This is a guest post from Ben Edwards from Money Smart Life.
If you’ve ever played sports or had kids who were on a team then you know how many hours parents have to spend waiting on their kids over the course of a season. Just last week, half the parents at my son’s soccer practice spent part of the time on a Kindle or iPad.
Chances are that they were playing games or checking email and not working on their taxes. However, technology now allows us to work on our finances in the time and place best suited to us. An iPad with a tax app can turn an hour of sitting and waiting into an hour of making a dent in your taxes.
There are several reasons why working on something like your taxes actually makes sense to do while you’re “on the go”:
1) Helps You Beat Procrastination
Your income taxes are a good example because they’re something that’s easy to put off until later. If you wait until you have a solid 2 -3 hour block in the evening to work on taxes you might procrastinate for weeks.
A big to-do like that can hang over your head. The longer you put it off, the more difficult and unwieldy it feels.
If, on the other hand you work on things a small chunk at a time then you don’t have that big foreboding task looming and it’s much easier to get started and make progress.
2) Gives You Time to Deliberate
A benefit of only working on things a little at time is that it gives you a chance to think about any concerns that come up or get any questions answered.
So if you’re at soccer practice and you run across a few questions you can mull them over as you drive home. You can ask your spouse later that night or email your accountant for clarification. You have time to weigh your options and do research since your goal for the evening was only to make progress on your return.
Contrast that with blocking out 3 solid hours one night to work on your tax return. When you’re stuck on a question you feel like you MUST get it answered that night in order to finish. You’re more likely to make a quick decision that’s just your best guess rather than taking the time to get it right.
3) Maximizes Use of Your Time
How many people do you know that have more free time than they can handle? I think for most of us it’s the opposite, never enough time.
One of the most commonly given reasons for not taking control of their finances is that people say they don’t have time. The amount of time in a day isn’t going to grow so what we can do is find ways to fit more into that time. A great technique is breaking big projects down into smaller chunks and fitting them into the time slots you have available.
The example I used was working on your tax return but it can be any personal finance project you need to get done. Here some examples of how you can spend under ten minutes a day making a budget, paying off debt, or opening an IRA.
It may take longer than you’d like but picking a personal finance project and working a little at a time is much better than procrastinating the whole thing and never getting it done.
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