WHY YOU SHOULDN’T GET ALL HAPPY ABOUT YOUR BIG FAT REFUND (Or, Congratulations! You Just Loaned Uncle Sam Your Money Interest-Free For A Year!)

So you’ve got a big refund coming this year, huh?  Whatcha gonna do with it?  Pay a bill?  Save it?  Buy some shiny new toy?  Newsflash!  Whatever it is you plan on doing with it, it doesn’t matter.  Because you’ve already lost a lot of dough in the game of personal finance.    Sorry if I busted some bubbles, but I’m not here to make you feel good.  I’m here to tell the hard truth so you can max out your money.  Let me tell you what I mean.

I remember back to when I was much younger, about 19 years old.  I was working in an investment bank at the time.  As you can imagine, there were a lot of wealthy VP’s and such there.  I used to rub shoulders with them every day in the course of my job function.  Anyway, I’ll never forget what one guy told me one day.  He told me he had to pay the government about $4,000 when he filed his taxes.  I was like “What???  Are you crazy?  Why didn’t you make sure you got a refund?”  It was at that point that he literally sat me down and educated me in the ways of the wealthy and how they view paying taxes.  What I’m about to share with you stems from the lessons I learned that day.

To start, according to IRS.gov the average refund was $3,120 in 2016.  That means the average taxpayer over-paid the government by $260 each month!

What could you do with an extra $260 in your pocket each month?  Get that debt monkey off your back quicker?  Save for a vacation or a used car?  Or maybe you could build a wicked emergency fund so you don’t have to resort to Visa or Mastercard every time some unexpected expense pops up.

Let me show you another thing you could do with it.

If you just took that $3,120, never added another dime, and put it into a mutual fund returning a decent 8% annually, in 30 years you would have $31,395.38.  In 40 years guess how much you would have.  $67,780.27!  Mind you, that’s without adding one more dime to it.

But hold on Wilbur, cuz here’s where it really gets insane.  Let’s say you’re 35 years old.  If you were to take that same $260 each month and invest it in a mutual fund returning, say, 8% annually for 30 years do you know how much money you would have at the age of 65? $381, 719.11.  And if you were to get on the investing bandwagon earlier at the age of 25 and did that for 40 years, by the time you reached age 65 you would have $872,916.87!  Do you think that kind of dough would have a major impact on your retirement?  Darn skippy!

You see, based on a GoBankingRates.com survey from September of 2016, more than half of all Americans don’t have $1,000 saved to deal with an emergency!  And according to a CNBC article from the same time period, the median household retirement savings was just $5,000!  So if you were to make this simple change of putting an end to lending your money interest free to the government, you could beat both those statistics in less than two years.

Now that you know the cost of getting a tax refund from the government, how do you fix it?  March right over to your payroll or human resources department, get a fresh W-4, and fill it out.  First you need to know your average annual refund amount.  Divide that by the number of paychecks you receive.  That will be the golden number you’re trying to get back in your hands each pay period.  What you’re looking to do is tweak your witholding allowances until you get to a point where the amount gained back equals your golden number.

So, in the average refund case of $3120 we used above, if you got paid every other week, you would be looking to adjust your witholding until your take home rose $120.  If you got paid every week, you’d shoot for an extra $60 in your take home.  Don’t worry if you have to try it a few times.  There’s no limit to the number of times you can submit a new W-4.

And once you get that money in hand you could start throwing it at your debts, building your emergency fund or investing it in a mutual fund or index fund.  Set the transfer on autopilot every check so you don’t have to worry about it.  Then just lean back, relax and let time and compound interest work it’s magic.

If you take away only one thing from this lesson, it’s that getting a refund is bad!  If you are getting a fat refund every year, you need to fix that problem.  Be smart, don’t lend Uncle Sam your money and get nothing in return.  Now go forth and max out your money!

P. S.  If you enjoyed this little nugget of financial wisdom, there’s more gold where that came from. Just subscribe to The Org4Life Solutions email list and you will get regular deposits of financial wisdom in your inbox.

5 WAYS TO JUMPSTART AN EMERGENCY FUND (Without Getting A Second Job Or Working Overtime)

I remember back to the days when I was living hand to mouth and I didn’t know how I was going to make the rent or buy food, much less actually save anything.  When the financial screws are being put to you and you are in survival mode, the last thing on your mind is saving.  You’re too busy trying to eat.  So I know the feeling.  But as bad as things may seem, they are probably not actually that bad.  There are always opportunities to stash away cash, especially when you need to build a $1,000 emergency fund.  An emergency fund can save you from most things that pop up.  And trust me, Murphy seems to stop by more often when you don’t have an emergency fund!  It’s almost like he can smell your vulnerability.  So here are 5 ways to get you going on your savings stash that won’t be so painful in the moment and will pay off big time down the road.

  1. Sell, sell, sell! Americans have more excess junk per capita than anyone else in the world.  We are a society of consumers.  And we consume to the point that we don’t even have enough room to store all the stuff we go into debt buying.  Just look at the booming self-storage industry and you can tell.  So you can turn your past shopping sprees into a cash jackpot.  Go through your home and find any duplicates of things you don’t need or any items you haven’t laid hands on in at least a year.  There’s a high probability you don’t need that stuff.  You can have a garage sale and advertise it on Facebook.  There are also a plethora of sites out there that make it easy to sell your junk to someone else who will think it’s a treasure.  Try eBay, Craigslist or Let Go, to name a few.  Take the cash you make and use it to grow your emergency fund.
  2. Use your tax refund. This is a no-brainer, as they say.  First of all, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck with no cushion in savings and you want to blow your tax refund, you really need to examine your priorities.  Another inclination may be to use it to pay off a bill.  That’s not in itself a bad thing, but if it leaves you broke afterward, with no cushion, you’re back in the same situation you were before.  Take your refund and use it instead to build your emergency fund and gain some stability.
  3. Enroll in automatic savings. Setting up a simple monthly transfer from your checking account to your savings account at your bank is one way to do this.  Another way to do this is to split the accounts your paycheck is direct-deposited into at work.  All you need to do is set this up with your payroll department.  They usually give you this option when you first join the company.  Putting aside as little as $25 each month will yield $300 in your savings account in a year.  That may not seem like a lot, but when you combine that sum with the savings you get from the other methods suggested here you can find yourself with a tidy sum a year from now.  One thing is sure.  A year from now you will be a year older.  Question is, will you still be as broke as you are today?
  4. Adjust your withholding. So many people get excited about their tax refund.  Wealthy people don’t.  That’s why they’re wealthy.  They don’t get ecstatic about loaning the government their money interest-free for a year.  So if you are in the habit of getting a fat refund every year, make this your last year.  Take your refund, divide it by the number of payroll periods you have in a year and play with your deductions until you regain that amount in your take home each check.  Then DON’T SPEND IT ALL!  Put it all towards your emergency fund.  The average American can gain several hundred dollars a month by using this one simple trick to boost their take home.  For more on this, see my other post titled “Why You Shouldn’t Get All Happy About A Refund.”
  5. Reduce or stop your 401k contributions. When people start a job, they often take advantage of matching contributions that may be offered by their employer.  They set it and then forget it.  When you are in survival mode and need to build your emergency fund, don’t feel like reducing or even stopping 401k contributions is not an option.  At this point, becoming financially solvent is your priority.  You will be in a much better position to contribute to retirement once you are debt-free and have a nice emergency fund.  So, march down to payroll and reduce or stop completely your 401k contributions until you become more financially stable.  You will more than make up for those temporarily lost contribution dollars later on.

By using these 5 simple steps you can get an immediate infusion of cash that can be used to quickly get to that first $1,000 in your emergency fund.  When you have it, you will breathe a lot easier and walk with a little more pep in your step.  Then you can put things back to the way they were if you are so inclined.  I wouldn’t if I still had debts to pay off though.  You can also tell Murphy to move out of your spare bedroom and stop making your life miserable!

To get more helpful tips to help you win with money and gain financial freedom, opt in to our email list at www.Org4LifeSolutions.com and get the free bonus e-Course “5 Days of Focus.”  It will show you how to plan for and reach your goals, financial or otherwise. Remember, Own it, Be it, Achieve it!  Thanks for reading.






I have a daily ritual.  Every morning when I’m commuting in my car I listen to Steve Harvey.  The other day he gave this great story in his closing remarks.  It’s an old story and I’d heard it before, a little differently, but the point still remained essentially the same and I enjoyed hearing him recount it because it reminded me of something.  More on that later.  The point is, it’s a great story to help you reprogram your mind if you find yourself reacting badly to negative situations and people in your life.  But now for the story, as I remembered it.

There’s this wealthy guy who wakes up one morning and seeing it’s a beautiful day, decides to take his boat out on the ocean.  He’s chilling, laying on the deck and thinking his life couldn’t get any better.  He has a successful business, millions of dollars and lots of friends and a loving family surrounding him.   This is the life!  Then out of the blue, a sudden storm brews up.  His ship is battered by waves and wind all day and night long until finally he gets washed overboard.  He wakes up the next morning on a deserted isle.  He has nothing but the clothes on his back and a few items in his pockets.

Finding food is difficult and starting a fire is nearly impossible, but he manages to scrape by on coconuts and bananas.  He is constantly plagued by insects and the scorching sun.  Days go by and his hopes of being rescued begin to fade.  His mood sinks along with his fading hopes.  So, he figures he might as well build a shelter to get some relief.  He cobbles together a lean-to of sorts built of logs, palm fronds and vines to raise him off the ground and protect him from the creatures and scorching sun.  Through trial and error he learns how to spear fish using a crude spear he crafts.  He even manages to get a fire going to cook what few fish he can catch and to keep him warm.  His mood gradually begins to lift.

Then one night another storm blows in, bringing a bone chilling rain with it.  The poor man huddles up under his makeshift shelter staying close to his fire in an effort to keep warm and dry.  But as the wind picks up, it blows an ember from the fire onto his shelter and it catches fire!  He desperately tries to put it out but the flames quickly consume his tiny home.  With no more shelter he spends the remainder of the night in the open, drenched and shivering in the cold rain.  His mood grows progressively darker until finally he stands up and begins to rage against anything and everyone, including God himself.

“Why me?” he yells at the night sky.  “What have I done to deserve this?  My life was going so well and suddenly this.  I’ve been a good person, tried to do my best by my fellowman my whole life, never lied, cheated or stole a thing and this is how I’m repaid.  Why God, why?” he screams in vain.  “It’s just not fair!”  Finally, exhausted and spent, he collapses on the ground and begins sobbing uncontrollably.  The storm continues through the night unabated and he gets little rest.

The next morning, the sun shining on his face wakes him up.  In the distance he sees a large ship anchored offshore and also a smaller boat making its way to shore, with 3 men inside it.  Can it be?  At long last is he going to be rescued?  Eventually, the boat makes landfall and the men get out.  Overjoyed, the man embraces each person in his rescue party, overcome with tears of joy.  He finally asks, “How did you know I was here?”  One of them replies, “Why, we saw your signal fire last night and we knew someone was in distress and needed to be rescued.”

So, what’s the moral of the story?  Sometimes life can seem to be going so well.  Then out of the blue, it can all seem to go left on you.  We may be left wondering why “bad” things are happening to us.  We may feel it’s not fair and blame everything and everyone around us.  This can sink us into a deep depression that serves us or the people around us no good.  But sometimes, the fires that seem to be burning our life down are actually the very things we need to make us even better.  Had that man’s shelter not caught fire, he would’ve remained marooned on that island.  It did not seem like a good thing at the time, but ultimately it was his means of deliverance.

Maybe that relationship ended so that you can make room for a person that you can truly compliment and that compliments you in return.  Maybe that job ended so that you can find your passion and create a business or take a new career path that is more fulfilling.  Maybe you had to lose everything so that you could come to appreciate what is truly valuable in life.  And maybe this trial that is befalling you is the thing you need to build the qualities necessary for success in your life.

It is the natural inclination to go negative in a negative situation.  But, with training, we can teach our mind to benefit when things do not go according to plan.  You see, a given situation is 90 percent how we react and only 10 percent what is actually happening.  And ultimately, our current life situation is 100 percent a result of the choices we have made.  With that in mind, here are three questions you can ask when faced with a trying circumstance:

What have I learned that I can use to keep this from happening again?  Life is a series of lessons.  Some have to be learned personally in order to get have the most value.  So, in any setback, look back over your choices, the people surrounding those choices and the circumstances and ask what you might have done better so that you do not repeat the same mistakes the next time.

What do I still have that I can be appreciative for?  Living in gratitude is key to success in life.  Some people are so busy blaming everything and everyone around them and so stuck on what they don’t have that they miss the simple joy that comes from appreciating what they do have.  Do you have shelter, clothes, food, a means of living and people who love you?  Did your car start this morning?  If so, be grateful for those things and all the others.  There is always something to be grateful for!  By focusing on what we have and being grateful for it, we make way for more positive things to come into our life.  But if we only focus on the negative, we will not even answer the door when good comes knocking.

What new opportunities may be presenting themselves that I’m not seeing right away?  Is there a chance to learn something new or better my education?  Is there an opportunity to improve my circle of friends and associates that could open new avenues of growth for me?  When life closes this door for you, what other ones are opened?  Asking these things will always keep you alert to hidden opportunities that may be just the thing you need to exponentially shift your life for the better.

Yes, it may be hard to see the good in seemingly bad situations, but there is always a silver lining in every dark cloud.  You just have to want to see it.  Don’t be that person who sees a dark cloud in every silver lining.  No one wants to be around that person and you will be miserable for the rest of your life.  Rather, take the time to show gratitude for what you have, learn from past mistakes and be on the lookout for new and exciting possibilities.  Doing these things will always keep you positive and on the right track!

If you found this article helpful, please know that you can find more like it by following my blog at www.Org4LifeSolutions.com.  There you will find all kinds of hints, tips and tricks you can use to cultivate the good habits that will lead to better focus and success in life.  And now, when you join my email list, you will get the FREE course “5 Days of Focus.”  In this 5-day course, you will learn how to envision your dream life, uncover your big why, plan for and overcome obstacles that may arise along the way and set realistic goals to achieve them.  It also comes with a bonus PDF that you can use along with it to plan your dream life.  Until next time, remember:  Own it.  Be it.  Achieve it!


This image from video provided by SpaceX shows the company’s spacesuit in Elon Musk’s red Tesla sports car which was launched into space during the first test flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. (SpaceX via AP)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere in Outer Mongolia, you know that there’s a new celestial object in our sky.  This week, Elon Musk took a GIANT leap forward with his Falcon Heavy rocket and boosted his personal Tesla Roadster into space along with an unforgettable passenger:  Starman.  That’s right.  There’s a Tesla automobile cruising through space right now.  With a cool looking dummy driver named Starman chilling behind the wheel.  And oh, wait, did I forget to mention it’s headed for Mars?

Whatever you may think of Elon Musk or his companies, you cannot deny that this guy knows how to innovate and make a mark.  First, he mass produces cool looking, cutting edge electric cars, thus founding Tesla Motors.  Then he makes them affordable.  Then he makes an electric Tesla semi truck.  And have you heard about his Powerwall, a battery pack to store solar energy and power your home?  Along the way he founded SpaceX, which just left his competitors behind in terms of payload deliverability and wow factor.  His boosters even land themselves back on earth to be used again.  Now, his Falcon Heavy is the largest spacecraft in the world. (And just a reminder, he’s the only billionaire with his own car in space!)

It reminded me of something Tony Robbins preaches constantly.  And that is of the need to take massive action of you want to make change in your life.  He said, “The path to success is to take massive, determined action.”  There is no room for half-stepping here.  Either you want to succeed or you don’t.  If you want to succeed, you will find a way to make it happen.  If you really don’t, you will find an excuse, or two, or three, to justify why you can’t or won’t make your life better.

But one of the biggest things that keeps people from taking massive action is fear.  Fear of failure and ridicule.  To that point I refer you again to Elon Musk.  In the press conference following his historic rocket launch, he admitted that he calculated there would be a 50/50 chance that this thing would even work.  He jokingly said one of his recurring nightmares was a big explosion, a tire bouncing down the road, a logo crashing down here, etc.  Had that happened, for sure there would’ve been no lack of ridiculers.  Yes, it could have literally blown up in his face.  But this dude DID NOT CARE!

For him, the rewards of success overrode his fear of failure, so he went for it.  Now of course I’m not saying he just rolled the dice and took a foolish risk.  You can be sure his geeks crunched the numbers and ran simulations ad infinitum until they were sure they had done everything they could do to ensure success.  But they knew they couldn’t think of everything or fail-safe every eventuality.  So, at the end of the day, once the work was done, they went for it.

And that’s what rich and successful people do.  They face down their fears and take calculated risks.  They accept that failure is part of the game.  When they lose, they learn and move on.  But, when they win, they win big.  And that is the mindset you have to create within yourself if you want to succeed.  How can you do that?  Consider these 3 tips:

  • First, acknowledge your fears but take action despite them. Fear is a natural thing.  But the definition of true courage is taking action in spite of your fears.  That, my friend, is where heroes are made.  So, if you have a fear of something, do it!  Make a point of conquering that fear.  Go for that big job.  Start that business.  Learn that new skill or language.  Take up dancing.  Whatever it is, if it is your dream, go for it.  Laugh at yourself and learn to take others laughing at you as well, because as sure as the sun rises each day, they will.  You will need a healthy sense of humor and a bit of humility if you are going to overcome the fears that are holding you back.
  • Second, accept that failure is part of any learning endeavor. You ever watch kids learn to walk?  They stand on those little, wobbly legs and take a step or two, then fall.  They may cry, they may giggle, but what do they do right after?  They get right up and try again and again and again until they are finally walking.  They are not worrying about who is watching.  They just in their innocence, take the first step and the next and the next until they get it right.  They are focused on one goal:  walking!
  • Third, commit to massive action. I recently read a quote by Henry David Thoreau that says, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”  In other words, you get out of it what you put into it.  Think back on your life.  When you didn’t put much effort into something, did it turn out well for you?  I’m guessing not.  But when you put your whole heart into it, when you went for broke, were you not equally rewarded?  Fellas, when you wanted that girl, did you put on your wrinkled duds or did you put on your best outfit?  Ladies, when you wanted that guy, did you show up looking a hot mess or did you put on your best to catch his eye?  If you want the prize, you have to put in the work!

Ask yourself, what is your personal Falcon Heavy rocket?  What massive action will you take to take a massive step toward living the life of your dreams?  Maybe it’s filing for that DBA.  Or calling that first prospect.  Or 50!  Or maybe it’s conquering a long-held fear that’s holding you back.  Whatever it is, only you can answer that one.  Because, as in anything, if you want it, no one else is going to do it for you.  If you want to carve out your dream life from this crazy world we live in, you need to bring it.  You need to go big or go home.  Show up every day with your best face on, with a plan, with determination and the passion to follow through with massive action.  If you do, then success is bound to be yours.  And never forget, learn to laugh at yourself and learn from your mistakes.  That’s a winning combination any day of the week.

If you found this article helpful, please know that you can find more like it by following my blog at www.Org4LifeSolutions.com.  There you will find all kinds of hacks, tips and useful info you can use to cultivate the good habits that will lead to better focus, organization and success in life so you can create your very own Falcon Heavy rocket.  Until next time, remember:  Own it.  Be it.  Achieve it!



