CNBC Make It is posting a new financial task to tackle each day for a month. These are all meant to be simple, time-sensitive activities to take your mind off of the news for a moment and, hopefully, put you on sturdier financial footing. This is day four of 30.
We all have something we know we should do but keep putting off, especially when it comes to our finances. Maybe it's opening a high-yield savings account, increasing your retirement contributions or calling the bank about an annoying ATM fee.
Whatever it is, take 10 minutes to finally get it done today. You'll benefit from whatever the task is and have one less thing to worry about this week.
Typically if there is something you're putting off, it's not because you don't have the capability to accomplish it, writes leadership coach Peter Bregman for the Harvard Business Review. It's usually because it's difficult to build up the momentum to actually start the task.
He suggests identifying what transition you need to get started. Is it picking up the phone to call your bank? Or finding your brokerage account password and logging in? Once you've identified it, schedule a time and place to get started on that transition. Acknowledging it will make it easier to overcome your inertia and complete the chore.
If a certain task doesn't immediately come to mind for you to accomplish, here are a few examples of things you may be putting off, intentionally or not:
- Update the beneficiary on your retirement accounts
- Open a brokerage account
- Check your credit report
- Rollover your old 401(k)
- Set up a virtual appointment with a financial advisor
- Set up a recurring donation to a charity or nonprofit
Going forward, you can implement the OHIO productivity hack championed by Bob Pozen, senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of "Extreme Productivity."
OHIO, which stands for Only Handle It Once, means that as soon as there is a mundane task to accomplish, rather than putting it off, you should just do it and move on. That way, you won't waste time and mental energy worrying about it, and it will be less of a distraction in your life.
- Review how your spending has changed over the past few weeks
- Set up a system to track your spending
- Working from home? It's a great time to complete these 6 financial tasks you've been putting off