The last days of 2010 are in sight, which means many of us are procrastinating with the rationale that we'll be on top of our game in the new year. There are a handful of money and job-related tasks that can't wait until the ball drops (and hopefully you're already working on your short December to-do list), so get on the ball now by accomplishing these six things before the new year.
- Retirement Contributions: You may not be too happy about your retirement account balances since the market took a turn for the worse, but now is the time to sneak in extra contributions before the year is over. If you haven't contributed enough to your 401(k) to receive the full employer match and you have some extra cash, change your contribution amount before you get your last paychecks of the year. If you have IRA accounts, make sure you've contributed as much as possible (up to the annual maximum).
- Taxes: I know taxes are a pain. But they are also inevitable. Make the upcoming tax season easier on yourself by organizing your bills, receipts, pay stubs, and files before our paychecks suddenly say 2011.
- Pick Your Presents: Decide if you will be giving gifts to your co-workers and boss and get them together so you can discreetly pass them out before the holidays. Chances are you won't be giving gifts to everyone in your office, so make sure to keep the hand off on the down low by arriving early and leaving the gift with a note.
- Update Your Work Journal: The end of the year is hectic for most of us, so take a few minutes while you're enjoying time away from the office to update your ongoing list of work accomplishments. Maintaining a list of your projects and problem solving examples will make it easier to update your resume in a rush and will give you automatic discussion points when negotiating a raise or promotion.
- Send Holiday Cards: Even if you don't typically send holiday cards to your extended network, this year it could be worth the cost of postage to send a thoughtful card to some people you haven't heard or seen in a little while. It doesn't have to be an extensive note, but be sure to write more than signing a pre-printed card - those never make it on to people's refrigerators!
- Holiday Party Networking: Between office parties and celebrations involving friends of friends, expand your network by chatting up the people you don't know. Make sure you carry a few business cards in your pocket or clutch in case someone asks for one.
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