Resolve to Track Your Miles in 2017

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had as nice a turning of the calendar page as I did, whether you partied hard, binged on Netflix, or (if you’re super cool like me) got all of your tax preparation for 2016 ironed out. 😉

I know; I’m hopeless. I’ve found that what I like best about a new year isn’t actually the fresh start so much as the firmly closed door. I like to finish things. I like a completed project, list, book, etc. so I can sort and file it accordingly. A calendar year is no different. Part of my joy on New Year’s Day has become organizing.

I set up my new planner (which includes setting my goals and intentions) and store my old one away. I square off my financial records for work and print them so they’ll be easy to see come tax time (more on that later). I go through my joy jar to reflect on all the wonderful things that happened in the past year, and then I create a new label and empty the jar for the year to come. I may never make it onto a list of the top 100 super cool people, but it’s incredibly satisfying.

Which brings me to the crux of today’s post. I realized that it’s been a little while since I added any new documents to The Organized Writer. My hope in 2017 is to have a writer’s expense/earning spreadsheet available by tax day (April 18th.) My intention is for it to be the first for-purchase resource available at The Organized Writer, because although the donation system is better than nothing, the trickle of tips isn’t quite cutting it.

But since I don’t have that spreadsheet ready yet, today I’m offering something related: my work mileage tracking chart. It’s a super simple little freebie, and as with all of my documents, you’re welcome to modify it to suit your needs. In fact, it’s one I’ve modified from one sent to me by author Regina Richards, who first encouraged me to start tracking my miles. So big thanks, Regina!

If you haven’t been keeping track of your work mileage for tax purposes, how great and easy of a resolution would that be for 2017?

Although this document is at The Organized Writer, it can be used for pretty much any occupation. In fact, feel free to print two or more on different colored paper to keep track of your mileage for all of your jobs. And yes, writers, you should be doing this too! If you file taxes, you should track miles. Driving to and from critique groups, writers’ meetings, conferences, speaking events, book signings, etc. are all valid work expenses.

All you need to do is print the document, stick it on a clipboard or in a folder, and put it with a pen in your car. Preferably somewhere that you’ll notice it, like in your side door, to remind you to get into the habit of resetting your odometer before each work trip. When you get home, fill out the few relevant fields (date, destination, purpose, mileage, etc., like “1/2/17, Such and Such Coffee Shop, research interview with Joann, 10.6 miles”). That’s it! Come tax time, add up your miles and deduct, deduct, deduct.

For those of you unfamiliar with Excel, the best way to print this is to highlight the relevant cells (A1-G100) and “print selection” with the option to “fit all columns on one page.” You’ll have a handy little 3-page chart to keep in your car.

As far as resolutions go, this one is free, easy, and potentially saves/earns you money come tax time. It doesn’t get much better than that, right?

Of course, if you like the mileage tracking chart or enjoy any of the other resources available for free at The Organized Writer, please consider tipping me a dollar or two through PayPal! If you can’t spare the change, please don’t worry; you’re still welcome to the resources.

I wish you all a happy, productive, and wonderful 2017, whether it keeps you near or takes you far.

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