Conquering the Pile

How is your pile doing? You know the pile: the stack of unopened mail, receipts, things you need to do, bills, and everything else that lands in the pile. If you are digging out with me this week, the chances are your pile is little mountain of clutter. Or perhaps your pile might have grown so large it has now spawned other baby piles all over your home. My pile keeps moving between my bedroom dresser (for when I have company) and back to my work area. Fortunately, I haven’t neglected it for long enough for it to become a true mountain or to replicate itself. However, it is only a matter of time…

Today, I want you to repeat this to yourself, “The pile is not my friend. It is an enemy to be conquered and I will not live with it one more day. It is sabotaging my finances, and stealing my peace. I will defeat the pile.” This is your mission for today.

Go through all of your “hot spots” where paperwork seems to land and collect it into one big pile. If you need to, use a laundry basket to collect it. Then sit where you work best with a trash can or trash bag at your feet and start on the pile. Start with the unopened mail, as most of this will be junk anyway. Open your mail, and throw away everything that is clutter. Make a stack of bills that still require your attention, and put them in the front pocket of your Finance Binder for easy access later in the week. By the way, if your financial life has not yet been revolutionized by a Finance Binder, then please read my blog here. We are going to use our Finance Binders to help us dig out, so I will go into more detail tomorrow.

The best advice I can give you as you dig out from you pile is: try to only touch a piece of paper once. If it is a notice that needs a response, respond right then. Otherwise you will end up merely shuffling the pile rather than destroying it. Write the thank you card so you can throw away that birthday card envelope. Yes, it might take you skipping an evening of television to beat this pile, but it is a worthwhile investment. TV won’t change your perspective on tomorrow; however, getting rid of your pile of clutter and procrastination will.

If you come across something that you have been procrastinating on because you know that it is going to take a while, then make an appointment with yourself to do that task. For instance, today from 12-1pm while my kids each lunch, I am going to work on thank you notes for my birthday… ok, and Luke’s birthday as well. It feels so good to accomplish a project and to be able to not think about that anymore. In fact, it is a great idea to start with projects that are easy so that you can gain momentum and motivation to keep going.

For today, your mission is clear. Your pile will fall, and you will be victorious. You don’t have to file today, or organize your binder. That is coming tomorrow. However, you definitely need to open your mail, throw away whatever you can, finish a few easy projects that you have procrastinated (for the great feeling of accomplishment it will give you), and sort your bills and receipts and put them in your finance binder for the date we are going to have with your finances.

At the end of the day, it will feel great to have fewer things weighing over your head. I guarantee you that you won’t feel as buried. Although you may not have solved any of your financial issues, you will have begun the journey of digging out, and that is fantastic. Don’t worry, we will get to the big stuff, but we just have to build a few muscles on the small stuff first.

Now, go conquer your pile, and I’ll see you tomorrow.
God bless,