Somehow, recently, I found myself watching the men’s four rowing event from the 2012 London Olympics.  Don’t ask me why, it just happened.  The important thing is if you watch these guys do their thing, it’s a sight to behold.  In this particular format, each boat had a crew of 4 and each crewmember had one oar.  That’s 2 oars on each side of the boat.  4 oars total that need to be synchronized.  You get the point.

Anyway, the horn blows and they take off.  They slice down the waterway in perfect unison, each paddle hitting the water at precisely the same time on either side of the boat.  There is no one else in the boat yelling “stroke, stroke!”  It’s up to them to keep the rhythm going.  If anyone of them is off by so much as a split second with their stroke the boat will drift off course.  There’s no rudder, not even anyone looking in the direction they’re traveling, yet they maintain a perfectly straight line down the middle of their lanes as if they’re riding on rails!  In the end, Great Britain won, holding the lead the whole time.

I thought about it afterward.  What made that victory possible?  The only thing I could think of was a complete focus and unity of mind toward one goal: the perfect stroke.  If they all got on the same page and perfected their stroke, they would be unbeatable.  Turning 4 individual men into one perfectly timed, organized, precision machine was no accident.  It took work, work and more work along with a large helping of focus and determination.

Being successful in life is pretty much like that rowing team.  If we want to win the prize, i.e. that dream life, we must be focused, determined and intentional.  Oh, and one more thing.  Each area of our lives must be uncluttered, organized and moving in perfect harmony toward the attainment of the final goal that means so much to us individually.  If just one part of our lives is unorganized, or out of harmony with that goal, failure will be our lot.  How can we avoid failure though?

I have found that we can break our lives down into 4 “Spaces”Mind, Body, Environment and Finances.  Removing clutter from these and organizing them toward a final goal takes work.  I can’t teach you everything about it here, but I can give you a few pointers on getting all four lined up and moving in the same direction, just like that precision rowing team.

Mind.  This is your inner being, everything that makes up your mental character.  If you want to de-clutter your mind and get it organized you must train it, just like an Olympic rowing team.  You have to feed it the right thing and avoid the wrong things.

  • Read daily! Read books on self-improvement or the goal you want to pursue or the business you want to start.  Set goals to read x-number of books every month or year.
  • Model successful people. Look for people who are already successful in achieving the goals you want to achieve, like success coach Tony Robbins, financial guru Warren Buffet or media maven Oprah.  Success leaves clues and all you have to do is follow the clues.
  • Avoid negativity. This can be people or things.  Avoid altogether or at the very least, limit, negative people and negative talk.  Not everyone who you share your dreams with will wish you well.  They’re miserable and want you to be too.  So, they will criticize, sow seeds of doubt or outright attack you and your dreams.  Shut them down and don’t let them poison your mind.  But not only do you have to watch outside influences, you have to guard against self-sabotage from within.  One way to do this is to retrain your speech patterns.  Don’t say “if I get so and so,” say “when I get so and so!”  See the difference?  One is doubtful, the other is sure.  As you train your brain this way, those words will carry power and speak your goals into existence.

Is your mind organized, focused and trained to move inexorably toward your goals?

Body.  This is your physical self.  And just like you have to feed your mind right and avoid what is hurtful to it, you have to do the same for your body.  And you need to train it to reach the goals you have set.

  • Get up early. Studies have shown that successful people rise earlier than others.  They don’t have a love affair with their beds.  You can’t pitch a customer, exercise or make a sale from your bed.
  • Eat right. Proper nutrition feeds our bodies and our brains.  I’m no nutritionist, but common sense tells us what we should and should not be eating.  Pick a meal plan that makes sense to you and follow it.  If you’re tired or out of shape you won’t have the energy to pursue your goals.
  • Exercise. A fit body leads to a fit mind.  When we exercise, our body releases endorphins into our bloodstream.  This lifts our mood and sharpens our focus.  If we are happier and more alert, we will have a higher chance of reaching our goals.

Is your body set up for success?

Environment.  This is the place where we live, socialize or work.  If it is cluttered, disorganized and/or unclean it will have a negative effect on reaching our goals.  Or if we’re wasting our time in the wrong places that will have a negative impact on our ability to achieve our goals also.  So, create a positive environment, one that tells the world and yourself that you are successful.

  • Make your bed. It’s a quick victory that starts you off with a feeling of accomplishment.  That sets you up for more victories later in the day.
  • Do your dishes. Daily.  A recent study conducted by researchers at FSU suggests that the simple act of doing dishes could actually encourage a state of mindfulness, which has been linked to improved well-being, reduced stress levels and an immune system boost!
  • Organize your home and work space. Clutter, as many of you have already heard me say many times, is a monster that steals time, energy, mental health and finances.  Don’t give away what you work so hard for to this beast.  Tidy up regularly, make files, set reminders to do things and throw away what you haven’t used in the last year.

How organized and uncluttered is your environment?

Finances.  Lord, this is a biggie.  I could write a book on this one.  Actually, I have!  It’s been said that money can’t buy you happiness.  And this is true.  But money gives you this: options!  Where to live, whose crap you have to take (you hear me?) and what healthcare choices you have access to, among other things.  Make sure your money is as fit as it can be.

  • Get on a budget. If you find you have too much month at the end of your money, you just might need a budget.  A budget is you telling your money where to go instead of you wondering where it went.
  • Get out of debt. Every dollar you spend on debt payments each month is one less dollar you can spend on you and your family.  So, don’t set yourself up to be a slave to the lender.  Get on an aggressive debt repayment plan and knock it out ASAP!
  • Save. Not having an emergency savings of at least $1,000 is a major contributing factor to credit card debt.  When the car breaks down, the furnace goes or the doctor calls too many of us reach for the credit card.  But newsflash, a credit card is not an emergency fund.  That’s the bank’s money.  And if you haven’t heard, they want it back, with insane interest!

Are your finances helping you or hindering you towards reaching your goals?

So, are all the spaces of your life rowing toward your goals in perfect harmony?  If the answer is no, you need to get your life organized.  Each space is an oar and they each have to work in perfect harmony toward the achievement of your goals.  Each space of your life must be synchronized and working together just like an Olympic rowing team.  You need to be completely focused and determined to reach those goals.  And if you saw anywhere above where there’s need for improvement, take action now.  Not tomorrow, not next week, now!  I hope you found these tips useful toward that end.  All the best to you.

If you found this article helpful, please know that you can find more like it by following my blog at www.Org4LifeSolutions.com.  There you will find all kinds of hacks, tips and useful info you can use to cultivate the good habits that will lead to better focus, organization and success in life.  Until next time, remember:  Own it.  Be it.  Achieve it!


