There are certain phrases in life, that if we tell ourselves enough, we eventually believe it. “I’m too busy” is one of those phrases, and I believe it should be banned from everyone’s vocabulary.
I struggled with procrastination and “being too busy” with many things in my life, such as learning to play my violin and how to manage my money. They are really just excuses, because if I had really wanted to do these things, I would have found the time. In other words, I procrastinated to avoid doing thing I knew I had to do, but didn’t want to do.
“If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done” – James Clear
When you love doing what you do
But let me tell you where I absolutely don’t procrastinate.
I love love love writing to you – so I always manage to find the time to fit in a blog post or two.
Two years ago I made time to learn about building wealth, managing debt, and working to a budget. They were things I had *never* done before, but I was engrossed. I consume so much material now about finances and wealth in all of the nooks and crannies of my time – podcasts, audible, reading in my lunch breaks…. It sounds quite nerdy, but I honestly love it.
Before then, I always used an excuse of “I’m too busy” to do anything related to my money, and so it suffered. Thank goodness that attitude changed.
I also take inspiration from women like JK Rowling – she managed to write her first whole novel while caring for a young child as a single parent. Now that is dedication! I’m not planning on writing a novel any time soon, but her persistence has taught me to be disciplined with my own writing.
Tips on how to avoid the “I’m too busy trap”
Things won’t change unless you make some shifts in how you manage your money and your time. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- Spend a dedicated half-day getting things organised to make the rest of your time easier. This means that you need to get together all your bank statements and debt statements like credit cards etc and the value of any assets you own. Stick them all in a file where you can get to them easily (yes you can buy new ones if this will help!). This will save you loads of time over the coming months because you won’t have to hunt!
- Use an app like toggl to shine a light on where you’re spending your time. Make a point of tracking what you spend time on for 1 week. This includes time at work, the gym and in front of the TV. I bet you’ll spot a pattern where you could allow some time to be dedicated to your money.
- At least once a week, you need to look at your bank statements and fill out your money diary with up-to-date figures. This allows you to spot overspending issues quickly and to do something about it if you can.
- Once a month you need to plan for the upcoming month. Where do you need to allocate money? You also need to summarise the month in your money diary, and update your assets vs. liabilities chart to see your progress.
- Once every 3-6 months you need to be reviewing your goals. Which are on track, which need more attention? I’m thinking things like debt repayments, savings goals and events you need to start planning for e.g. Christmas and Birthdays!
- Once a year ideally you need to allocate time to review all your bills and switch those which savings could be made on. Review your stocks and shares (if you have them) to rebalance them as needed to suit your needs. Make plans for the year ahead to do even better!
- If you’re struggling for where to fit stuff in, do what James Clear suggests, and do 1 small thing consistently to get 1% better everyday. This could be 5 minutes at first everyday to update your money diary. Then increase it to 10 minutes and so on. Obviously once you’ve got everything set up, you can drop this down to once a week, but you’ll be in the habit by then and will hopefully keep to it! (sometimes I slip at this – I overspent this month massively because I didn’t keep an eye on my finances….next month will be much tighter again because at least I was able to realise and do something about it with tracking).
- Make money a family affair (if your children are old enough). Get them to track their pocket money and teach them how to leave some money aside for things they might want to buy in the future. Sticker charts, colouring-in charts and non-expensive rewards are all great (for adults too!). If they’re too little at the moment, take the time when they’re asleep to break open a bottle of wine and do a money-related activity.
Sadly, there is no magic wand to sort out our money. There is only education, hard work, time and PERSISTENCE.
“You don’t have to be perfect, you just need to keeping trying” – The Female Money doctor
We all have bad days. Not all of us are good at saving or paying attention to the bills, and for many of us it takes work to maintain it (myself included). The reason why I am writing this blog is because I am not good with my money naturally, and have developed ways to work with what I am good at to improve my financial situation, and I want to pass this knowledge on to you.
The aim here is not to become the next Rockefeller (although totally go for it if you do!) – its just to make sure we are secure financially, so we can enjoy our lives, and eventually our retirement WITHOUT financial stress.
So the next time you say “you’re too busy”, remember JK Rowling yeah?
Now over to you – where do you wish you procrastinated LESS, and what can you do now to correct it? Comment below or come over to my FREE Private Facebook Group!
Until next time!