Smart Resolutions

by Health, Motivation, Organization

This year I’m going to….

Lose weight!

Read more!

Be more organized!

Does this sound like you?  How’s that workin’ for ya?

January 1 marks a New Year on the calendar and a new start for most people.  I’m not a big New Year’s resolution person because I make resolutions all throughout the year. I don’t think changing my life for the better has to start on January 1 and neither should you.  Regardless, it’s the start of a new year and resolutions like ‘lose weight’, ‘read more’, ‘be more organized’ don’t work because there is no plan.  When making a resolution or a goal you should be asking yourself the following questions:

What is my vision/goal? This should be specific, measurable, achievable (yet challenging) realistic and time-driven.

What are my whines?  What is holding me back?  Why can’t I do this now?

What are my wins?  Who/what supports me?

What is my plan?

Let’s take the third common resolution – ‘be more organized’ and use these steps.

What is my vision? To consistently have less than 10 emails in my inbox by the end of each business day within 30 days.

What are my whines? I am constantly distracted by notifications.  I check my email all the time.  My clients expect me to email back immediately.

What are my wins? I can download an app or use a program that delays email until a specific time.  I can work off-line.  My clients expecting immediate answers is my perceived expectation rather than an actual expectation.

What is my plan? Week One – I will turn off all email notifications on my phone.  Week Two – I will process email once an hour.  Week Three – I will process email every two hours.  Week Four – I will practice the OHIO principle.

Now, this is very general and not customized per a specific person’s problem but I’m sure you get the point.  A goal without a plan is as good as a car without fuel.  You aren’t going to get anywhere and are going to stay stuck in that place no matter how much you wish or pray yourself to move forward.

On January 1 each year I get everything ready for my taxes.  I get a clear plastic envelope ready for my paper tax statements and forms.  I make a folder on my desktop labeled Taxes and start dragging all my year-end statements into it.  I export all my reports that are ready to go and reconcile any outstanding accounts.  Tax prep is never hard or stressful for me because I have a system all year long.  I use YNAB – You Need A Budget software and Shoeboxed for my receipts.  I keep this up all year so it really just comes down to running the reports.  I can categorize all of my receipts and invoices according to the category they fall in to and if they are deductible.

It’s the beginning of the year.  Now’s the time to start new on your financial organization.  Look at your last year and determine how much you spent in each category and determine your budget for this year.  Starting off on the right foot now will save you and your CPA headache later as well as save you money.  The less time your accountant has to spend on your taxes, the less money you will have to pay them.  The less time you have to spend on your taxes, the more time you will have for play!

Don’t get caught in the trap again.  If you need help in creating a strategy complete a Health and Productivity Scorecard and schedule a Strategy Session.  I spent a year completely overhauling my life and continue to have something to work on every month. Don’t do it alone

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Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects