Be prepared. For emergencies.
We have to deal with all kinds of contracts (insurance?), licenses (tv license or other such paperwork), a will you have drawn up, certificates, diplomas, and the like. Quite apart from paper documents, there is the matter of passwords, codes, reference numbers, … the kind of thing you need to log onto websites, activate your bank cards, use to identify yourself to the utilities companies, schools, government bodies and so on.
These have to be available whenever we deal with a diverse range of situations and in some cases – like your bank card PIN number – you will have no problem with that at all. However, do you know your electricity subscription number by heart? Or your bank's sort code? What about your national insurance number? Or that password for the site you only have to visit once every blue moon? Do you have your mortgage papers or your passport handy at short notice? How about the emergency keys to your friend’s home?
Of course, you have written those numbers down somewhere and the documents are in a safe place, but do you remember exactly where? What if there were a way to make sure you can access all of this easily and securely, and also make sure that someone else had access at a moment's notice?
Imagine an emergency situation: there is a fire and you need to decide quickly! Wouldn’t you agree that it is actually not a bad idea to keep everything important in one place for ease of access, thereby saving a lot of time and aggravation?
Live has unexpected turns.
It’s a fact of life: none of us will live forever. That's the worst case scenario, of course, but not to be neglected as it causes additional grief to those you leave behind. Even if you simply had an accident that keeps you from taking care of things yourself, similar concerns apply. Have you given any thought to what happens next?
Imagine a loved one having to go through all your belongings to find out how to cancel a tv and phone subscription, or locating the codes and passwords to make sure your online profiles are closed or removed? Just think of facebook, professional or email accounts! Would they find what they are looking for? Probably not.
These days we leave so many paper and electronic trails that cannot be easily managed without proper identification – it is hard enough to make changes to your own setup, let alone figuring out what to do about someone else’s.
Think of who you leave behind: what if you are the one taking care of all the paperwork and finances? Would you want your partner or children to deal with figuring out all of this while getting to grips with losing you? Why not make sure they have the necessary information they would need to take control of things without too much fuss?
What if you are away on a business trip or simply with a customer across town and you are missing a crucial bit of information: would someone in your office be able to provide it in no time at all? Or would that be a major problem, requiring your presence in the office and potentially lose the business because you cannot close it during your visit?
How can you ensure you have access to your information without putting it up for grabs for the world at large? In a way, a (home) office is even more delicate to deal with than our private stuff because of confidentiality and security concerns. Then again, easy access might come in handy at some point. As could making this accessible to others.
There are simple solutions to many of these concerns, and all of them apply to some degree to various situations. Here are a couple of thoughts that could inform you choice of how you want to approach this in a way that works for you:
It is always useful to plan ahead, and expect the unexpected. Yes: thinking about hard times is not the stuff of joy, but just imagine how much more unpleasant things could be if you don’t plan ahead!
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.