Four simple steps to stop procrastinating and get financially fit

by - February 14, 2018

Like most people, I sometimes procrastinate. Currently, I have a few projects I'm working on and I've repeatedly pushed them back. It's not that they are not important. I just find other things to do. 

Procrastination is a common enemy we all face and taking steps to eliminate it is necessary for financial success.

Procrastination is defined as putting something off even if you expect to be worse off as a result. It’s also about putting off things that are definitely good for you.

So, if you are like me and you are prone to procrastination – and this stretches to your financial planning – this post might help change your ways. Presuming you finish reading it, that is. 😊

The number of people who identify themselves as chronic procrastinators has grown from 5% in 1978 to 26% in 2007, according to research by Piers Steel, a University of Calgary psychologist and author of  The Procrastination Equation.

Even though there's a little procrastinator in all of us, there's a difference between putting off doing the laundry or washing the car and not paying your bills on time. Procrastination could be termed the “thief of money” when it comes to personal finance.

A paper by two economists Jeffrey Brown and Alessandro Previtero shows that people who procrastinate are less likely to participate in savings plans, take longer to sign up when they do decide to participate, and contribute less money to their retirement plans than non procrastinators.
So why do we put off the important things that will help us achieve financial freedom? According to the behavioral economist Dan Ariely, we don’t fail to act on our goals simply because we’re not determined enough. The problem is we don’t see what we’re giving up.
If you have been procrastinating about your finances, it is time to stop. Procrastinating can get you into debt and cause you to lose money. If you wait too long to save, you might not have enough to retire. And if you wait too long to pay off debt, you may find yourself drowning in debt. Waiting to invest money can cost quite a bit in compound interest over time requiring years more work to get the desired result.  But if you start working on your finances today, the better your chances of getting compound growth working for you.

Creating good habits now will stick with you the rest of your life. Here are simple steps to stop procrastinating and get financially fit.

1. When it comes to achieving something great, something worthwhile, taking the first step is often the hardest part. Often we wait for the perfect time and system when we can just do things right now. "Putting it off doesn’t make the bills go away. Like Nike says, “Just Do It”. There’s no point in waiting until a later time to pay of your bill. You’re going to have to pay it eventually. So might as well do it.  But if you’re to make progress on your financial goals, then making a start is essential

2. Focus on one thing - one small thing that can actually be accomplished. This doesn’t have to be a large project or tedious task, just something that will help you stay engaged with your money. And smaller does not mean less important.

3. Keep track of how you spend your time. Get yourself a notebook/diary and a pen and write down everything that you do and how much time you spend on it. Do this for a week. You will be shocked to discover that you waste your time aimlessly surfing the web and “engaging” on Twitter or WhatsApp on activities that don't improve your quality of life, and so on.

4. As a fellow procrastinator, I have come to understand that most hesitance comes from fear, especially of the unknown. For most of us, money fall into this category. It's a natural source of stress and anxiety. This leads to the vicious cycle of more procrastination, guilt and worry.
But your money is not something to be afraid of! Investing sooner means more time in the market, and thus more time for your money to grow.  So  STOPdelaying. Take control today.

 If you are still struggling to get your financial house in order then you may need to do some serious soul-searching.Be brutally honest answering this: how do you spend your time each day?  Once you know the reason why you’re so hesitant to do certain things, you’ll have an easier time finding a solution. 

If you find yourself going back to your old procrastinating ways, don’t get discouraged. It takes time to change old habits, but once you do, you will be on the road to financial freedom.

What are some of the things you know you really need to get done, but you’ve been dragging your heels on?

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