It seems like everyone is always busy, but are we getting everything done that we set out to accomplish each day? Being busy is not the same as being productive. Being productive involves prioritizing our tasks, being flexible, and delegating to complete the important tasks that are required of us and make us feel accomplished. These are important in your life, career and you finances. We know that we can’t do it all – so why do we keep trying? Here are three helpful tips to get things done:
If you try to accomplish 27 tasks in one day, you are setting yourself up for failure and frustration. Focus on the top 3 to 5 items on your list and see if you can delegate or defer the others. Make sure you understand the time commitment associated with each task and budget time on your schedule accordingly. We all know that unexpected issues can pop up throughout the day, and some may require your immediate attention. Block some time on your calendar to deal with the “unknown” tasks. The same is true for your financial planning goals. Fixed expenses aside, what are your spending and savings goals? Make sure to list them in order of importance and, when you have added income, distribute money to these goals in order of priority.
- Be Flexible
Life rarely goes according to plan. You may start your day with a grand plan of all of the things you are going to accomplish or check off your list and you may not get to any of them. Maybe a client emergency comes up that needs your attention, or your child is sent home from school with pink eye and cannot go back until he has been on antibiotics for 24 hours, or a snow storm cancels your flights and obstructs traffic. This can be very frustrating, so it’s important to build flexibility into your day, and quickly reprioritize your goals as needed. This can lessen the negative impact of unforeseen events. These same surprising events also happen with our finances. Your income or life circumstances may change, the market fluctuates, etc. So you should be ready to adjust your financial plan and lifestyle accordingly.
Delegating tasks to others can be more difficult than it sounds. Some tasks we are more than happy to give up, and others we cling to out of habit, joy, or circumstance. For instance, I have some friends who really enjoy giving their home a good scrubbing and bask in the satisfaction of a job well done. I am not one of those people. Housework is the absolute last thing on my list that gives me joy. Fortunately, my husband doesn’t mind it as much, but he frequently travels for work. Don’t get me wrong, I love a clean house, but I don’t love the act of cleaning it – so this is a task that we have chosen to delegate. Don’t like to cook? Hire a meal delivery service a couple of times a week. Don’t like to run errands? Look on Care.com for someone who will do it for you. Don’t like to mow or pick up leaves? There are plenty of poor college students out there looking for quick cash.
All of these services come with a cost, so make sure that they are also a priority in your budget. In the workplace, people often neglect to delegate tasks because they think they can do it better or faster than someone else, or it will take longer to teach someone how to do it than to just do it themselves. Take the time to teach your assistant or team members how to do the job up to your standards. This may set them up to handle future tasks and soon you may find it easier to relinquish control in the name of efficiency.
As a financial planner, I find that two areas frequently overwhelm my clients: financial planning and investments. These tasks can be frustrating and tricky but are likely high on your priority list. Fortunately, they can also be outsourced. If you work with a financial planner and professional investment team to manage your affairs, you are basically hiring your own personal CFO. You are simultaneously delegating these tasks and keeping them as a top priority. A financial planner can work with you to identify your goals and objectives, create a specific plan, and help you take action to accomplish them. They can also do a lot of the legwork for you in terms of implementation and serve as an accountability partner in getting things done.
Many people enjoy reviewing their financial affairs, creating and maintaining a budget, and doing long term savings projections and calculations, but they simply do not have the time to get it done. Some enjoy researching the stock market, placing trades, and managing their own investment portfolio, but others feel completely overwhelmed by these tasks or it’s just not their area of expertise. Financial planning and/or investing your own hard-earned money can be extremely personal and clients often find it difficult to be objective or make prudent decisions. By outsourcing this planning to an advisor you trust, you can receive objective guidance that will help you organize all of the moving parts in your financial life and help you develop a roadmap to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
If you are having trouble getting things done, remember: Prioritize, be flexible, and consider delegating. For more information, visit our website at makinglifecount.com or contact Jamie Bosse –firstname.lastname@example.org, (913) 345-1881.