Archives for December 2022

Presence is a skill we all need to practice

Presence refers to the state of being aware and engaged in the present moment. It is the opposite of being distracted. Being present can be difficult, especially in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world where we are constantly bombarded with distractions.

Practicing presence can be beneficial in a number of ways. It can help you to:

  • Be more mindful and aware of your surroundings and experiences
  • Improve your ability to focus and concentrate
  • Enhance your communication and relationships with others
  • Reduce stress and increase feelings of calm and well-being

I have to work hard on being present at times. My mind drifts at times and I have to work on focus. This includes fully listening to people on calls or during meetings, whether with a client or opposing counsel. Over time I have come up with tools that work for me, but it’s a continuing practice everyday.

There are many ways to practice presence, including:

  • Meditation or mindfulness practices
  • Engaging in activities that require focus and attention, such as hobbies or sports
  • Paying attention to your breath or using other techniques to bring your attention back to the present moment when it wanders
  • Setting aside time to disconnect from technology and other distractions

I use all of these to stay centered and focused. It’s not easy to meditate, but can be over time with practice. The more I use these types of tools and practices, the more I am able to be present without thinking about it. The time can be hard to carve out of a busy schedule, but it’s an investment in yourself.

It takes time and effort to cultivate presence, but with practice, it can become a natural and valuable skill that can improve many aspects of your life.

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End the year well

Ending the year well can mean different things to different people. For some, it might mean achieving a personal goal or completing a major project. For others, it might mean spending time with loved ones or taking some time to rest and recharge.

Regardless of what it means to you, there are some general tips that can help you end the year on a positive note:

  1. Reflect on the year. Take some time to think about the highlights and lowlights of the year, and what you learned from them. This can help you gain perspective and move forward with a clearer understanding of what you want to accomplish.
  2. Set goals for the new year. It can be helpful to set some specific goals for the new year, whether they are personal or professional. This can give you something to work towards and help you stay motivated.
  3. Prioritize self-care. The end of the year can be a busy and stressful time, so make sure to take care of yourself. This might mean getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, or doing something else that brings you joy and relaxation.
  4. Spend time with loved ones. The end of the year is a great time to reconnect with friends and family. Plan a special outing or gathering, or simply spend some quality time together. This can help you feel supported and loved, and can also provide a much-needed distraction from the hustle and bustle of the season.
  5. Give back. The end of the year is also a time when many people are in need. Consider volunteering your time or donating to a charitable cause. This can be a fulfilling way to make a positive impact and can also help you feel grateful for what you have.

Overall, ending the year well is about finding balance and taking care of yourself and others. By setting goals, prioritizing self-care, spending time with loved ones, and giving back, you can end the year feeling fulfilled and ready to tackle the new year ahead.

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The 2022 version of why it’s time for an annual checkup for you and, if you have one, your company

Beginning in 2014, many of you probably read my blog regarding having a checkup for you and, if you have one, your business. This does not involve the doctor, but it does involve all the other professionals in your personal and business life. Based on the positive feedback, I have made this an annual tradition.

Some of you said “What a great idea. I am definitely going to do that.” Others said “Sounds like a good idea, maybe I will look into that.” Another response was “I wish I had thought about this before the end of the year or when certain contracts automatically renewed.

That feedback was based on me usually making this post the week between Christmas and New Year’s, when many people have time and are thinking about actions they want to take going into the next year. This is why I now share this a few weeks prior to the end of the year to give you time to take action and look into possible changes before the end of the year.

I’ll bet in most years the majority of you were busy with or recovering from the holidays and all that they entail, and probably did nothing in response to my push for you to do this type of “annual checkup.” To be honest, this response is okay and ignoring my advice may not have had detrimental effects to you or your business.

The point of the advice is that you only know what you know. If you do not check in with your professionals and, for example, make sure contracts or your estate plan remain enforceable and up-to-date, that is where risk comes in. For example, I always check in with my accountant at the end of the year to ensure that all is right with taxes and withholding because I don’t want a big surprise that I owe more money.

A few years ago I had a reminder related to a different item you should check on annually, auto insurance. We had two teenagers on our policy at the time and a number of vehicles, and the premiums always seemed so high to me. But my insurance person knows me and shops the policy every year looking for the best rates rates for policies with similar coverage from quality insurers. He did that for me and we ended up with a new insurer, with pretty significant savings.

Does your insurance person do this? If not, why not? You should ask. Or you should switch to a new insurance person who cares as much about you as they do about the commissions and income you represent to them.

With the time constraints of life, it’s sometimes hard for me to move beyond the higher-level checkup, but when I do I usually end up with some benefit. Unfortunately, in our time-crunched world, the question of who to check in with at year end is expansive, from your estate planning attorney, to your investment person, to your insurance person, to vendors you may use such as a yard or pool maintenance company, or your cell phone carrier or your Internet provider. You may be surprised what a company will do in lowering monthly costs to satisfy or keep a current or longtime customer. Try it and see what happens. A good one to start with is your cable or satellite television provider (assuming you haven’t cut the cable). Another is your cell phone provider.

I know, I know, who has the time? None of us do, which is why the choices are yours. Are your contracts up to date? Did you pay enough estimated taxes or withholding? Are you paying too much for the cleaning service at your office or your lawn service for your home ? The choice of what professionals to consult, what costs to check or compare, and what services to put out to bid is yours. Choose wisely.

And for those of you seeking a reminder or who did not see it in years past, here is my original blog post on getting an annual checkup:

The end of the year is always a good time to take stock of where you are personally and professionally. This can be checking in with your personal accountant to make sure you have withheld/paid enough taxes during the year or planning for deductions to planning for large corporate expenditures on things such as upcoming projects, planned corporate initiatives or planned equipment purchases. But the one thing that is a constant is that we all should be doing this.

In the past I have mentioned why it is good to sit down with various professionals you or your company work with just to check-in, be they attorneys, accountants, insurance professionals, financial planners, investment professionals, etc. The list depends on you and your business.

This does not have to be a formal appointment unless you think that is appropriate depending on the nature of the planned conversation. Instead, it can be you offering to buy them lunch or a drink. The point is the better the professionals you work with know you, the more they are able to make recommendations aimed to benefit you or your company.

So don’t wait, start making plans today to meet with these people this year, or at least first thing next year. We all are busy this time of year, but if you take these actions it will help you now and in the future.

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