The dreaded April 15th tax deadline has passed. This date is something that virtually everyone remembers because of the consequences that can result if it isn’t met. I’d like to offer another way of thinking about this date. Why not use it as your time to review and see how you are doing on the goals you have established for the year? Too often we set goals, write them down, or maybe even design a really nice visual of what the future will look like if they are accomplished. Unfortunately, these documents are often filed away in a drawer or on your computer, only to be pulled out at the end of the year to see if they have materialized.
Great leaders and organizations understand the importance of periodically touching base on goals to see if things are being accomplished. If we don’t hold ourselves accountable, who will?
Here are a few other analogies to tax time that we can consider in our professional lives:
- Policies and processes are your friend. Like it or not, if you follow policies and procedures like having your withholding done correctly and paying estimated taxes, when your year is up, there shouldn’t be any surprises and you shouldn’t have to deal with consequences. The same goes with goals. If you set up a process to review, give and get feedback, and modify expectations to meet overall goals, you won’t be surprised when the year is complete.
- It’s easier to keep track of things all year long instead of all at one time. Don’t wait until the last minute to start pulling everything together. Spending smaller periods of time, in a strategic manner throughout the year, will reap more benefits than a strong push at the end.
- Getting a refund is great . . . or is it? Some individuals purposely overpay taxes because they like to get a big refund each year. However, consider the value of that money. Instead of you having access to what is yours throughout the year, it is in the hands of the government. Would you have saved more money by using it to pay down a credit card or a loan? In your professional life, are you spending your time doing the highest priority items, those items that will present not only short, but long-term benefits for you?
So, did you get your taxes in on time this year? Were you surprised or were you in a place where you knew what to expect? Can you say the same thing for your personal goals—are you on schedule and in control of the outcome? Today is as good as any day to take a step back and see how you are doing!