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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Start organising your life

It is strange but true. In pursuit of achieving things in life, we sometimes forget to enjoy the results of what has been achieved.

When it comes to one's financial life, we truly work very hard to make sure that we earn more money, or we get the next progression or get the next client deal, or impress our boss, or at least make sure that we continue to earn what we are earning today. Well, all that is fine and it is always good to strive forward in life.

However, what startles me is the fact that hardly any of us have any time to manage the money that we have earned after sacrificing our health, family and peace ? Isn't that strange ? You might disagree with me and say that you manage it pretty well. You might also supplement this with the fact that you have invested in good fixed deposits, mutual funds, insurance policies, stocks etc. If you are doing it, then its fine. But i want to ask you some very fundamental and important questions and leave it to you to take a decision whether you and  your life is well organized or not.

- Do you have a documented plan for your life with clear goals / dreams with specific dates written on it ? The most common answer is that i have it in my mind. Well, yeah, that's good but that's not going to help you achieve anything as long as it stays in your mind and does not come down on paper. imagine a big 40 year project plan being executed through a plan which is just in some engineer's mind. alas, it does not work that way.
- How many of these goals ( i am assuming you know the number of goals - whether in mind or on paper) you have already achieved?  Let us assume that you have consumed 40% of your life span, so have you achieved at least 40% of your life goals ?
- Do you know exactly what are your total assets ? (Dont start calculating now. I am just poking.)
- Do you know how much is the exact total Return on investments you received last year on all your investments?, and a year before that? Please don't give me a rough figure or a figure that you "think" is the answer. Is this calculated anywhere?. I want this up to 2 decimal digits. Apologies for my swagger but thats critical to wake you up.
- Are you improving your return on investment each year (assuming you know the answer to the previous question) ? 
- Do you read enough to make sure that you learn new things and equip yourself to perform better financially every year ?
- Do you have a balanced life chart, which covers social, professional, spiritual and financial goals and targets ? Is your life truly balanced ? (or is this expecting too much from life?)
- Are you in pursuit of any one single BIG dream that is driving you crazy now a days ?
- Do you keep a track of your monthly income and expenses ? and then forecast it to plan your future income and expenses ?

Let me stop here. Don't curse me. The day you would stop ignoring these questions and start answering them, you would realise what was going wrong with your life. 
I know some of the thoughts that may already be percolating in your minds. Well, who has the time to do all this? You are right.  Who has the time to manage his or her own life when we are all so busy ? And that is exactly my point. We are so occupied earning money that we have no clue what do i do with the money that we have earned ? How can i make this money work more efficiently for me ? Forget about efficiencies, there are so many of us who do not even know how much money is locked up in which of our bank accounts, which credit card, and which mutual fund. 

I am not saying that you leave everything else and start talking about money or life, but what our life definitely deserves is to get more organised.

Ite reminds me of a short story of a small boy who goes to a garden to plant 2 trees. He has limited time, so he wants to finish this task quickly, but at the same time he also wants to make sure that he does a quality job. He decides to keep the trees aside and first dig the 2 holes needed to plant the trees. He is full of enthusiasm and energy, as each one of us are at the beginning of our money earning spree. With all the focus, excitement and energy, he digs one perfect hole in a garden. He is so happy to see the result of his hard work and immediately turns around to start and dig the next hole. As he turns around and starts digging the second hole, he does not realize that the mud coming out of the second hole is filling up the first hole itself. Well, he is short of time and can't care about every bout of mud that is getting pulled out from the second hole. There is no shortage of energy or enthusiasm as he continues to dig the second hole. The only unfortunate thing that happens is that by the time he has dug up the second hole, the first one is completely full with the mud that came out of the second hole. He turns around and realizes what mistake he has done.

We are just like that little boy, filled with energy and enthusiasm to earn money without realizing what we are doing with the money that we are digging out each month. Where is it going ? Is it efficiently returning me what it is expected to ? We don't know because we don't have time.Sad but true.

I just hope that we take out enough time in our lives to answer some of the questions above, so that we can get the reward for all the hard work that we have done till now. 
Take out time to organize your life. It will only pay you in the long run.

I want to end up with this famous quote from Tryon Edwards
Organize your life, and you will not only accomplish more, but have far more leisure than those who are always hurrying.

Happy organising


Manoj Arora

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