Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash
These are things you either don’t want to think about, or don’t think about until things go wrong, some of these are life saving, others will save you time, hassle and additional stress.
1. Making a Will
Almost everyone should have a will, even if you have no assets to leave behind, you can still let your wishes be known, make things easier on those you leave behind by leaving a will. At the very least leave each loved one a personal letter expressing your love for them, these words may just comfort them in their grief. Don’t be selfish, one day the inevitable will happen, unfortunately for some, it happens much sooner than expected, protect your family, they are going to have a difficult enough time dealing with losing you. Having a Will in place won’t make them grieve any less, but it won’t add to an already extremely stressful time, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness. If you have assets, I do recommend doing a will through a Solicitor, trust me, it will be easier on your family when you’re gone.
2. Life Insurance
Now I know many of us don’t like to think about the inevitable in life such as our death, but as already implied in number 1, you do need to consider those left behind. At the very least you should have life insurance that will cover your funeral costs, don’t leave that up to those you leave behind, they will have enough to deal with. Apart from the funeral costs, there are often other costs, such as wakes, get togethers after the funeral including food, clothes for the funeral, the obituary, phone calls, travelling in order to arrange everything. I do recommend getting independent financial advise (if you can afford it), as different plans suit different ages and circumstances, and if you can’t afford professional advice, do your own research.
3. Protecting Your Property
Fireproofing important documents, documents that in a fire / flood would cause you a headache. If you can afford one, you could get a fireproof safe, if not, then a fireproof / waterproof document bag should do the trick, these are reasonably cheap, the link shows you the cheapest, but you can get various size bags to meet with your requirements, depending on how many important documents you want to protect.
Put all insurance policies, property deeds, bank books and cash, passports, birth certificates, national insurance documents, personal accounts, any document that you may miss if it wasn’t there, these could be personal letters or even photographs that are important to you. At least you will have one place where you can find all your important documents.
4. Protecting You and Your Family
In my humble opinion, these are the minimum types of equipment you should have in your home; fire escape ladders, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors. You could take it a step further, such as drafting a plan for the family in the event of a fire for example, install in them the best route out of your home in different scenarios. Another thing you may want to consider, particularly if you have a violent ex in the background, is to ensure there is somewhere in your house both upstairs and downstairs that is lockable, where you could go to to buy yourself some time to call for help. I know most people don’t like to think of such things, but having a plan and even doing practices, might just save your or your nearest and dearest their life. At the very least, it should give you reassurance should the worst happen.
Don’t be a hoarder, if you have stuff you don’t use but would leave to a family member, give it to them now, see the appreciation on their face whilst you can. Make decluttering part of your weekly routine, I constantly declutter, sometimes I will just do a drawer, other times I will have a major overhaul of my kitchen cupboards or wardrobe for example. I am currently decluttering my books, I literally have hundreds of them in my loft, those that are unwanted by family and friends go to a local charity shop, I do this on a weekly basis as a minimum. When you’re gone, again this may be another headache for family to have to sort through your junk, make it easy for them.
6. Your dreams / goals
What dreams do you have? what do you want to experience in life? write down just one dream / goal and dedicate as little as one hour a week working towards that, even if you start just brainstorming. If money is stopping you from achieving your dream, what can you do to change that? cut down on spending? get rid of debt? save? have an additional income source? or a passive income? Whatever it is do it, life is too short, we are here to accomplish, don’t let fear stop you, fear is natural and once you start moving towards your goals, it will gradually diminish. Write a list of 6 things you want to change in the next 12 months, now write the actions needed to change these 6 things. If there are major changes you want to make, you may only want to choose 1 thing, and master that.
7. Career Change
Are you happy in your job? are you doing what you want to do? If not, then start a plan of action to change this, do you need qualifications to do the job you want? or experience? Make enquiries around how you can get these, gather costs, if you can do part-time whilst staying in your current job. If experience is more valuable to what you want to do, look for ways of getting that experience, volunteer, offer services for free, start with just a couple of hours a month, do things that add to your C.V. to show future employers how serious, committed and able you are for your dream job. Don’t let any obstacles deter you, keep working towards it and you increase the odds of that career change.
8. To Do Lists
Get those important jobs done on your to do list or those jobs that have been on your list for way too long, schedule them in your planner, be realistic, even if you only get one thing done a week or even a month. For those big or overwhelming jobs, start by writing a step by step list of actions needed to get the job done, write them down in the order the actions need doing and do one at a time.
9. Breaking a Bad Habit
Do you have a bad habit, that is or will affect your health or wellbeing, we all have some bad habits, it could be anything from procrastinating, negative thinking, bitching too much about other people, smoking or drinking. Whatever your habit is, vow to break it, having a bad habit is often damaging to us in some way, either your health, psychologically or your relationships. Make this year the year to bin that bad habit that affects your daily life.
10. Forming a Good Habit
Do you want to form a good habit? have you always wanted to learn yoga? go for regular walks or runs? get fit and healthy? start with one small daily change, such as doing one yoga pose a day, do that for a week or a month every day, then add a second yoga pose. The key is to incorporate an easy achievable action in your daily routine, until it is second nature, then add to this until that becomes second nature and so on.
A good habit doesn’t have to be something physical, it can be something that benefits your wellbeing, such as learning to express your feelings in a positive way, this may be telling someone you love them, a family member, someone you have your eye on, or just a friend, let them know they are loved, not only will this make you feel good, they will feel good too and may reciprocate.
11. Backing up Computers and Phones
This tip comes from very recent experience for me. About 4-5 years ago, my laptop crashed, I got the dreaded blue screen, it could not be fixed, at the time I was doing a degree and I lost an assignment that was due to be submitted, yes I cried, I tried to replicate it but I was not in the right frame of mind and submitted a load of rubbish. Did I learn my lesson then, No, unfortunately I didn’t, and just one week ago my phone broke, I went to Apple and they said the phone could be restored but they cannot guarantee my data would be saved, I have pictures and videos of my dog that died last year. They weren’t backed up because my iCloud was full, I was devastated to be told this, I have found a company that say they can recover my data, so I am about to try them.
12. Fix Those Broken Things
My home phone broke about 1-2 years ago, I had no incentive to get it fixed because I had my mobile. It was only when my mobile phone broke, that I felt completely cut off from the world, then by sheer bad luck I was locked out of my mac for one day. Try going without your mobile, house phone or computer, it feels very isolating, these are the technologies that are my lifeline. Don’t delay getting things fixed or replaced because you never know when you will need them.