Everybody knows what a To-Do list is. It’s that list of things that reminds you what it is you need to get done today.  This is handy for keeping you moving forward and taking action towards your dreams and goals on a daily basis.  If you’re already using this powerful tool, then congratulations.

But you probably never heard of a To-Don’t list.  That’s right, that wasn’t a typo.  A To-Don’t list includes all those things that you absolutely must AVOID DOING each day because they hold you back from doing all the things on your To-Do list.

To-Don’ts are things that waste time, distract you from doing what’s important or that take away from your happiness.  They can be bad habits, people or non-productive tasks.  Successful people have discovered the power of the To-Don’t list.  They understand that knowing what NOT to do is just as important, if not more so, than knowing what to do.

If you want to master the art of focus and stay on task toward accomplishing your dreams and goals then you simply must incorporate the To-Don’t list into your daily activity.  And the great thing about this list is once you write it down one time, it usually is the same every day, so you don’t have to write a new one for each new day.  Here are some examples of what should go on your To-Don’t list:

Excessive TV watching–  One trait go-getters share in common is the understanding that wasting hours in front of the television every day takes away critical time they could otherwise be spending in the pursuit of their dreams.  So, they either drastically cut it down or avoid it altogether.

Procrastination–  No one stumbled into success by putting off the effort until tomorrow.  Successful people know that procrastination is a no-no in their daily pursuits.  If it needs to get done, they do it!

Vices like smoking, excessive drinking and gambling–  Smoking harms your health and a common trait of rich people is that they take care of their health.  Drinking to excess damages not only your health but harms your family and business relationships, not to mention your productivity.  And gambling diverts critical funds away from your family and the pursuit of your goals.

Associating with negative people–  You already know who they are.  They’re always complaining.  They’re always criticizing your efforts to better yourself and your situation.  They are the do-nothings, the stone throwers, the naysayers.  All they do is suck the joy and energy out of your life.  You need to kick them to the curb.

Negative thinking–  Successful people have mastered their thinking.  They do not give negative thoughts safe harbor within their minds because they understand that if they do, it will grow like a cancer and kill their willpower and focus.  Doubts and negative thoughts will always creep into your mind from time to time.  But that doesn’t mean they have to stay there.  Exterminate them like you would a filthy cockroach in your home!

Ridicule and hate–  Only small people ridicule others who are trying to better themselves.  And hatred strips away your joy.  Don’t give anyone else that kind of power over you.  If you avoid ridicule and hate, happiness will be much more likely to set up shop in your mind and people will actually enjoy being around you.

Always being right–  There is a time and a place to stand your ground.  But if you stand your ground for every little thing, you will have precious little time left over to pursue your dreams.  So, learn to bend.  Let the other person have their way if it’s not a matter of principle.  Successful people have mastered the art of picking their battles.

Waiting for the perfect time–   There will never be a perfect time.  There will always be a financial, health, familial or work concern that can be used to justify delaying the start of pursuing your dreams.  Ecclesiastes tells us “The one who watches the wind will not sow seed, and the one who looks at the clouds will not reap.”  In other words, the fearful are always waiting for that moment when they can control everything.  Newsflash!  Doers have figured out that that day will never come.  So, they just jump in and do it.

Regret–  There’s no use crying over spilled milk.  Mistakes will happen as sure as the sun rises each day.  Take your licks and learn your lessons.  But excessive dwelling on past mistakes will keep you stuck in the past and prevent you from moving forward.

Be like everyone else–  Movers and shakers are movers and shakers because they don’t follow the crowd.  They start that business when everyone else is fearful.  They go to the gym when their friends are sitting on the couch.  They invest in themselves while everyone else is wasting their money on the next i-something or other.  So, if you find yourself blending in with the rest of this broke, just-keeping their-heads-above-water world, it’s time for a change. Be different.  It is only by being different that you will gain a different life than everyone else.

This is only a sampling of all the possible things that can go on your To-Don’t list.  Just keep in mind that success or failure is all about habits.  Successful people cultivate good habits.  Unsuccessful people cultivate bad habits.  So, take a good, hard look at your daily activity.  If you find any counter-productive habits in there, put them on your To-Don’t list.  If you want success, you will have to eliminate as many bad habits as you can and replace them with as many good habits as you can find.

If you found this article helpful, please know that you can find more like it by following my blog at www.Org4LifeSolutions.com.  There you will find all kinds of hints, tips and tricks you can use to cultivate the good habits that will lead to better focus and success in life.  Until next time, remember:  Own it.  Be it.  Achieve it!


What is it that causes one person to be wealthy and successful, while another wallows in poverty and failure?  Is it their background?  Upbringing?  Genes?  Or is it what some folks call good old luck?

The evidence shows us that it is none of these.  Tyler Perry went from being homeless and living out of his car to forging one of the largest and most successful production companies in existence today. Tyler Perry Studios had revenues of $900 million in 2016.   Steve Harvey, another mega entertainment success story, also lived out of his car, survived on peanut butter and crackers and overcame obstacle after obstacle before he achieved what he has today. Now there is hardly an hour of any given day where you can’t turn on a television and find Steve Harvey on some program or other.  You probably never heard of Do Won Chang.  He immigrated from South Korea in 1981, worked 3 jobs simultaneously as a gas station clerk, janitor and coffee shop employee.  He founded a little clothing store in 1984.  Now Forever 21 is multi-national with 480 locations around the globe and generates over $3 billion per year!

None of these examples came from “privileged” backgrounds.  None were born with inherent cultural advantages.  None were academic standouts, as it were.  But what they all shared in common was something that all successful people share:  An unswerving hunger and focus on the thing they wanted.  They would not be denied.  The world could not shake their faith.  Obstacles would block their path and they would find another way.  Naysayers would criticize yet they would not give heed to their words.  Poverty would reach out to embrace them and they would shake free.

So, if you want success, if you want to live the life of your dreams, you must master this one trait of the rich and successful:  Focus.  There can be no success without it.  And that is why so many want success but so few obtain it.  They will not put in the work it takes to master focus and the unlimited potential that comes along with it.

With that in mind I want to share with you what I call “The 5 Focus Essentials” that you must master in order to have success in life.  If you want to get that dream job, start that dream business, have that dream family or live that dream life then you must devote yourself to mastery over the following 5 things.

