Are you drowning in financial clutter? Have you been meaning to set-up online banking but never got around to going through the registration process? Been a while since you comparison shopped car insurance? Haven’t checked your credit report in the past year? Never changed your account beneficiaries? You get the idea.
What is Financial Clutter?
Financial clutter is all those small financial tasks that have been on your to do list forever but are not getting done.
I have something to confess. Right now my desk is covered with junk. I have many good qualities but keeping piles of magazines, mail and other what not from taking over my office is not one of them. My kids have similar tendencies (and picking up hundreds of Legos off the floor is not any fun). We do have a method of keeping the mess manageable. While we use this for our physical clutter it is also a great method to jump start your financial clutter.
10 Minutes of Action
My kids are young and the idea of spending a day (or even an afternoon) cleaning is so overwhelming that it pushes them towards inaction. Instead of making progress they’ll sit with their stuff not knowing where to start. To combat this we do something we call “10 Minutes of Action”. Here’s what it looks like when we are managing a mess:
- Before we start we all get together and brainstorm a game plan – what will make the biggest difference in 10 minutes?
- Set a timer for 10 minutes and spend that time in constant motion.
- Focus on the things that will give you your biggest bang (moving everything off the floor) and don’t worry about small details (sorting books by category).
- Do nothing but move forward on your task until the timer goes off.
- What does the 10 minutes achieve? Perfection? No. Progress? Yes!
Spend 10 Minutes on Your Financial Clutter Today
Some of your financial projects may feel overwhelmingly large. Do you need to research 20 different mutual funds so you can make 401k  selections? Are there years worth of files waiting for you to separate the important papers  from the junk? Any large project can be broken down into a list of smaller tasks.
Trying to do everything all at once makes it seem overwhelming. If you can break it down into tasks that only take a few minutes it will be easier to cross them off the list. Spend 10 minutes today using the steps above to move forward on your financial clutter.
Make a Commitment and Share Your Results
I think what we do after our frantic 10 minutes is almost as important as the brainstorming we do beforehand. We all get together and go room by room showing the rest of the family what we got done in only 10 minutes. Knowing we’ll be showing our work to everyone gives us an extra incentive to get a lot done. It also makes the work feel more like a group effort (even if everyone was working separately).
How can you do this with your financial clutter? Find someone else to work with (even if you’re working on separate things). If you can’t find someone who wants to work with you make sure you tell someone what you’re doing. Just that act alone can help you move forward. Commit to 10 minutes in the comments and then come back and tell us what you accomplished. Good luck!
What can you do in 10 minutes that will make the biggest impact on your financial clutter?
More Ways to Organize Your Finances
- 8 Easy Ways to Organize and Simplify Your Bills 
- How Long Do We Really Need to Keep Those Papers? 
- 17 Tips for End of Year Tax Planning 
- Quicken: Personal Finance Organization 
- Are Automatic Payments Secretly Costing You Money? 
- Focus on These 4 Things for Your Mid-Year Financial Review