I was working with a client yesterday, who was feeling a bit overwhelmed by a multitude of financial decisions that needed to be made. The question was, “how do you make these decisions?”
That’s a hard one, because there are so many variables. What time frame do you have to make each decision? What’s the price tag for each one? How much money do you have to spread between the different tasks, while still maintaining your daily life? Is it necessary and beneficial to spend money on all these items or tasks? But here’s the biggest question, and the place I always start: what’s most important?
Any time I feel overwhelmed, a priority list is the best way to relieve some of the pressure. It helps me think through what needs to be done and focus on what’s imperative today and what can wait. Plus, writing out the tasks and assigning dollar amounts to each gives me a clear sense of whether I really need to be stressed, or whether I’m overthinking it. Many times it’s the latter and this exercise goes a long way in calming my nerves – making it easier to get things done.
Things that stress me out are best dealt with head-on. I take the time to think through the problem, find a realistic solution and make a plan to deal with it – whether it means simply adjusting my budget to compensate for an unforeseen or calling in outside resources to help get me over the hump.
The alternative is to ignore the issue. This has proven very damaging in my life, because the issue doesn’t go away. Most of the time it becomes a bigger issue, more expensive and harder to deal with, than if I hadn’t ignored it.
I understand that the reality of my situation isn’t always going to be what I want it to be. I’m not always going to have the money or resources to do everything at once, but I also realize that my life is not going to end if I can’t deal with it all today.
So, my advice, when asked how to make these decisions, is to evaluate each one and prioritize them – do this in writing. Then, focus in on the most important, make a plan and get it done. Forget about the rest! You’ve written everything down. You no longer need to keep replaying it in your head. The other tasks will be there when you’re ready to focus on the next one.
Focus, stop stressing and start accomplishing!