Putting off a task – such as retirement saving – can be very costly. So how can you cut procrastination and feel good about sitting down to do your budget?
1. Put a date in your diary: Cut procrastination by scheduling time to work on saving and investing. Setting aside time creates a self-imposed deadline and may help prevent "oh-so-important" distractions arising. Don't stop at the first appointment – schedule monthly, quarterly or annual reviews.
2. Shake on it: Tell a friend or partner about your financial goals and consider putting a modest wager on whether you meet the goals (or not). Incentives and punishments have been shown to encourage action – rather than the inaction of procrastination. Such a bet might add motivating pressure.
3. Imagine your future self: If your goal is to put money aside regularly to save for a holiday in Bali, imagine yourself dining on nasi goreng and wandering through forests, exploring the Indonesian island. Research suggests having a concrete vision of what you want to achieve can boost motivation and curb the tendency to procrastinate.
4. Use technology: Some clever online tools may help in the fight against procrastination. Website stickK allows users to set goals and share "commitment contracts". Likewise, the Get Back to Work web tool keeps track of procrastination (or lack of it) for set tasks. Author and behavioural economist Dan Ariely developed a "procrastinator" mobile phone app that will countdown to a deadline makes a decision on a set task if a deadline passes.