Monday, September 17, 2007

How to Overcome Rampant Disorganization....

...When the key culprit [and victim] resides in your mirror.

So, for the 2nd time in a little less than a week, I find myself waking up on my couch. Like before it is a few hours past bedtime yet several hours from dawn. Also like before several papers, plates and cups lay sprawled everywhere.

Is it the drugs? you ask - NO? Was it the 5th of Vodka? you ask - NO! Was it the day-old pasta's ability to knock Reggie out? You ask - well maybe... Ultimately, though it becomes my lack of discipline and organizational skills are the culprit here.

"But Reggie...What do Organizational skills have to do with Personal Finance?" You ask.

I need look no further than down at my computer desk to find a bill with the due date of 'SEP 18,2007' and then quickly realize that today is September 18th 2007.

I count myself lucky because I can quickly write a check and my bill provider has a local nearby office where i can drop off a payment but here are some not-so scientific tips - mainly for my own benefit, on How to Get Organized and stop leaking out money in the short term.

  1. Make a list: - making a list of your goals for the day, week or month definitely helps start the organizational process. Monthly is easy, weekly becomes more difficult and daily can be a feat for even the best of us but, getting into the habit of goal writing is important for even the most modest of financial goals. If you can get to the point (where I am almost at) of making goals for each specific hour of the are someone I envy immensely and are definitely on the right track.
  2. Set a routine 'clean' time: - This will help enormously in conquering the evil towers of 'stuff' that align against you and the forces of Organization & good. This might be a weekly or even daily occurrence. You need to set aside a specific time when your only focus is putting things back where they belong and purging things that are simply not needed. Less clutter and junk means more time to focus on either a) accomplishing more work or b) saving more personal time. When you don't have to worry about 'looking' for something because you already know it's location you save yourself stress as well
  3. Keep a calendar: Sometimes, you don't need to do or simply can't everything on your
    'to do' list at the same time. This is why a monthly calendar comes in well. I personally have 1 calendar for work and another for my personal life but, for some it may be easier to keep those two calendars combined to keep from over-booking your schedule. I have my own system that seems to work well keeping those two apart.
  4. Organize as you go: My girlfriend does this most of the time and it keeps her house very nice and clean. If you can get into the habit of immediately putting things back when you're done; washings dishes as you finish eating; and dusting more than twice monthly - you are on the right track.
  5. Have specific files: At one point, I used to have very non-specific file categories such as 'bills' or 'savings'. However, the longer I'm around the more I realize it's important to be specific about what you want and also about what you file away. 'Bills' could mean a multitude of things but when you devote specific files to cable, Internet, credit card(shame on you for having one) helps you find records much, much more easily.
  6. Purge: At some point, the receipt for the Mickey-D's quarter-pounder w/ cheese combo that you bought in 1993, when you lived 5 states away, does you less and less good. (I think you're chances for refund are kind of shot). So getting rid of old unnecessary files is a good way to free up space and let go of things you may not even need. I've heard that after 7 years, most tax files become semi-irrelevant. Taxes being the most important file that you would want to hold onto.
  7. Buy organizational systems that work for you: I personally have a few different file boxes that I work with. However, my favorite piece of organizational merchandise I own happens to be my automatic coin roller . When I come home at night, pockets full of change, I no longer throw random change onto my dresser. I instead drop it into my automatic coin roller which whirs and spins separating my pennies from my nickles, my nickles from my dimes, and my dimes from my quarters. I love that little machine.
So hopefully, I'll begin to follow these tips to myself. So I won't be up blogging at 1:30 AM when I could be sleeping ...Unfortunately, I need to go pay some bills now before I can do just that.


TMAC said...

I have noticed that since I moved I have been cutting it closer and closer to the due date for bill payment. Unfortunately, I missed two CC bills the other day and obly noticed it a month later when my rate was jacked up to 20+%.

I gotta figure my shit out!


Reggie said...

yeah TMAC,

you need to get up on that. it definitely sucks when you have a 'nice' interest rate like say 9.99% or less and then you forget to pay something and it get's doubled...that ain't cool.

I'd say try and make a plan to pay early for the next 6 months and then call them up and see if they'd be willing to knock down your rate due to 'good payment behavior'