Tuesday, December 15, 2009

10 Things to Do by the End of the Year

Now is a really busy time of year, however there are a bundle of things that you should do now, rather than later...

  1. Back up all of your files. I back up all of my business files at least once a week onto a thumb drive. Some people do this daily, depending on the quantity of work generated or the value should the files disappear into the ethers. Others do this not at all...these are the people having a meltdown at their local computer shop because their hard drive is totally toast and all of their family pictures, work, and important info has been lost forever. Get into the habit of backing up your files on a regular basis so that if your computer should die, you will still have most if not all of your important computer files ready to put on another computer and keep going.

  2. Back up all of your contacts. Whether you use GMail, Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, or any other email program, you need to export your contact information regularly as well. I export my contact list into a .csv file and keep it saved with my backed up files so in case my email server should implode, I will still have this important information.

  3. Get your tax deductions in. If it looks like it will be a big tax year or you are just feeling generous, be sure to get your tax deductible donations and deductions in ASAP, at least by the end of the year.

  4. Change all of your passwords. This is also a good habit to get into on a regular basis and what better way to start off your new year than with a whole set of new passwords?

  5. Dump out the BOB and repack it. I did this a couple of days ago. I generally go through my BOB a few times a year in order to rotate the food, make sure the clothes are appropriate for the season, and refine my gear (I am on a minimalist kick and I want to be able to grab my BOB and RUN not grab my BOB and drag the thing down the street because it weights so much).

  6. Get a calendar. Whether you use an electronic calendar, a huge wall calendar, or a pocket calendar, having something to write important dates in is an excellent way to stay organized. So far my calendar includes standing meetings for 2010 and a whole bunch of fitness activities such as bike rides, marathons, and other events I plan to participate in during the upcoming year.

  7. Check all of your important documents that have an expiration date and note anything that will be expiring on your calendar so you will be able to renew them on time. Driver's license, passport, concealed carry license, credit cards, professional licenses...all of these things have expiration dates and can create a real problem if you let them lapse.

  8. Make a goal list. Each year I make a list of around 100 goals that I want to accomplish each year. If you keep these sorts of things in your head, you are much less likely to accomplish them so take the time to actually write out the things you want to accomplish (work, financial, travel, health, family goals) then set about completing them in the new year.

  9. Update important documents. The end of the year is a good time to look back over the past year and update documents such as your home inventory, your resume, and your Will to reflect any new changes in your life.
  10. Start on your way to creating a "super abundance" in your home. Wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to worry about buying laundry soap, toilet paper, shampoo, etc for an entire year? At the end of each year I try to purchase enough of the consumable products that we use on a regular basis to last for an entire year. It greatly streamlines your life when you have plenty of everything in your home. No more running out of important items, no more running to the store at the last minute because you ran out of dish soap, always having enough of everything on hand even if you have dozens of house guests visit throughout the year...all good reasons to stock your home well at the beginning of each year.


  1. Don't forget to change the batteries in your smoke and CO detectors.

  2. A BOB is a Bug Out Bag. This is a bag that includes a change of clothes, toiletries, emergency supplies (flashlight, matches, etc), food, and other items you would need to sustain you in the event of an emergency (emergency evacuation, house fire, tornado, etc). The idea is to have everything you need for a few days or longer at the ready so that you can grab the bag and run out of your house at a moment's notice.
    Sometimes there is no time to get a suitcase, decide what clothes to take, dig out some camping supplies, and gather food. In a disaster scenario, you would want each family member to have a BOB packed and left in an easily accessible place so that they can grab the bag and go to a hotel, an emergency shelter, the trauma center (should a family member be seriously injured), or literally head for the hills (this is where the backingpacking supplies come in). Click on the "BOB" category at the right for ideas and/or Google "Bug Out Bag" and you will get a wide range of ideas of things you may want to include in your bag.

  3. Hey great article. I got the link from Art of Manliness. I've never thought of getting a BOB until now.

  4. Don't forget the prescriptions! Many plans change at the first of the year, so those need to be updated and replenished. Get stocked up on the current plan as much as possible. And feed the pills to BOB (rotate the stock in the Bug-Out Bag).

    Suggestions for backing up contacts: Encryption if you're security minded. AxCrypt does a great job (you can store it offline very easily), as does True Crypt. Also, those of us that use Mozilla products can use MozBackup to backup contacts and settings in Firefox, Thunderbird and others (saved me a great deal of work after a reformatting). I store those off the main hard drive as well.

    Strong agreement on using a calendar. In fact, I use Google calendar that I sync with Sunbird (aka "Lightning" extension on Thunderbird). When something comes to mind, write it down on something, e-mail yourself, whatever. Then put it in your calendar. I was a big fan of my Palm PDA, but it's getting old and feeble (sigh).