two sometime in the next week to set yourself up for success by getting organized.
By creating systems for quickly and correctly filing important documents, you will effectively eliminate time wasted searching for things later. I have found this is helpful when it comes to tax season, especially for those of us who are entrepreneurs (full or part-time).
Things you need to do before the new year:
Make sure all your important documents are in one place.
Take a minute to gather everyone’s birth certificates, social security cards, titles to your cars, deed to your house, marriage certificate, and/or any other important certificates or documents and put them all together. This eliminates so much time looking for these things. For an extra layer of safety, keep them tucked away in a fire-proof safe.
Prepare For Your Taxes
In my house, paper = clutter. And I hate clutter. I realized a few years ago that paper piles give me anxiety and I do my best to not leave piles around.
And also, I have to be organized so that my toddler doesn’t eat my W-2. Like last year.
So, part of being an adult is preparing all your tax documents together so your tax experience flows as smoothly as possible.
No, this doesn’t mean you need to open up TurboTax and start filling things in all the time (though if that’s your jam, you do you). I like to keep an accordion file going throughout the year, and fill each section with the appropriate receipts or mail.
Sections I use:
- employee documents (w-2, 1099, etc)
- charity donations
- car and home
- medical expenses
- business expenses
- business income
- education expenses
So when I sit down (in April, let’s be honest) to do my taxes, all my documents are all together and organized. Even if you don’t do your own taxes, your accountant will surely thank you to have all your documents prepared and separated.
I love planners. I’m a planner addict. It’s a struggle to not buy 5 and try to find uses for all of them in the same year.
You will be much better at this whole adulting thing if you are organized and prepared. Get whatever planner floats your aquatic vehicle and take a minute to prepare it for your year.
A few things to fill in immediately:
- any pre-scheduled doctor/dentist/optometrist/spa appointments
- family birthdays and other important family dates
- Any important work days (conferences, trainings, anything outside your normal schedule)
- Any important school days for your kids (field trips, performances, etc)
This will give you a good start to organizing your life, as you won’t be going through the month, hoping you haven’t missed something.
I’ve written several blog posts about the importance of setting up routines to help you put the everyday tasks on auto-pilot to free up space in your life for things you truly want to do. My evening, morning, and GYST day routines created enough space in my own life to allow me to write a book, take courses to learn how to blog most effectively, and even start batch-working on the blog, all while spending more time just hanging out with my family and making them healthy meals.
If you want to get anything “extra” or new accomplished in the new year, you absolutely need to develop and implement routines in your life. Take a minute to write out just a few things you can do each morning and evening that would make your day flow smoother. Post them places around the house to keep you on track and remind you to do those things.
Basic Tool Kit
If you have tools, take a few minutes to make sure they are organized properly and together. I can’t think of much worse than if you have a mini crisis and need your tools but can’t find the proper one in all the jumble.
I grew up thinking I was just “not handy” and never really decided to learn about it until we bought our RV last year and I had to basically teach myself a crash course in how everything worked. It was there I discovered an appreciation for tools and the amazingness that is YouTube tutorials.
Don’t miss my recent blog post about toolkit essentials!
Home Management Binder
If you don’t have one, you need one. A home management binder will house everything important – phone numbers, passwords, warranty information for your appliances, and whatever else you want it to. Find a binder, some paper, and a hole punch and make sure that all these random tidbits of information are actually gathered in one place.
Basic Cleaning Supplies
Alright, so by now you should have your paperwork all neatly organized, time to get started on your freshly non-toxic cleaning supply kit!
You probably have almost (if not all) ingredients already in your kitchen cabinets.
If you have been looking for a magical time to become available so you can make your homemade products….it’s now. Be sure to check out my list of simple DIY cleaning recipes for ideas.
This wouldn’t be a proper “planning for the new year” post if I didn’t talk about personal development. 2018 was the year I became absolutely obsessed with personal development and the thrill of achieving goals (and then promptly setting new ones).
Honestly, I have never enjoyed a year more. By all accounts, several things that happened to our little family would have thrown off my groove, caused stress, and ruined any of the amazing things we accomplished.
Instead…I just laughed. At everything.
I even filmed a YouTube video about how our transmission went out and I couldn’t stop laughing.
I don’t think I’ve ever had so much joy in a year as I have with my little family this year. Through my personal development journey, I have been able to understand myself in a much deeper way, and use that insight to positively impact my family and the decisions I make that influence and raise us higher.
If you are new to the personal development world, don’t be overwhelmed! There is something for everyone, in whatever medium works the best for you.
I just love the library system. So many new books, available for me to bring home and enjoy? Plus, if your library doesn’t have the particular book you’re looking for, you can always request that your library purchase it or they can always order it through interlibrary loan.
Like a library in your ears, you can use Audible credits to have access to countless audiobooks you can listen to anywhere.