Be Productive in Life and Finances

Be Productive in Life and Finances. Being productive is not easy; and the hardest part is always the execution. With enough thought, anyone can come up with a great (or at least adequate) plan. It's also usually easy to determine the things we need to do. It's usually the executions that holds us up. Doing so would still require a mostly personal approach. But in case it's helpful, I'd like to share what I do to not fall back on bad habits: Write it down; use a checklist, Start the day right, Start small, Make it habit. And the great thing about it is that it also applies to personal finance.
Being productive is not easy; and the hardest part is always the execution. With enough thought, anyone can come up with a great (or at least adequate) plan. It's also usually easy to determine the things we need to do.

It's usually the executions that holds us up. How you overcome laziness or procrastination is a personal matter though. You'll have to find what motivates you.

But once you do, it's best not to let yourself slip into bad habits. In my experience, that usually means having to come up with a better motivation just to reach the same level of productivity again.

And that's a problem, because what you need to do is improve yourself, not stay the same. Doing so would still require a mostly personal approach. But in case it's helpful, I'd like to share what I do to not fall back into laziness.


Write it down; use a checklist.

I like lists. It's tangible, finite, and visual. It's makes it much simpler to focus on executing and even optimizing your tasks instead of using up brain power just to remember what they are in the first place.

And of course, when you have a list, it's easier to prioritize. You won't suddenly find yourself wondering what you did with your time and how you missed doing all the important stuff.

Start the day right

Once you've got a list, get something done right away. For me, my biggest problem is when I spend my morning doing unimportant tasks or simply just wasting away the morning.

For most people, especially office employees, the morning can seemingly be "free" time before the day's hectic period begins. But it can actually be more helpful to get a head start on the work needed.

One boss I had in the past said he liked coming in early and start answering and sending emails. That way, once everyone starts working they're playing catch-up while he has some focus-time and gets a lot done. This in turn let's him stay ahead of the work and set the pace while everyone just reacts.

It may not work for everyone. But the important thing is to find an early-day routine to get you started on the right path.

Start small

Victories, no matter how small, are morale boosters. And people with high morale tend to be more productive.

So if there's a few easy tasks on your list, get those done first to build momentum. Just be sure they won't take up too much time so you'll still have plenty of time for the more difficult tasks.

Reward yourself.

One of the best ways to keep you motivated. No accomplishment is too small that it's not worth celebrating. Just make sure the reward is directly proportional to the accomplishment.

Make it habit.

Rinse and repeat. If it worked for you, keep doing it until it doesn't. Because in all probability, whatever you did is not something that you can start and stop at any time. If you keep stopping it, at some point it just won't work for you anymore - you'll need a new or better approach.

Wait, the title says be productive in life and finances, so how does this relate to your personal finances, you ask?

Easy...

Write down your goals.

Travel the world? Own a house, car, your own business? Pay off debts?

Whatever they are, no matter how small or big, write them down and prioritize them. You may need to revisit and re-prioritize every year or so. But for the most part this is your list of dreams, so keep it with you at all times and never forget about it.

Start the day right

What can you do today to achieve your goals?

Every days brings new opportunities, so don't just take it for granted and assume nothing can be done today just because it's a long-term goal.

It doesn't mean checking your stock portfolio or equity fund everyday. But it can mean making a financial plan for your goals, learning to write a business plan, or learning more about how loans work and if that high-interest debt can be more affordable if you take out a lower-interest personal loan.

Start small

Take that small first step. Maybe by canvassing prices or finding a resource to learn more about that business.

It can even mean paying off the smaller debts first. Mathematically, paying off the largest one with the highest-interest is most efficient, but getting those small victories can be just as valuable emotionally.

Reward yourself

Personal finance isn't just about saving and sacrificing. Sure you need to forgo luxuries and non-essential expenses, but every now and then you need to treat yourself too.

Make it a habit

With planning and perseverance, you'll eventually get through all the items on your checklist. It's important to point out that personal finance is as much about building good habits than anything else.


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photo credit: Ricecracker. via photopin cc

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