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Another way of asking this question is “how does one get things done when there are plenty of reasons to avoid getting them done?”
I don’t think there’s one person who is obtaining debt relief who finds the necessary document and data collection and its organization a particularly delightful task. Applying for a short sale, debt settlement and Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires important financial documentation that is required for debt relief. That’s why many people put off doing the necessary things, sometimes waiting for the last minute or even miss a deadline because they find the project unpleasant, even stressful.
But the actions that take you from debt overwhelm to financial freedom are not as dreadful as you might imagine. Here are a few tips in dealing with avoidance and procrastination that have already helped lots of people who face the same hurdle: to keep going when it’s tempting to move to a place called “Someday Aisle.”
Don’t confuse deadlines with something dreadful
Ever notice how productive you become when you have something to look forward to? How about preparing for a vacation – notice how much you get done the day before! You don’t want to leave and have undone work to take along or face later upon return. You discover how many things get done in a shorter amount of time when motivated by a sure reward.
Why not use the same principle when you’re collecting documents in preparation for debt relief, a stress relief that promises to deliver its reward just a few months away.
Here are some tips to help you tackle your bankruptcy project with rewards in mind.
1. Make a list. Having a list of everything you need to find or get done is a big part of “just doing it.” With a concrete and complete list, you can just stick to it – in fact, you can make your whole job to stay focused and be sure to reward yourself when you “don't go astray.”
2. Get help. No need to be a Lone Ranger. You’d be surprised to find family members and friends willing to assist, if not with the document collection and organization project, at least taking over other tasks on your “to-do” list which will give you more time. It also helps to divide overall project into tasks (“chunks”) so it doesn’t seem overwhelming. This project is probably going to take more than one session of work – be realistic and take it in steps – making “your job” to be just staying in action.
3. More about organizing by chunks and priorities. Just like you do when preparing to go out of town, itemize tasks by importance. Do the things that must get done first , tasks that absolutely can't be carried over to the next day without a penalty.
4. Next, get difficult things out of the way. After completing the “must do” tasks, then focus on the items you anticipate as being the most difficult. Again, avoid overload by making the task chunk no more than 30 – 60 minutes at one time. Once these hard tasks are out of the way, now the rest of your project will seem relatively easy. When you have the “easy stuff” to look forward to, it is much less likely you’ll put off getting it done.
5. Make the commitment to get it done, step by step. Getting serious about tackling your daily to-do list as if you were going out of town soon. If you were leaving for a week, what would you have to do right away? You could ask yourself: What project or person would be left hanging? Ideally, you are able to make a commitment to handle one task at a time and not stop until you've finished it. Do your best – and don’t let perfectionism stop you from starting.
Kaushik Ranchod practices Bankruptcy Law and Immigration Law in Sacramento and San Francisco. Visit our website at www.california-bankruptcyattorney.com for more information.