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The Importance of the Decision-Making Process

urgent vs important

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Every day we make dozens of important decisions. COVID-19, the subsequent lockdown, working from home, and schools being closed/open/closed/open, have worn us down. We just want to tick items off our list to stop the agitation.

We’re all tired!

Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making, and I would say the pandemic qualifies as a long session. I bought a huge stockpile of canned soup so that I didn’t have to make another meal decision for daily lunches. Soup…eat it or starve. (No, I probably won’t be asked to compete on MasterChef anytime soon.)

Money issues can trigger such responses but can have more serious consequences. The word “money” can automatically move it to the top of the pile and make us react.

But wait…Is there a better way? You bet!

Every decision will fall into three distinct categories— “urgent”, “important” and “this can wait”.  Quickly categorizing your issues, especially as they pertain to money, can save you a heap of trouble. Let’s define these groups.

Where to put what!

Urgent: The tasks that fall into this category have to be attended to immediately. Not to be too graphic, but it can be related to having to visit the restroom when the urge hits and cannot wait or be put off until later. Perhaps you receive a text from your bank that you must make a deposit right now or at the close of the business day, your account will be in overdraft, and charges will be applied. Urgent demands that you react right now.

Important activities help you achieve smaller objectives and then larger goals, often on a daily or weekly basis. If you have a report due at the end of the month and you do some research and some writing every day, and meet your deadline, you’ve completed an important task. Now, if you’ve put off the report all month and it’s now due the next day, it becomes urgent.

The tasks that can wait have minimal or no short-term or long-term consequences. They can be done when you have extra time and you’re relaxed; reading a book; watching a documentary; trying out a new pineapple and chicken liver pasta recipe. (Some things can wait forever.)

What about my money?

Urgent:

  • A budget is imperative and in my humble opinion is urgent and the longer you put off, it becomes “urgent-er” and “urgent-er”. A budget helps you wrap your arms around saving for emergencies like medical needs, home/car repairs, vet bills, or pandemics
  • Shelter, food, clothing, phone, and everything else that is NOT optional. These things are urgent because you need them for health, safety and to thrive

Important:

  • Saving for a home, paying off debt, balancing your checking accounts, checking your credit report and score; keeping an eye on your 401K or money market account
  • Saving for a wedding, creating a college fund, saving for a trip to go see relatives
  • I’m sure you get it…saving is important so that if a need arises, you don’t react by making unhealthy choices like high-interest loans, payday loans, title loans, or anything that would put your financial future in jeopardy

Do later:

  • Shred those 20-year-old tax returns
  • Compare interest rates on credit cards you might be considering
  • Research charitable institutions you may want to give to
  • Try out a new pineapple and chicken liver pasta recipe

Please contact us

These lists are not comprehensive but they give you a guideline as to how you can approach your finances and other areas of your life. The goal is to be decisive and not reactive and to reduce your decision fatigue. No matter where you are on your journey to financial wellness, we at CESI want to help so please contact us for a free debt analysis today.


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1 Response to The Importance of the Decision-Making Process

  1. Leah Jones says:

    Very informative article, Kimball! Financial planning is a methodical approach to achieving one’s life objectives. It serves as a guide as you travel through life. It encourages you to keep your income, expenses, and investments under control. If you are having financial management problems, it is best to seek the advice of a financial planner.

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