Checklist: Getting Started

The Very Basic Essentials ‘Everything’ Checklists

What frequently happens, when something bad happens, is a sort of soul-sucking shit-storm snow-ball effect begins and a lot of other things go wrong, too. This is not good timing.  Or you have to make hard, complicated decisions where you are at your worst. Also very not good. Knowing where to start, or what to do next, is sometimes all we need to get one thing done or feel a little less anxious.

Download the checklist here!

The ‘Before’ Checklist (full checklist below): Because I had to dig out of a neck deep, confusing, sad and expensive mess that took years to figure out and fix (years!) after the shit had hit the fan, I learned (the hard way) the handful of things I’d wish I done before life went sideways that would have really helped . The ‘before’ list captured the basic things that would have made the hardest time in my life perhaps just a bit softer.

And so I published it on the first and original Get Your Shit Together website I loved (and still do) dearly and pushed in out into the world, hoping a few people would see it and would be helpful to my friends and family. Well, about a year later it had been downloaded over a million times. Wow.

Get Your Shit Together original website, January 2013

The ‘After’ Checklist (full checklist below): However! Once the website launched and millions of people used it, thousands of letters started pouring in – many were thankful for the help – the others were asking what to do because they were currently in a world of hurt in the ‘afterwards’ and just like me a few years before – had no idea what to do. It’s a really sucky, suck-ass place to be. Hence, the ‘After’ Checklist, to help think through what to do when you don’t know what to do.


Will & Power of Attorney

____ I have completed my Will & Power of Attorney (POA) and listed:    Durable Power of Attorney for Financial, Digital, and Medical, or other roles to people I trust and have a backup person listed for each role.

  • The will is signed, notarized, and a copy has been given to those listed. 

My copy of my will is located here: ________________________________

Living Will

____ I have completed my Living Will (also called an Advance Care Directive).

  • Named a healthcare advocate and a back-up person
  • Additional information and notice to your doctor
  • Discussed your wishes friends and family (wants and don’t want)
  • Discussed or written down the type of funeral or memorial service you desire and any instructions about burial or cremation
  • Considered where and how I would like to be cared for if I were terminally ill and discussed this with those closest to me

     ____ The living will is signed, notarized, and a copy has been given to those named or listed. 

My copy of my living will is located here: ____________________


____ I have researched Life Insurance options and purchased the best possible plan for me and/or my family.

  • I have researched short-term Disability and completed all steps.
  • I have researched long-term Disability and completed all steps.

My copy of my policy is located here: ________________________________


____ I have reviewed my financial situation and, if necessary, discussed this with those closest to me.

  • I have completed a budget and track monthly actual costs to my budget.
  • I have ______ weeks/months of expenses saved in case of emergency.
  • I have ______ weeks/months of expenses saved in case of emergency.
  • I have a plan to meet my goal _________ by this date ________________
  • I have a long-term savings plan and/or retirement plan.

A list of my banking and financial accounts is located here:____________


____ I have listed my Personal Details out in case of emergency or some one else needs to retrieve it (passwords, contact information, accounts, etc)

A copy of my details list is located here: _____________________________


____ I have thought about my relationships and how I want to move forward to resolve any unfinished business.

  • I have reached out to those people
  • I have deeply considered how my life lines up with my values and priorities, how I am spending my energy, and what I want to do differently to have the life that is meaningful and important to me.

Getting Started: Pick 3 Things

  • What worries me most: ______________________________________________
  • Has been on my list the longest: _____________________________________
  • Will be relieved once it is done: ______________________________________

THE AFTER CHECKLIST (coming ASAP, promise!)