Wednesday, August 28, 2019

20 Before 2020

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We're 4 months away from 2020, don't panic.  Still though - I don't know about you, but these particular months fly by for me because there's always so many things happening with the holidays.  Although I have various goals lists going all the time, I like to take stock before the fall season starts so I can outline my plans and make sure I don't forget to do anything important.  A lot of things are related to year end (particularly in terms of finances), and I would hate to miss any deadlines.  I also really enjoy starting a new year on a fresh note, without any of the to-dos still lingering from the previous year.  If you feel the same, here are twenty ideas for things to get done before 2020 arrives:

  1. Book holiday travel.  The earlier you start making your plans, the better.  There's a lot less stress involved in planning ahead than in trying to do everything last minute.  It's also better financially, because you can take advantage of early-bird deals, or at least be prepared to pounce when you see flight prices decrease.
  2. Use up vacation days.  If you have a lot of days left and you can't roll them over, make sure you use them up.  You earned them, and it's a great time to take a few days here and there to yourself, even if you don't leave the house.
  3. Manage your end of year budget.  It's much easier to stick to your budget early in the year.  Holidays tend to encourage overspending and your budget can easily get away from you.  Stay on top of it.  If you do end up spending more than you anticipated, you can cut back in other areas as long as you're aware of what's happening.  It can also help you plan and save better next year.
  4. Back up photos and important computer files.  Always one of those tasks that gets forgotten about most of the time.  But if you do it regularly, it won't be such a big, daunting task.  Do yourself a favor and take the time now to delete anything that's not important.  No sense in wasting time backing up things you don't even need.
  5. Book (and go to!) any lingering doctor's appointments.  Annual wellness checkups are covered by insurance, so if you haven't had yours yet, get it done before the end of the year.  You paid for it anyway!  Preventative care is super important, so make sure you're getting to the dentist, eye doctor, and anyone else you need to see regularly too.
  6. Make a meal for someone who is too busy.  You have someone in your life that's busy right now and will be totally overwhelmed during the holiday season (last year it was John's mom before his grandpa passed away.)  Find a meal that you love and double the ingredients, so you can take it to them.  You'll feel good about it, trust me, and they won't have to order pizza every night.
  7. Say no to something.  If you're the one that's too busy, find something to say no to.  For your own sanity.  You don't have to accept every invitation, you don't need to make 12 kinds of cookies when 2 will do, you don't have to host every holiday in your home without any assistance.  Say no to something.
  8. Check all alarms and detectors.  Also a task that should be done regularly, but is particularly important before the cold weather sets in and you're using all kinds of things that could start fires (think furnace, fireplace, oven, candles, holiday lights.)  Make sure you have your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in place and that all batteries work.
  9. Check all other safety and emergency items.  While you're at it, make sure you have fire extinguishers that aren't expired, that windows can be unlocked and opened, that there are ladders for 2nd floor bedrooms, etc.  Tips from John to you.  I would also add that this would be a good time to check stockpiles of any safety or emergency items that you have, like flashlights, water, car emergency kits, etc.
  10. Go outside.  Pretty much everyone in the northern hemisphere is vitamin D deficient, which only gets worse during the fall and winter months.  Supplements help but they aren't the same as getting 15 minutes of sunlight a day.  Make the effort to get outside.
  11. Declutter.  You had to know this would make the list.  Stuff always comes in at holiday time.  So declutter now to make room.
  12. Create a stock up list.  It's such a pain in the butt to realize you're almost out of toilet paper right before company is expected to arrive.  Take the time now to walk around your house and make a list of the products you regularly rotate through, like toilet paper, kleenex, paper towels, hand soap, etc.  Note whatever is running low, so you can stock up when you see it on sale soon, before the craziness of the holiday season hits.
  13. Finish small home projects.  You just won't have time during the holidays, so get all the nagging little home projects done now.  Especially anything you want to have done before someone stays the night, like installing bathroom shelving or fixing the door lock in the guest room.
  14. Drop off donations.  It's easy to let the box of donations sit in the corner, waiting for the time when you'll finally drop them off.  But your donations could make someone else's Christmas, so get them out of your house in time for them to be useful to someone else.
  15. Clear out inboxes.  I try to do this as often as possible, because I hate having a cluttered inbox.  It just reflects my cluttered mind.  But I especially dislike starting a new year with old baggage, so try to take time each day or week to clear things out and unsubscribe so new stuff doesn't make it's way in.
  16. Gather and sort financial documents.  If you haven't been keeping up with these throughout the year, it would be helpful to start gathering the things you'll need for tax time.  If you wait until January, you'll just have that many more months worth of mess added to the pile.
  17. Max out all retirement funding.  While you're gathering those documents, check them to make sure you're maxing out all your retirement funding like 401ks and Roth IRAs.  If you can't figure it out, meet with an accountant who can tell you any changes you need to make so you can get the most out of your money before the year ends.
  18. Schedule in self care.  People seem to think that it's selfless to ignore self care and only focus on others, but that just isn't true.  If you ignore your own care (getting enough sleep, water, good food, exercise, and fun/relaxing time) and are only functioning at 40% of your best self, that's all you have available to give to others - no more than 40%.  Take care of yourself so you're functioning at 100% and you can take better care of everyone around you too.
  19. Track what you eat and drink.  It's tough to totally ban certain items at this time of year, no matter how unhealthy they are.  So the best way to fight the trend of gaining 10 lbs before the new year is just to diligently track what you eat and drink.  Simply writing everything down (or using an app) will help you be more aware and make better choices.
  20. Brainstorm a plan and goals for 2020.  Now is actually a great time to start thinking about new goals, starting with documenting what didn't work for the last 8 months and why.  I love starting new goals on January 1, but that doesn't mean I wait until that day to make them.  I have to plan out things ahead of time so I can go into January with a game plan, rather than just do the same things I always do and get the same results.

What do you need or want to accomplish before the end of the year?

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