Welcome to this wrap-up of our March Organized365 tips and ideas. We are one quarter of the way through 2018!
Tax Time Tip!
Compiling documents for your accountant can be a challenge. If you are not sure what records they need to accurately prepare your tax return, please do ask them.
Our accountant, Mary J. Himsel-DeGroot, CPA, offers this additional advice.
"Sort and total your receipts as you prepare your papers. Group receipts by type, for example, pulling all receipts for charitable donations together and totaling them or collecting receipts for moving expenses together and totaling them."
This step on the front-end will save your tax preparer time and improve the accuracy of your tax return. Organized records benefits you whether you file yourself or use a professional!
Routines and reputation both rely on being where you said you would be, when you said you would be. Consistently late arrivals appear as lack of caring and consideration. Friends, family and colleagues want to know that they can count on you.
If you struggle with being late for appointments and meetings and/or missed deadlines, stop and consider the cause. Do you lose track of time? Are you trying to squeeze in extra errands? Have you said 'yes' but wish you had said 'no'?
Figuring this out will require being brutally honest with yourself. Once you identify the cause of the problem, you can begin to address it.
Cleaning out debris, it's not just for gardens.
In much the same way that leaves, branches, and weeds accumulate in your flower beds and gardens, debris can accumulate in your home, basement, and garage. Cleaning out unneeded, unloved, and forgotten items is an important part of spring cleaning. The results can be as refreshing and renewing as having newly raked flower beds ready for planting.
Have a travel routine that ends strong. Whether a quick weekend getaway, travel for work, or a 'real' vacation; how you arrive back home will have a serious impact on how the next few days unfold. Avoid digging for necessary toiletries or work outfits by unpacking as soon as you set foot in your door.
If the timing of your arrival means that making dinner or running errands takes precedence, place your unpacked luggage on your bed. The strategic place will significantly increase the chance that unpacking will happen prior to bedtime and you will wake up to start the day feeling organized.
Avoid the Paper Chase
Tax season and spring cleaning offer great motivation to make sure your 'papers' are in order. Are vital hard copy documents (birth & marriage certificates and titles to homes & cars) in a secure location?
Can you readily access the financial papers you need for tax returns, flexible spending accounts and insurance claims?
Consider the appropriate storage for your important papers and have procedures in place for maintenance and easy retrieval.
Take Spring Break's Temp
Obsessively checking the temperature in your destination location, not only builds excitement for your upcoming vacation but allows you to make plans appropriate to the weather conditions.
The clothes you pack and the activities you plan are impacted by the weather legitimizing your constant referencing of your weather app.
Meetings Not Monologues
Sharing should be the primary purpose of any meeting. If you are running a meeting for the sole purpose of sharing information without seeking input or feedback, you could send an email, you don't need a meeting.
Legit meetings require give and take among those present. No monologues, not from the facilitator, not from attendees. As the leader of a meeting, not only should you not engage in a monologue, it is your responsibility to redirect anyone else's monologue. Redirect, interrupt, get back on track!
Fashion Foot Forward
Lay out the clothes you plan to wear tomorrow before heading to bed. Moving through the contents of your closet is both relaxing and productive. It gets you away from those insomnia producing screens and sets you up to hit the ground running the next morning.
Halt the Laundry Dig
Pawing through a pile of not quite dirty clothes in search of something wearable is a stressful way to start your day. Planning what you will wear in advance gives you time to toss an item in the wash and have it ready to wear the next morning. You will feel fresh and ready to face the day.
Advanced Outfit Prep
Take your pre-bedtime preparation a step farther and plan the jewelry & purse or tote you will pair with your next day's outfit. Thinking ahead on these details will allow you to switch out contents on purses/totes as necessary, putting you on an swift path out the door.
Spring Break Shopping
Vacation destinations provide great opportunities to purchase unique gifts for giving throughout the year. Gathering clothing sizes for the children of friends and family in advance, allows you to make spur of the moment decisions on gifts for birthdays and holidays. Keep an eye out for that perfect, funky, eclectic find for the friend who has everything.
Spring Break: Packing Loot
Packing considerations include weather and activities at your destination, of course, but don't forget to anticipate souvenirs you will purchase while away. If you are traveling by car this is a less urgent concern but when traveling by air, planning for space and keeping airline and TSA regulations in mind is crucial.
Anticipate the Predictable
Have you ever arrived for a weekly meeting unprepared? Missed a loved one's birthday? Are you currently wishing that you had organized your financial papers as they arrived to ease tax preparation?
These occasions are predictable. The birthday is going to come on the same day next year. The weekly meeting will take place again next week. And, as one of the 2 most predictable occurrences in our lives, April 15th will mean you need to pay taxes again next year.
Act while your remorse is high. Schedule in an hour to prep for next week's meeting, put that birthday on your work AND your personal calendar and implement a filing system to help you collect the records you need to promptly complete your tax return.
These situations are a lot like playing Dodgeball, if you keep standing still you are going to get hit.
Spring Break: Packing Essentials
It is easy to overlook or under pack critical items (socks!) when gathering items for a long-ish vacation. While it may make sense to pull clothing items together by type (ie: shoes, then toiletries, etc.) another route may help you make sure you have it all.
Pack by day and gather items chronologically.
This spring break, I have a late flight and will be going to bed immediately, so pjs. In the morning I will want clean undies, shorts, t-shirt....you get the idea. Work though your entire trip using this method, then pull all your shoes together, group socks, jeans, etc. and actually pack.
Toiletries are easy to pack if you put your toiletry bag on your bathroom counter and after you use each item the morning of departure or the evening prior place them directly into the bag. As you leave your bathroom the final time, zip, grab, and pack.
Spring Break: While You Are Gone
Call in favors from friends, family, and neighbors to make sure plants, pets, mail, newspaper, etc. will be cared for in your absence. Agree upon payment for these services or purchase thank you gifts while traveling.
Self Care at Work
One of the easiest ways you can ensure your comfort at work is to have some personal care supplies handy. Suggested items include: cough drops, gum, an emery board, OTC pain reliever, dental floss, mints, bandaids.....
What's in your desk?
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!
Save time and spare yourself frustration by only adding green food coloring to edible items. Beer and cupcakes = YES, DIY crafts = NO.
And a good time was had by all!!
Schedule a Retreat Day (or hour)
Retreat Days are great for making time to focus on a project, to develop a long-range plan, sift through odds and ends or whatever is most needed. Select a specific focus. This is not the time to multi-task.
Decide when, where and for how long. Gather the resources and tools you need. It is amazing the clarity that setting aside this time can bring.
Wipe Down that Fridge
Freshen up your fridge with a quick clean out. Toss old leftovers, reorganize containers, and wipe up spills.
Make a daily or weekly wipe down a habit to prevent unfortunate discoveries later.
Keeping your fridge clean and organized also helps you use food before it spoils increasing your return on grocery expenses.
Final tip, don't forget to wipe in the crevices of the rubber door seal. Gunk loves to hide there!