Tackling the Task List

11/01/2017

I resolve to… Fill in the blank space.  It’s always the same, many of us reflect on the events, challenges and promises made in the previous 12 months. Armed with a new list, we are determined that this New Year, things will be different and that we WILL fulfil them.

I seem to miss the mark, whether it’s the gym membership gathering dust, or giving in to a calorific curry. Our best intentions are often abandoned within a few months of resolving to make life changes.

I like the dictionary definition of a resolution, which is “a firm decision to do or not to do something”. I find it easier not to do something, maybe it is laziness or just procrastination, I put off the things that I consider uninteresting, or time consuming.

This year, instead of the usual suspects, such as getting fit, eating healthier or learning a new skill, my list will consist of those very activities that fill me with dread. My attempt at being prepared has led me to 4 issues that, if I planned ahead and organised, would certainly save me time and money. More importantly it could bring me peace of mind, knowing that everything is in hand and there are no last minute panic attacks. How much better would I feel knowing that I’ve managed to tick off those tasks that would normally take me months to sort out?

Top 4 alternative resolutions

I have an aversion to paperwork, I try to avoid anything that requires my attention to filling in forms, or balancing my accounts. This year, the areas I want to improve and focus on are around my finances, and the desire to be one step ahead.

  1. Finances
  2. Insurances
  3. Make an Inventory
  4. Tax Returns

Finances

It should come as no surprise that the run up to Christmas means spending more than usual, presents, food, socialising. Add to this, the fact that most employers pay their staff earlier in December. This has a tendency to trigger the January blues.

So when you hear that statement coming through the door, or pinged over to you via an email, don’t ignore it. Take a deep breath, open the mail, and take stock of exactly how painful a month it’s going to be. Will it come to beans on toast for the rest of the month?

At this time of year there are plenty of organisations ready, and set up, to give advice and counselling to help you manage your finances. It’s time to start paying off those bills.

Insurances

Revisiting your insurance may not be as exciting or as promising as being good to yourself. However it’s still an important one to consider, especially as it could save you money.

It’s a good idea to review insurance policies annually for several reasons. You may want to increase your policy limits on recent purchases or additions to your home. Alternatively, some items may have fallen in value in the past year, so you may need less coverage.

Spending wisely and getting the right cover for your insurance, is essential. At the beginning of year take stock of exactly what your insurance covers. Motor, home, life, health and other insurance needs change over time, as you move, switch jobs, add to your family, change vehicles, and grow older.

Lifestyle changes, such as setting up home or getting married, means you now have two people possibly with two cars, with another person’s belongings to insure.

At those vulnerable times when life doesn’t always go to plan and when insurance is vital, the last thing you want to know is that you don’t have enough cover.

Make an inventory

I am a compulsive list maker, be it short shopping lists to making a note of all the birthdays coming up. There is something very satisfying in writing and creating lists, there ought to be a name for such a person. Oh wait I’ll put it on my list of things to find out.

On a more serious note, making an inventory of all your possessions will bring relief, if you are ever unfortunate enough to be burgled, or if you home is destroyed in a fire. This is one way to help your insurance company get the correct value of your stolen or damaged items. In addition to a list, photos, receipts, video footage, will be even more useful when it comes to making a claim.

Just make sure that this list is in a secure place where you can access it, should you have an unfortunate event.

By tackling insurance resolutions you can be a step ahead allowing you to focus on getting fit, eating healthy and taking up a new skill.

Tax returns

It’s one of those tasks that really easy to put off or ignore, in fact, nearly 6 million out of the 11 million people in the UK who need to fill in a tax return, still haven’t completed the forms. The deadline is looming.

Make the task simpler. Make space for some uninterrupted time in your busy schedule to focus on this one task. Make 2017 the year you go and buy a box file, and at the very least, keep your paperwork in one place.

There is nothing more frustrating and annoying as being surrounded by bank statements, PAYE codes and receipts. Once you have all the relevant paperwork together, go online and submit the form, this should take no more than an hour.

Missing the deadline incurs a £100 fine, and in some cases, extra penalties may apply.

This year I aim to stop procrastinating over tasks that distract me from the very things that bring me joy. I realise by taking the time and paying attention to tackling tasks I dislike, will, ultimately bring me peace of mind and the reassurance that I’m covered. Whatever unforeseen circumstances 2017 may bring, I’m ready for it.