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Stressing About Money? Clean Up Your Agreements

My husband and I were up late the other night, stressing about money. I was ill prepared. I was exhausted depleted, tired in a way that I don’t get tired unless I’m getting sick, and I wasn’t sick.

Being so exhausted, a normal response would have been to say, “Let’s get some rest and talk in morning.” But I suddenly realized the kind of tired I was would not be mended by sleep. I realized that in the flow of my busy, changing life, things were picking up so much that I had left a slew of broken agreements in my wake. Tentative get-togethers with friends and colleagues were left unplanned. I hadn’t taken a run in four days, and running is my biggest stress relief.

Instead of going to sleep, I said, “Give me fifteen minutes to go clean up some agreements.” I went to my computer, consulted my calendar, owned up to the commitments I had been putting off, wrote some emails to apologize and reschedule for a time that seemed more do-able, and made a plan to run three days this week. Then I sent an email to enlist support from a friend in that goal.

A Caffeine-Free Buzz
I was energized. Fifteen minutes later, and a handful of the things that had been silently weighing me down, were off my plate. From that point, I made a quick to-do list that was totally refreshed, and dropped all of the anxious anticipation of thinking I’d never accomplish all that needed to be done in the week.

Even better, I returned to the conversation with my husband with clear-eyed creativity, and we were able to solve the money issue in front of us with a new focus. Cleaning up broken agreements is exhilarating.

What Is an Agreement?
I had made an agreement with friend to get together over the weekend. But when I said, “Let’s just check in and make plans then,” I had no real intention of getting together. I was so busy and overwhelmed, I didn’t take the time to say, “This is not a good weekend. I’m not sure when a good time will be. But I love you and want to connect. Is there another way we can do it?” Instead, I created a loose end I had to tie up at some point. And that is draining. If I’m walking around with a low level of anxiety because at some point in the future I’m going to have to tie up all of the loose ends I put off, of course I’m exhausted. A lot of people never realize this relationship, and feel weighted down all the time as a result.

Restarting the Money Flow
Imagine the financial things you put off because they just feel like too much … bill paying, cash flow planning, goal setting, retirement planning, grocery budgeting. Have you made any agreements with yourself to tackle any of those? Are you letting them slide, and feeling the increased weight of them the longer you wait? What are your agreements?

If you’re exhausted and you’ve slept enough, write a list of your “incompletes.” List the things you said you would do and didn’t. Then one by one, address them. Reschedule, make calls, send emails, and get them done. You’ll feel like you took a magic nap that gave you back the gift of your imagination and your resources.

Originally published on GreenSherpa