Focus on your dreams, not your fears.  Rich people consistently keep their dreams in front of them.  They write them on slips of paper and carry them in their wallets.  They write huge checks and pin them to boards in their homes in the belief that one day they will be able to cash it.  Jim Carey wrote himself a check for $10 million when he first got started in the business.  He was broke at the time.  Years later he demanded $10 million to play a starring role in a film and got it.  Guess what?  He could finally cash that check!  Getting that sum was not “luck” or chance.  It was the result of his unbending focus on his goal:  A $10 million payday.  Poor people give in to fear.  They live a constant life of “I can’t,” “What if I fail,” and “I’m just not lucky.”  If you are ruled by fear you are destined for the ash heap of poverty.  If you focus on your dreams despite your fears, success will be yours!

Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have.  This is the age-old story of whether you see the glass half full or half empty.  Rich people live in a place of gratitude.  They know what they have and they focus on this.  They share freely and receive in abundance.  They leverage what they have to achieve what they want, and they do this consistently and with purpose until the goal is realized. The poor can only focus on what they don’t have.  They are stingy and as a result, receive very little.  They spend so much time complaining about what they don’t have that they give themselves no time to appreciate what lies just beyond if they extend their grasp just a little further.  So be grateful, focus on what you have and you will gain so much more!

Focus on what you can change, not on what you can’t.  There are some things in life that are within your control, and some things that are not.  Other people’s actions, the weather and taxes, to name a few, are beyond our control.  Your actions, your attitude and your future are things you can control.  Rich people don’t get bogged down in the things beyond their control.  It’s a waste of time and energy for them.  Rather, they focus on the things within their control, those actions they can take, those positive thoughts they can cultivate that will propel them ultimately toward their final goal.  Always remember, while you cannot necessarily control the words and actions of those around you, you most certainly can control how you choose to react to them.  So, keep your mind focused on those actions you can perform everyday that will get you to where you want to be.

Focus on past successes, not past failures.  When referring to his path to the creation of a commercially viable light bulb, Thomas Edison famously said “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  What an incredible attitude!  That attitude led to his becoming one of the most prolific inventors of our time.  Imagine what you could achieve if you did not look on your past failures as failures, but rather as learning moments?  Successful people see life this way.  Unsuccessful people give up as soon as they meet with failure.  Do not be that person.  Rather, keep in mind that no breakthrough came without breaking a lot of eggs along the way.  One way to keep this focus is by journaling.  Journal your way to success and you’ll be able to look back on not where you failed, but where you succeeded.

Focus on opportunities, not obstacles.  You may be familiar with the story of the man who found a butterfly struggling to free itself from it’s cocoon.  He cut it open so it could get out, but the butterfly only then fell to the ground and died.  That was because when a butterfly pushes and pushes against it’s prison to break free, it is strengthening it’s wings so that it can later take flight.  Rich people view life’s challenges that way, as things that will not break them but, rather, will make them stronger.  They lose jobs then start businesses.  They break up with “the love of their life” then find their true life partner.  They have heart attacks then end up running marathons!  Poor people give up at the slightest resistance.  They are content to stay in their pitiful state because it just gets too hard for them.  Life is what you make it.  So, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade!

Life is full of distractions.  Those come in the form of fires that have to be put out, people who make constant demands on your time, economic and health setbacks and the like.  Those who allow themselves to be distracted will never succeed because they will drift along from one crisis to the next, completely out of control of their own lives.  But those who achieve focus brush aside life’s distractions.  Oh, they deal with them.  But they develop systems and ways of moving and acting that get them right back on track afterwards or even keep those emergencies from popping up in the first place.

Org4Life Solutions provides lots of helpful articles that can help you achieve focus in life and ultimate success at getting whatever it is that you want.  So, visit us often at www.Org4LifeSolutions.com.  Join our mailing list so you don’t miss out.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.  And remember, always own it, be it, achieve it!


Here’s the situation.  Whatever your view of Trump and the government, one thing is certain:  With the stroke of a pen, overnight your world can be turned upside down.  The new tax code will result in MAJOR changes to the bottom line of every American.  And guess what?  It’s here to stay for the foreseeable future.  So take note of the many ways it might affect you.  Here are just 3 areas where the new tax code might affect the average American in the near term:

Health Insurance.  The new tax code does away with the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  That means no more penalties for Americans not carrying health insurance.  According to a report dated November 8, 2017 by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a non-partisan group, this will have the affect of 13 million more people becoming uninsured over the next decade.  That’s because healthier people will not get insurance leaving a smaller pool of decidedly unhealthier people left to be insured and pay the premiums.  Unhealthy people are more expensive to insurance companies so they will have to charge more to the people left insured to cover the cost.  As the cost goes up, more and more will be able to afford the premiums.  The end result, in other words, is it’s going to get way more expensive for you and I to have health insurance!

Tax Deductions.  The new tax code caps the combined deduction for both property taxes AND state & local taxes at $10,000.  That’s combined, not each.  That’s going to hurt folks like me in higher tax states like New York and California.  According to Newsday, the average property tax bill for Nassau County residents (where I live) was $11,232 in 2016.  That’s average.  I sold real estate here and I can tell you taxes top $12,000  regularly for a modest home.   And in an article in USA Today, Westchester County taxes were cited as being $15,000 on average!  So add those now-gone deductions to state & local income tax deductions and you blow past the new $10k cap like a Dodge Hemi at full throttle.

The Housing Market.  If you live in a low tax state, good for you.  But if you live again in a high tax state, the new tax code is not good news for the housing market.  It’s not cataclysmic, but here’s the situation.  When folks decide to buy a home, a large part of the affordability calculation is being able to deduct the property taxes.  If that family can no longer deduct that, they may conclude that renting is more affordable than buying.  And if less people are buying, property values decline.  It’s simple supply and demand.  Moody’s Analytics predicts that nationally housing prices will be 4% lower than they would have otherwise been by mid 2019.  Again, not cataclysmic, but still real money.

So, all that having been said, what does it really mean for you and I?  This:  You can’t rely on the government to look out for your best interests.  That’s YOUR job.  You can no longer afford to be complacent about your life choices and your finances.  You have to choose.  Will you be a spectator or participant in your future?  Will you be a victim or a victor?  See, you can sit here and rail against Trump and the Republicans.  You can vilify the rich and demand equal distribution of wealth.  You can complain and wring your hands and generally make yourself miserable.  Good luck with that.  You can choose to do all that and where do you think it will get you and your family?  Nowhere.

Conversely, you can choose a different course.  One where you become an active participant in your current and future situation.  You can take what some consider to be lemons and turn them into lemonade.  What do I mean?  I’ll tell you.  The new tax laws favor the financially savvy.  So rather than envy the financially savvy, jump on board.  You can’t beat them so you might as well join them!   Learn how to benefit from the new reality, because it’s here to stay.  Make a conscious decision to join the ranks of the financially literate.  Decide to live your life with intentionality and focus.  There are two ways you can do that.

