Talent will only take you so far.
After a certain amount of time, you’re going to have to rely on discipline, dedication, hard work and perseverance.
All of these traits are forged by having a routine.
You may be thinking that you already have one, and you very well may, in which case, congratulations.
But you may also be confusing a routine that has been created haphazardly with one that you’ve carved out and chosen for yourself.
They’re two very different things.
A healthy routine is one that we create so we can achieve our goals.
We stick to it until it becomes a habit, and we use that routine to wring the most from our days.
Most people have a work routine, a nine to five, and probably an exercise routine, too, but if you really want to succeed, you’re also going to need a money routine.
Here are the basics of a good one:
1. You pay bills straight away
This is a great habit to get into.
When the bill comes in, pay it.
Don’t play a game of chicken with the bill and push it to the last possible moment, as not only is that poor financial management, but you’re also likely to forget to pay at some point.
Paying on time, every time, will also ensure a healthy credit rating, too.
2 . You review your weekly spend
You should have a budget for what you spend each week, what you set aside for bills and expenses, and what you save.
I would recommend setting up a second account within your main savings account.
Each week, transfer the money you’ll live on for that week, and ensure that you don’t spend more than what you have set aside.
It’s equally important to take the time each week to assess how you performed.
Did you find the weekly budget easy to stick to?
If you did come unstuck, what were the weak points?
If you do especially well and find that on some weeks you’re able to save extra money, then it’s time to treat yourself.
3. You check your monthly money chart
At the start of each month, you should create a money goals chart detailing your financial budget, goals, debts and assets.
It can be on a whiteboard or a bit of paper in your office.
Just make sure you have it somewhere prominent where you can see it.
Be very specific about what you want to achieve that month and as you achieve each milestone — such as saving for a holiday or putting aside a certain amount towards a deposit — mark it off.
You will be surprised by how satisfying it feels.
4. What can I cut back?
As you go from month to month, you will become even more aware of what you’re spending your money on. (You would be surprised by how many people don’t know this).
You may be appalled that you spend $30 a week on coffee, or that your addiction to cabs is costing you close to $60 a week.
Create a list of things you can cut back on.
Review this list periodically and ask how your life has changed and whether you need to be spending the money on certain things.
Maybe you have taken out a gym membership, and, now that the weather is warmer, you have decided to start running instead.
This is an extremely important list as it’s easy for those expenditures that have become worthless to us to eat a huge hole in our bank balance.
It’s also important to review your money routine over time to make sure it’s working.
Perhaps you find that you need to check your goals chart more frequently?
Or that you need to shift all your bills to direct debit as you’re forgetting to pay them on time.
Life changes and our routines can adapt with it — the main thing is to have a routine to begin with.
You may think routines are boring, but I’m telling you that nothing can be achieved in life without one.