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How to Get Out of a Financial Rut

Have you ever been going about your daily routine and suddenly felt a wave of panic? Whether it’s a missed teeth cleaning, an unpaid bill, or an overdue library book, incomplete tasks can weigh heavily on your psyche. When it comes to your finances, incomplete tasks can also weigh heavily on your bank account. That’s why I started making lists of everything incomplete in my life. It only takes a bit of time, once a week and you can clean up your mental, as well as financial, clutter.

That Sinking Feeling
Do you have loan paperwork or other important financial documents that you have yet to send to your financial advisor? Write down your incompletes and schedule hard deadlines for when you plan to complete them. Imagine if instead of cursing at a pile of tax papers that have yet to be filed, you have a set day in your planner where you intend to finish that task. Once something is on paper where you can see it everyday, it’s harder to ignore.

This same philosophy applies to your physical space as well as your finances. You can’t expect to get any organizing done if your financial documents are piled between books and sweaters. Start with the physical obstacles. If every time you walk past a window you have yet to buy curtains for you get a stab of guilt, schedule it. Write it down and set a date to get it done.

To get ahead financially, imagine all of your accounts, documents and appointments with advisors as moving gears in a great machine. If one gear goes missing, the entire system breaks down.

Delegating tasks, even if it’s to yourself, will quell feelings of impending doom. By listing every incomplete in your life and making it right, you can be sure your goals won’t get bogged down.

Some tips of the trade (things that I do to ease stress when overwhelmed by incompletes):

Walk of Completion
Take a walk and with every step state all the incomplete items in your mental space. Walk until you can’t think of one more item that clouds your mind. Turn around and walk back. With every step back forgive those tasks. You can say something such as, “I am letting myself off the hook for not cleaning out my garage.” Now take out a piece of paper and free write every item that comes to mind that you need to accomplish. The list that comes out of this exercise is always incredibly clear and concise.

Clearing House
Go through your entire house and pull any item, piece of paper, detail that is out of place and put into a huge box. Clear off an entire table that you can use for an action staging area. Take each item out of the box and label each with an action such as, “Call, Send, Replace, Mail, Fax or Mend” Cluster each item in the appropriate action category. All items to send are in one area and so on. Now pick two activities that you are going to do and do those. It may be to make calls and send faxes. After you complete those two tasks chose another two tasks. You will be amazed at how efficient you become.

What tips do you have to get out of a financial rut? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment …

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