A man named Ivy Lee once had a conversation about procrastination with Charles Schwab. He explained that if managers and executives would simply make a list of the six most important things to do each day and focus on completing this list above all else, it would eliminate procrastination and ultimately result in better performance and savings. While Lee’s idea was geared toward business, it works with the same effect when applied to your personal life.
Although people don’t usually consider the consequences of procrastination on their finances, procrastination can be a huge money wasting source in your life.
As with most issues when you’re starting off, it’s better to start of slowly than try to do it all at once and burn out. Therefore instead of writing down the six most important things to get done today, simply pick one which you know you should do, but have been putting it off for whatever reason.
This one task is your guide for the day. No matter what, you need to work at completing it. It should be your focus and should be worked toward starting at this very moment. It’s your top priority! Once you complete the task, write down another one. That will be your priority for tomorrow and will ensure that you have a priority task for each and every day.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with the to do task. If it’s a huge project that you have been procrastinating on, break it down into smaller pieces to begin. For example, instead of “clean the house,” choose a specific part of the cleaning that is most important (wash the windows, clean the bathroom, mop the kitchen floor, etc.)
Once you have the to do task written down, make sure you place it someplace that you will see it first thing each morning. If you don’t place it in a prominent place, you will likely forget about it before it becomes a habit.
Once you have started and become comfortable with completing one to do task each day, move up to two tasks a day. You can figure this to be a 5 to 6 week process by adding another task to your list each week. The ultimate goal will be to have 5 – 6 to do tasks on your list each day that you can use as your guide of what should get done for that day.
If you can stay committed to this for a few months, not only will it become a habit, it’ll likely change your life. While that statement might sound a little strong, for many it truly will. Here are a few of the reasons why:
1) It will give you time. With only 24 hours in a day it never seems that we have enough time to get everything done. When you begin to take care of important things right away, you’ll find that you have a lot more time to attend to other issues.
2) It will give you a sense of accomplishment. When you write a to do task down and accomplish it, it gives you a positive feeling that you have succeeded during the day. That feeling will compound as you complete tasks each day making everything around you more positive.
3) It will save you money. The fact is that we spend a lot of money uselessly because we procrastinate and aren’t organized. Completing your to do list will save you more money than you can imagine.
While obviously not all the items you write on your list will be of a financial nature, over time a good many of them will. On a personal level, I really encourage you to try and make this one a habit. I guarantee that you’ll be extremely happy you did and your finances also will.