You know the feeling, when there’s something you know you need to do, but you’ve been putting it off. It’s sat there in your sub-conscious, waiting to be prioritised into your conscious mind and maybe even your calendar. When it comes to financial matters, the delay has a cost attached.
As the great Albert Einstein reportedly said, ‘compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world’. Financial decisions are often about investment and the longer one sticks with an expensive product, or avoids regular investment, the greater the drag on growth.
Many of us use some sort of system to decide what to focus on. If your ambitious, chances are there are several areas of your life competing for your attention. And we know that success requires focus and that means prioritising. Side note – the best way to identify your priorities, is to look at your bank statement and your calendar. How you spend time and money.
Dwight Eisenhower was well known for his incredible productivity. He achieved a huge amount in his life, before, during and after serving two terms as the president of the United States. He developed a tool to help with decision making, commonly known as the Eisenhower Matrix. It is predicated on separating actions into four distinct possibilities: –
- Urgent and important – these are tasks that need immediate attention.
- Important but not urgent – often bigger projects that need planning and scheduling.
- Urgent but not important – tasks you could probably move to someone else.
- Not urgent and not important – tasks that could reasonably be eliminated.
It looks something like this…
The matrix is a useful tool for both short and long-term planning. The trick is to think carefully about the task at hand and the consequences of placing it into one of the quadrants. Financial matters are always important but may not always be viewed as urgent. That means it’s either done straight away or scheduled.
Working with a financial planner requires some input on the client’s part, but the planner and their team do the heavy lifting. The experience is never as arduous as one might imagine but the consequences of delay can be costly.
By Con Lillis – CEO, MBA