Archives for December 2023

Take actions to prevent self-created emergencies

Dwight D. Eisenhower said “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” When I recently saw this quote I thought of self-created emergencies versus real emergencies. I have had many clients over the years who have important matters that need to be resolved and understand that takes time. I have had other clients for whom everything important is an emergency. When those situations involve actual emergencies I find they usually are self-created.

Most self-created emergencies arise due to poor planning, procrastination, or impulsive decision-making, resulting in unnecessary stress, chaos, and inefficiency. These emergencies often stem from a lack of foresight, inadequate time management, or neglecting responsibilities. One major negative aspect of self-created emergencies is the toll they take on the mental health of the person who created the emergency or the professionals they look to in trying to resolve the emergency. Continuously dealing with crises induced by poor planning can lead to heightened stress levels, anxiety, and burnout, impacting both personal well-being and professional performance. To avoid these detrimental consequences, implementing proactive strategies in your business and how you work is crucial. It also helps people such as attorneys be in a position to help you with out a client created time crunch.

Effective time management plays a pivotal role in preventing self-created emergencies. Procrastination is a significant contributor to such situations. By establishing a structured schedule, setting realistic deadlines, and prioritizing tasks, you can reduce the likelihood of last-minute rushes. Breaking down larger projects into smaller, manageable tasks and allocating specific time slots for each task aids in better organization and prevents the accumulation of work. When you do this, important issues are not urgent and you and your team, or you and your professionals, have time to think through options, come up with a game plan, and execute differently and more efficiently than when you procrastinate and turn the situation into an emergency.

Another contributing factor to self-created emergencies is a lack of contingency planning. Failing to anticipate potential obstacles or ignoring warning signs can escalate minor issues into full-blown emergencies. To mitigate this, incorporate buffer time into your schedule, anticipating potential setbacks, and have a backup plan in place can help you navigate unforeseen challenges more effectively.

Additionally, fostering a proactive rather than reactive mindset is instrumental in avoiding stressful and urgent emergencies. Being proactive helps you to identify potential issues and take preventive measures to address them before they turn into an emergency. This involves regularly assessing your priorities, staying ahead of deadlines, and consistently reviewing and adjusting plans as needed. Moreover, effective communication and collaboration within your internal team or your external professionals can prevent misunderstandings and last-minute scrambles, reducing the likelihood of emergencies arising from miscommunication or lack of coordination.

Cultivating self-discipline and accountability is fundamental in preventing self-created emergencies. It involves adhering to set timelines, avoiding distractions, and being accountable for your own actions. When you seek mentorship or guidance to improve your organizational skills and you adopt strategies from successful individuals it contributes to better planning and decision-making.

Urgent situations resulting from self-created emergencies have significant adverse effects on both personal and professional aspects of life. If you focus on effective time management, proactive planning, fostering a proactive mindset, promoting accountability, and seeking guidance when needed, these tools will substantially reduce your stress, increase your organization, and hopefully prevent the occurrence of such emergencies as much as possible.

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The 2023 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 year end.

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 on 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 prior to 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 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 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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