Happy New Year! Hopefully you didn’t waste your night partying in areas with no barriers to entry/filter and a bunch of blacked out people who dropped $100+ to go to the same place they always go to. If you did, well that’s unfortunate but still not the end of the world. You can always go out on January 4 to a nicer expensive place that will automatically attract successful people. Lots of people get upset by the comments in this paragraph but they are realistic. From a numbers perspective and from a time usage perspective, it is harder to find the top 5% or so if a place is absolutely packed with people from all over the general area. Below is a good example of what you can do next time you’re thinking about the new year (feel free to do this January 5 to make up for the partying on January 1).
Tax Estimation: Since the vast majority of clients/customers are out of the office from late December to January 1, this is a good opportunity to create a calculator for your tax burden in April 15. April 15 is of course the worst day in human history and people in the United States should go to great lengths to avoid having a child with a birthday of April 15. That said… You can come up with a good calculation for the tax amount by yourself in a day.
If you’re young this isn’t that important. In some cases it’s actually better to get a refund because it forces you to save more money (psychological). When you’re older, ideally you hit the number on the head and were neutral. The reality? It won’t be possible. You’ll end up owing a notable amount of money in April every single year. Better to get a rough calculation now and manage your cash flow statement from January to March to account for this payment.
Thinking about this further, it’s probably one of the reasons why a lot of high earning individuals are not out on New Years. They are busy planning for the start of Q1 sales after an incredibly draining Q4. If you’re selling consumer goods, your Q4 is always the biggest year from a seasonal sales perspective and the last month was incredibly hard on your body. You have to organize, rest and get ready for the next quarter.
Read, Write and Review: Since you’re already going to take the time to see your tax burden, you’ll also have your results in front of you. This is the perfect time to look through what went wrong and what went right over the past year (or more). Which segments of the market grew faster than you thought? Which grew slower? Why? Which products failed and what was learned from it? You get the idea.
During this review process put all of your emotions aside and figure out the pieces you can fix and the pieces you should be investing into. They are not the same. Investing means you’re taking additional risk in the direction that is outperforming and fixing refers to your personal time (IE. you must use forced appreciation methods to generate better results). This part is ideally exciting but can be painful as you have to take an ego hit and admit that certain areas did not work out.
At this point you should have several bullet points to get you started for 2020. In addition, since there is nothing particularly “special” about a new year, you should have books in front of you that are helping you solve the issues. Take the list and put the top 3 biggest issues up front and spend the night reading to fix one of the problems by January 1. Yes, this means you should be able to read a book in a single day.
Have a Singular Direction (Three Areas of Life): Multi-tasking doesn’t exist. It never has and never will. While people (particularly poor managers) believe you can do several things at once, they are simply crazy. It is almost impossible to have an important phone conversation while simultaneously responding to basic emails. So we really doubt high performing people multi-task. High performing people focus on one difficult task at a time and then get to work. When it’s done they move to the next difficult task (so on and so forth).
Your singular direction should relate to three items, choose one for money, one for your health and one for your interests. For example in 2020 a simple one could be: 1) buy and ramp up an ecommerce business related to pets, 2) improve flexibility by doing yoga X times a week and 3) learn how to draw. By having three separate categories you avoid hyper fixating on a single task for the entire year and force yourself to diversify your skills. People may laugh at the singular direction comment and three items but those individuals are nit pickers as you’re never going to spend 16 hours straight (per day) improving one item unless something has gone terribly wrong or incredibly well. If there is a reason to put everything on hold and just do one item then of course you change gears and get it done.
Clear all of the Decks: On January 1 you want to have zero dollars floating on your credit cards, zero checks to write and zero pending sales. This is related to your personal financial situation and not related to a mortgage for example.
Sure it isn’t ideal for working capital as you can float a payment for a month, it feels good to start with a fresh deck for 2020. You will have extra cash from the Q4 seasonal income anyway and the clear out payments for your cards won’t move the needle. This is something we’d recommend doing by the time you’re around 28 or so. At that age you are making good money and clearing the decks isn’t going to hurt your cash flow statement at all. In fact, it has a weird psychological impact on your January month as you spend less (focused on fixing the list of items you have to deal with in the second and third section of this post).
Clearing all the decks also refers to your contact list. Every year you’re going to lose contact with at least one acquaintance and meet at least one acquaintance who is helping you improve your life faster than you expected. This is a normal part of life. People who have the exact same contacts for decades at a time are rarely getting better/moving forward. They are scared to cut ties and this causes them to run in place forever.
At this point cutting ties shouldn’t be difficult (if you plan on becoming a successful adult) as time wasters are draining you of the most important asset you have. Also. If they are content with their current life and you are not… This balance needs to tip at some point.
If you want a “fun trick” that helps you weed out the list, simply turn your phone off for 24-48 hours and alert a few people (family members) that this is occurring. When you turn it back on you’ll have a bunch of messages that naturally flow through your cell phone. These basic messages should tell you a lot about what the person is doing. Also it’s good to take a break from your phone for at least a day or two anyway.
Choose a Contact: To end on a positive point, after the “due diligence process” above you should have a person or two that is well ahead of you. Figure out if there is a way to increase your interactions with them. This has a natural benefit to you as they become higher on the list of the “five people you talk to most”.
People laugh at the kooky phrases “energy” “vibes” etc. but well off people always give off a different vibe. You can simply sense it when you’re around successful people. You want to surround yourself with people who are in this stratosphere and ideally it is well ahead of where you are today.
Book Launch Date: For those that were asking about our book launch we’re putting a hard stop at January 31. We have sent a couple of copies to long-time readers of the blog and the consistent feedback was that we should include some more charts and graphs similar to how we did Efficiency as it is easier to bookmark and remember in the future. So we’re doing just that. 2020 should be a fun year and we wish everyone the best of luck!