The 10 Minute Rule with Money

in Personal Finance

One of the better “time management” tricks I have run in to over the years, has been the 10 minute rule, where my interpretation of it is:

If something takes 10 minutes or less to get done, do that first, and do the other stuff afterwards

It has been useful for me, as I have a tendency to get “stuck” and be unable to select any task to complete, but now, I simply find the little tasks and start doing those (which then gets me going to work on larger tasks), but how can we carry out this in terms of personal finance?

How Long Can 10 Minutes Be ?

I guess the question is, what is a 600 second task financially ?

  • Updating your books (in Excel, Quicken, or whatever) should take less than 10 minutes, if you are doing it regularly.
  • Pay a bill as it arrives. Michael James commented on my Too Many Bill delivery Mechanisms posts that this is how he makes sure all bills get paid, pay them when they show up.
  • Call and cancel an unused credit card ? OK this one most likely might take a lot longer, but you never know, it might take less than 10 minutes.
  • Run a backup of your financial records, and/or your computer, you can never be too safe in that area (also maybe start-up an anti-virus check, or an OS update)
  • Do some shredding. You must have some old records lying around that need to be destroyed, do 1o minutes of shredding.
  • Go in your basement, find 2 things you know you will never use and either donate it, or throw it out, do that once a day for a month and  you might be surprised.
  • Ride a bike, go for a walk or do 10 minutes of stair  climbing, to plan for your retirement. (10 minutes of staring is not a good use of your time however).

Just some simple things to try to do, to get “unstuck” and start doing something. Are there other 10 minute financial tasks I have missed ?


  • My Own Advisor May 19, 2015, 6:38 PM

    I’ve done the basement look-I-haven’t-used-this-in-5-years-thing and it works nicely for donations.

  • aB May 19, 2015, 10:37 AM

    You got the stare/stair backwards.
    Stair climbing is good exercise , staring is eye straining.

    • bigcajunman May 19, 2015, 12:02 PM

      Dag nabbit! I thought I had that right… OK thank you (2 spelling demerits for me)

  • Bernie May 19, 2015, 9:55 AM

    The 10 minute rule with your investments would be about right. More specifically I would advocate about a 10 minute review per stock on a quarterly basis, ie; 300 minutes or 5 hours if you hold 30 stocks.

  • Money Beagle May 19, 2015, 9:42 AM

    Login to your company’s retirement plan website and bump up your contribution by 1%.


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