Before year end, evaluate your to-do checklist for the year — things that you may have been putting off as a professional truck driver — and see if you can possibly do them.
Here is a suggested (although not comprehensive) “before new year” list of tasks to accomplish, separated by categories.
If we’ve missed one that’s important to you, please contact us.
For your convenience, we’ve listed some products from Amazon.com, with which we have an affiliate relationship.
Before Year End Truck-and Job-Related Tasks
- Organize your paperwork, including old bills of lading, load sheets, scale tickets, receipts and the like. This will help you when tax time comes around.
An expandable file (like the one shown below) works for smaller amounts of paperwork. A file box and file folders are ideal for organizing larger quantities of paperwork for record keeping purposes.
- Lubricate what needs lubricating, including those irritating little squeaks.
- Take a refresher course to sharpen your driving skills.
- If you have a cheap sleeper berth mattress, use an inexpensive fabric shaver to shave off any pills (which can be felt through bed sheets).
- If you have a Smartphone, search for trucking apps to help you find the best fuel prices, best paying loads, and money saving opportunities.
- Wash your truck outside (to reduce air resistance and remove salt you may have picked up in snowy areas).
- Clean your truck inside with the appropriate tools.
Before Year End Tasks for Owner Operators
- Invest in appropriate aerodynamic enhancements to help you get better truck fuel economy. A couple of ideas are wheel covers and trailer side skirts.
- Evaluate how different software or trucking services can save you time or money or both.
- Get truck maintenance and repair jobs done or at least scheduled. Doing preventive maintenance is a good idea, too.
- Investigate the claims of fuel additives for substantiation. Schedule tests on those that pass muster to see which ones give the greatest fuel economy comparison for return on investment.
- Determine if installing an APU, climate control device or in-truck electrification system is right for your truck and trucking business in place of idling.
Before Year End Personal Tasks
- Organize your digital files and make back-ups of those that are critical.
- Update your last will and testament. While you’re at it, update your passwords and subscriptions list.
- Sort through your clothing (or ask your home support team) to:
- mend what can be mended (like patching jeans),
- give away what you haven’t worn in a really long time and
- replace that which needs to be replaced.
- Start or expand as necessary your in-truck emergency kit.
- If you carry a pet with you, take him or her to your veterinarian for a check-up.
- Take an inventory of your in-truck food. What would you eat if you were stuck somewhere for a few days because of bad weather, a traffic jam out in the middle of nowhere, etc.? Stock up on non-perishable foods if necessary.
- Plan out your meals as best toucan for up to a month and plan accordingly.
- Invest in a meal preparation device that will help you save money by letting you eat food in your truck instead of eating out in restaurants all the time.
Practices to Adopt Before Year End
- Start an exercise program with enough variety in it so that you won’t get bored and you’ll be able to stick with it.
- Seriously work toward eliminating addictions or vices. If you can quit smoking “cold turkey,” good for you.
- Determine if you need so much of ___ (you fill in the blank). It could be a particular type of sugary or fatty snack, carbonated drinks, entertainment, etc.
- If necessary, find an accountability partner to help you through your tough times, especially when meeting your previously set goals.
Before Year End Financial Tasks
- Evaluate your finances and see if there are any tax deductions you need to take.
- If you plan to make a donation to a charitable organization, determine the criteria that are important to you.
- Investigate ways that you can earn money by sharing money saving tips with other truckers or start earning a second income right from your truck.
- Start, add to or finish setting aside your emergency fund.
- Evaluate your telephone service and telecommunications plans. Are there other products or services that will work just as well for less money?
- Evaluate your budget to:
- Determine if the ways that you’re investing your money are even keeping up with inflation. If they’re not, consider different investment vehicles and advice.
- Look at all of your bank statements and credit card statements for the last year to make sure all of the charges are yours (and that you haven’t been the victim of identity theft).
- If one is available to you, get your free annual credit report.
Before Year End Challenges for Truckers
We imagine right about now some collective groans, as if truck drivers ask, “When do you think we, as truckers, are going to take care of these tasks and still make a decent income?”
One of the challenges that truckers face is getting stuff done on the road or from the road.
Some of the “before year end” tasks can only be done in a particular place (like getting truck repairs done at your company’s terminal or taking your pet to your hometown vet).
See here The Time Management Matrix, from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. We recognize that some yearly goals can be achieved only through consistent application all year long.
We do not advocate the year-end stampede approach to what should have been done all along.
You may benefit from viewing “The Time Management Matrix” shown here from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey.
What activities do you do, personally or as a driver, that are important and which are urgent?
Perhaps making a personalized matrix will help you.
Can you take care of some of your Quadrant II (Important, Not Urgent) tasks
- while you’re waiting for your truck to be loaded or unloaded;
- while your truck is being repaired;
- while you’re watching a movie in your truck during your break; or
- at other times that may not be ideal, but when you can get at least part of your task done that gets you closer to the completion of the full task?
Money saving tip: Although we’re not like this, some people actually accomplish more under pressure or when a deadline is approaching.
If it works well for you, learn what motivates you and gear accomplishing your tasks to that motivational style — preferably well before the deadline.
While most of the tasks on the list above can be done any time of year, some are “before year end” specific (like squeezing in any more tax deductible contributions so you can put them on your income tax return for the current year).
While we have listed some tasks for you to consider doing before the end of the year, you may have your own.
List your tasks, evaluate your schedule to see where you can get at least part of your tasks done toward your larger goals, and consider what will happen if you don’t get some of the tasks done by your deadline.