It’s interesting how much a deadline can ramp up activity. As the football season approaches, it seems as though there is finally activity on the NFL lockout front. Our political leaders privately appear to at least be coming up with ideas and meeting before the debt ceiling and government shutdown deadline of August 2nd.
A past supervisor used to tell me how work always fits into the time we allot for it. The problem with many of the tasks we need to deal with related to our personal finances is we have all the time in the world allotted to take care of it; and only the good intention of actually working on our financial concerns.
A deadline can be a powerful tool for tackling your personal financial status quo. It’s a busy world. We all have plenty to do, and less time to do it in. Placing a deadline is an active step you can take to place non-urgent yet important tasks into a priority system where we create a level of importance to deal with them.
For added incentive, rank the deadline ahead of something you know you will want. It’s easy to do, just tell yourself:
Before I spend money on that new ______ next week, I need to examine my cash flow.
I will pull together the financial statements for my financial advisor by next Thursday.
For a deadline to work, have a realistic date in mind you can accomplish your task by. Put it on your calendar, and if you use an online calendar or task list, set reminders several days in advance to keep it front of mind.
Deadlines aren’t only useful for the hard tasks, but can be just as helpful for the simple things you always mean to get around to. If the activity requires multiple steps (hiring a financial advisor to help with your retirement plan for example), something as simple ‘research local financial advisors on the web’ is a great first step towards your ultimate goal.
And unlike the government, fight off the urge to postpone action on your tasks.
It’s not easy in the summer to gather the motivated to deal with financial tasks, but don’t kid yourself that fall or winter commitments will be any less. Create a deadline now to take the first step in tackling your pressing financial concerns.
The preceding blog was originally published by the Financial Planning Association®(FPA®). To view the original blog please visit the FPA Web site.