First, get control of your finances.  Educate yourself.  Learn how to handle your money.  You can be like the average American and carry debt, live paycheck to paycheck and complain about your job and your lot in life.  Or you can say enough!  You can decide to own your financial present and future.  So, buy books on financial literacy.  Learn about investing, budgeting and paying down debt.  Get a good CPA and learn how to play the game to your advantage.  Resolve to be first financially stable with a view to eventually becoming financially independent.  If you don’t get aboard this financial train you will get run over by it.  Your choice.

Second, live with intense focus and intentionality.  The time for going with the flow is over.  You need to put your oars in the water and paddle for all you’re worth!  Make an Action Plan.  Map out where you want to be.  Do you want to start that business?  Do you want to leave your job for a better one?  Do you want to eat healthier and get in shape?  Do you want better relationships in your life?  Then figure out what needs to change in your life in order to make it happen.  Discover your why and let it drive you.  Write it all down.  Commit to it.  Own it.  Carry that with you every day.  Then work every day, grind, push and shout at the world until you realize your goals!

The mission of this blog at Org4Life Solutions is to help folks find that focus and that why.  Discover what it is they really want.  Figure out what’s standing in the way and overcome it.  Create a plan and work it.  If I can help just one person make that seismic shift, it will have all been worth it.  So, I encourage you to join my mailing list so you don’t miss out on all the incredible information I will be posting up here every week.  I promise you will not be disappointed.  And if you don’t choose to find your answers here, go somewhere else.  The internet is awash with free sites to help you make your life successful.  Just do something, pick one and follow through.

This is your life.  It’s not Trump’s. It’s not the Republicans’ or Democrats’.  It’s not your boss’.  It’s not your mom’s.  It’s all about YOU and YOU ALONE.  Make 2018 your year of action.  Don’t miss this opportunity to become the person you have never been, so you can have the things you have never had.  Onward and upward and never look back.  Own it.  Be it.  Achieve it!



Well what do you know?  We all survived 2017!  So, was 2017 everything you thought it would be?  Are you sad to see it go or are you ecstatic to see it in your rearview mirror?  Whatever the case, 2018 is a new year and this is the traditional time where people reflect on where they are and where they want to be.

This article is about setting goals in 2018 and making sure you stick to them and actually achieve them.  Unfortunately, 2/3 of people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions by the end of January every year!  You don’t want to be in that group.  Here we will lay out some simple steps to help you formulate, set, keep and accomplish the right goals.  The Method we are going to use is the SMART system.  More on that later.  But first, in order to move forward, sometimes it’s a good idea to take a quick look back.

Whatever your view of 2017, there were good things and bad things that happened, high points and low points that you went through.  There are things to be learned from each so let’s see what we can learn with a quick review of the past year.  The first thing you should do right now is get a pen and paper to write on.  At the top left you will write GOOD.  On the top right you will write BAD.

Next, I want you to think of just a few of the high points, good things, that happened to you in 2017.  Maybe the birth of a child, a new job, a financial windfall, starting a new business.  Whatever it is, write it down under the “GOOD” heading.   Limit it to 3-5 events.  And for each I want you to think of how that event improved your life and write how under each event.

Now move to the “BAD” heading and think of 3-5 negative events that impacted you in 2017.  Maybe you had a health reversal, lost a job or ended a relationship.  Whatever it is write it down.  But for each of these, I want you to give some thought to how that event taught you a lesson.  What did it show you that you could have done better or differently?  Write that lesson learned under each negative event.

Look at those two columns.  There are lessons to be learned in each.  Cherish the good things and think about how you can get more of that in 2018.  Appreciate the lessons you can learn from the bad things and think about how you can avoid those things going forward.

The second step is to identify and prioritize your CORE VALUES.  These are the main areas of your life, listed in order of importance.  List the following:  Family, Worship, Work, Play and Me.  These are the 5 areas that we can break your life down into.  There are other subsets of these main categories, but for now let’s just focus on these 5 main areas.  Family is your loved ones.  Worship is your spiritual pursuits.  Work is your career.  Play is your recreation.  Me is everything related to you and taking care of yourself.  Now put a 1 next to the area that is of utmost importance.  Then for the remaining four, put a 2 next to the next most important thing to you.  Continue in this manner until every item is prioritized from 1-5.

Look at that list.  It is a reflection of where you place your focus.  It is a statement of who you are as a person and what you allow to happen in your life.  For instance, if Family is number one, then you won’t allow Work or Play to take time away from your Family.  If Worship is number one, you won’t allow Work or Play to interfere with it.  And so on and so on, I think you get the point.  It’s important to do this because the next step relies on knowing your Core Values.

The third step is laying out your actual goals for 2018.  Think of 5-10 things that you most want to accomplish in 2018.  They can range from financial goals to family goals to health and nutrition goals or career goals.  Or maybe they could be personal improvement or spiritual goals.  We don’t want too many, neither do we want too few.  So keep it in the range of 5-10 things.  But, use the SMART system to formulate your goals.  What exactly is the SMART system?

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.

Specific means clearly defining what you want and why.  You can’t simply say you want to make more money.  You have to say exactly how much, like $100k, $200k, etc.  Then you have to know exactly WHY you want it.  What will it do for you?  How will having it benefit you and your loved ones?  It’s important to know your why because it is what will keep you motivated when the going gets tough.  And writing these things down will brand it into your subconscious and make it real to you.

Measurable means you can define exactly when you accomplish that goal.  So, if the goal is to lose 20 pounds, you can measure that because the scale will tell you when you get there.  Simply saying I want to slim down is not measurable.

Attainable means it is humanly within your ability to do it.  Simply put, your goal should not be to leap 500 feet in the air, or become an Olympic level skater in 1 year.  These things are simply not realistic.  Realistic goals are things you can reasonably expect to accomplish within a given time frame with the resources you have at your disposal now or those you can realistically hope to obtain within the given time frame.

Relevant means it fits in harmony with your core values and the other goals you want to attain.  For instance, maybe you want a new job.  Maybe you need to educate yourself in some other field of endeavor, or complete a course.  That goal supports the other so it’s relevant.

Time Bound means putting a deadline on the goal.  There is a principle that goes “The time it takes to accomplish any task will expand to fit the time allotted for it.”  That simply means if you never set a deadline to accomplish something, you will never accomplish that something.  So if you want to save $1,000 for your emergency fund for instance, set deadlines and milestones.  Like saving $100 per month for 10 months.  That’s a deadline you can track and chart your results with.

So list your goals with the SMART system in mind.  Once you have your list of goals, think of the things, people, systems or knowledge that you will need to assemble in your life to support getting them done.  If you want to grow your wealth or get a new job, think about what people or groups would be supportive in getting you there.  Also, think about what negative people you need to remove from your life that will only hold you back from that goal.  If you want to start a business, what knowledge do you need to obtain to do it?  List that and make a point to get after it.

Finally, I will leave you with 5 tips:

  1. Get an accountability partner.  Let someone in your circle whom you trust know what you want and when you’re supposed to get it, then enlist them to check up on you at regular intervals to ensure you are on the right track.
  2. Live in daily state of gratitude. Begin each day by listing a few of the things you are grateful for having in your life.  This will keep you positive and on track.
  3. Remember your “WHY” every day. Keep it close to you.  Write it down, carry it with you.  Read it daily because this will motivate you to keep going when the going gets tough and the crabs are nipping at your heels.
  4. Document your journey. Make a point to keep a journal and write in it at the end of every day.  Jot down your successes, your “failures” and how you intend to learn from each.  When you can look back over a solid, written record of progress it reinforces in your mind that you have come a long way and you can get to your ultimate goal.
  5. Remember to celebrate your milestones. If you reach a critical milestone on the way to accomplishing a major goal, or especially if you actually accomplish that major goal, celebrate!  Go out for dinner, take in a movie, buy a little something.  You don’t need to go overboard, but do something to reward yourself for a job well done.  This will refresh and recharge you for the journey ahead.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything you will need to do to accomplish your goals in 2018.  There are a lot of things that go into a successful year.  But these principles I have shared with you have helped me and the clients I work with to reach the goals that they dream of in life.  I hope you find them equally as useful.  For more tips, head on over to my blog at www.org4lifesolutions.com and join my email list to stay up on the latest on setting your life up for success and wealth.  Just remember, it won’t do you any good unless you actually put the work in!  So onward to success in 2018.  I wish you every good success.  Own it, be it, achieve it.  Now go out there and let the world know you are coming for it and it better get out of your way!



In the last 30 days or so we’ve seen Texas get walloped by a historic monster hurricane Harvey, The Caribbean and Florida get smacked down by Irma and Mexico get rocked by a devastating earthquake.  And prior to that, who can forget Katrina or Sandy?  We can all learn something from these events:  Wherever you live, it’s not a question of whether or not you will experience a disaster, but rather when you will experience a disaster.

The Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, South and West have seen wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, super storms, terror attacks, school and workplace shootings, blizzards…  I think you get the point, right?  It seems like no one is immune anymore.  So now that you know it can and will happen to you at some point, what can you do to prepare?  What can you do when the power and water stop flowing?  Let’s talk about the 5 things you need to do to get organized before a disaster hits so you can be a functional survivor and not just a victim.

1.  Know What To Do. In any emergency or disaster, knowing what to do in the first few seconds can mean the difference between life and death. So arm yourself beforehand with the knowledge you need to keep yourself and your loved ones alive.  Here are a few potentially life-saving tips:

  • Earthquakes– It’s a long-held myth that you should stand in a doorway.  The U.S. Geological Survey debunks that on their website.  They say doorways are no safer now than other parts of the home and you could get injured by swinging doors or flying debris.  They recommend the “Drop, Cover And Hold On” method.  That is, drop to the floor, make yourself as small as possible and get under a sturdy piece of furniture like a desk or table.  As soon as you can thereafter get out of, and away from, buildings.  They can collapse on you in any aftershocks that may follow.
  • Hurricanes– Get out of the storm zone as soon as you can when warnings come from government officials or if unable to evacuate, go to a designated storm shelter.
  • Tornadoes– Get to a storm shelter or basement as soon as possible. When those are not available, get into a bath tub or closet.  Make sure to stay away from windows where flying glass and debris can seriously hurt you.  If trapped outside, get into a low-lying area like a drainage ditch.
  • Fires– Get to the nearest exit as soon as possible! Leave personal items behind.  They can be replaced.  Your life cannot.  Fires move quickly and seconds matter.  Stay as close to floors as possible.  In smoke situations, wet a cloth or piece of clothing and cover your nose and mouth.  Most who die in fires don’t die from the actual flames, but rather from smoke inhalation.
  • Active shooters– The Department of Homeland Security advises that you first try to get out of the building or area. Failing that, hide!  Lock or block doors with heavy furniture.  Use belts to tie around door return arms to keep them from opening.  Dial 911 and let authorities know where you are.  If the shooter is nearby, stay as quiet as possible.  Text others instead of calling if need be.  Silence phones and other devices.  Remain calm.  As a last resort, when escape is not possible, take action.  Act as aggressively as possible.  Yell, throw items, use anything you can get your hands on as an improvised weapon.  Once you make the decision to act, stay committed to the course and don’t hesitate.  Remember, this is a life or death situation!

2.  Know What You Need. Food and water are your first priorities.  FEMA recommends one gallon of water per person, per day.  And you should count on having at least 3 days’ worth stockpiled.  That means for a family of four, you should have 12 gallons on hand.  Have a supply of non-perishable foods like freeze- dried and canned goods.  And make sure each family member has a “Go Bag” stocked with items ahead of time such as a flashlight, batteries, radio, first aid kit, personal toiletries, dust mask, whistle and other essentials.

3.  Know Where To Go. Have a designated spot where the family will meet in emergencies.  That should consist of a nearby spot and a far spot.  The nearby spot would be, say, a tree at the corner in the event of a fire in the home or some other neighborhood spot.  A far spot would be a library, place of worship or other easily identified and reachable building outside your neighborhood.

4.  Know Who To Call. As part of your go bag you should have a list of emergency contacts written on paper and kept in a zip lock bag to protect against moisture.  Cell phones can die from lack of power, water or other outside influences.  But paper lasts and can help you once you reach a working cell phone or landline.

5.  Practice, Practice, Practice! Rehearse your evacuation, action and escape plans.  Know the nearest exits in buildings you frequent such as work and school.  Familiarize yourself with your child’s school emergency plans.  Coordinate with neighbors and discuss how each can help out in an emergency.  Do practice walk-throughs with your family at least once a year for how to evacuate the home or get to your meet-up points.

The bottom line is, prepare!  Forewarned is forearmed.  Heed warnings and don’t think you’re special.  It’s just not worth your life or that of your loved ones.  If you do these simple things you can help protect yourself against an ongoing emergency or disaster and the effects afterward.  For more help on getting organized for disasters visit our website at www.Org4LifeSolutions.com and sign up for our free newsletter.  Follow our blog for regular helpful advice in all areas of life organization.  The better organized you are in all respects, the better prepared you will be to meet any and all unexpected events.  Good health to you and yours!