Psychology of Money: 2

After a late-night flight home I proceeded to sleep poorly. It’s hard to sleep with a cat on your head. And so with a crumbled morning brain I opt for some light chores before facing the ENVELOPE.

I’ve often wondered if there’s any point to my doing anything involving my brain before about 11 am. Recently I visited the Center for Environmental Therapeutics to assess the nature of my night-ish-ness. After 19 questions the circadian rhythm type questionnaire concluded that I release melatonin around 11pm and that my optimal is bedtime is 1245. Unfortunately I am not a member of that very small minority (including Margaret Thatcher) who operate perfectly well on a short sleep cycle. I need the full 8 hour whack. I’ve always been a bit ashamed about this, but there it is.

Given my circadian wiring I reason I should put off the ENVELOPE until early evening when I should be at my finest. And that hour has now arrived. Before I open it I want to make it clear I won’t be achieving much. I don’t have to hand any of the financial facts regarding my rental income last year — these are at work and today is a holiday. In the past this would be reason enough not to bother. Why open the ENVELOPE when I can’t do anything about completing the online form even with the personalized number I assume I am about to receive. But I’ve matured and thank the time management guru David Allen (not the comedian Dave Allen) for a small trick called “taking the next action” where monstrous to-do’s that involve all sorts of mini-tasks are tackled one small step at a time. He uses a technology he refers to as GTD — getting things done.

ENVELOPE, please.

Date 17 February 2011, Dear [Me] – We have been looking at our tax records for you. We now believe that you should be completing a tax return this year. [Technically this isn’t true, they weren’t looking at my records until I called them and told them myself that I now needed to start completing returns.]

My reference number is duly noted and there’s some potential good news third paragraph down — “At this point we will also tell you the date by which the completed tax return must be received by us.” What a relief, I expected to find a specific deadline long gone past. There’s still that chance, I appreciate. They will tell me the date once I log in to the online process. But in this moment, there’s a chance I’m not in trouble.

Since I’m on a roll I open Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs website and see how far I can go without the necessary paperwork – so that I might at least get a glimpse of the forms and maybe even face the reality of a missed-deadline (when the helpline is closed and everything).

But no, once again TOMORROW comes along to rescue me from any unpleasantness today — for as soon as I click onto the registration button I am informed that in addition to the unique user number in the letter by my side, I also need my national insurance number which is noted on my paychecks – which, yes – are also at work.

Still – I feel a small sense of accomplishment nonetheless. When you’re as much of a personal finance avoider as I am, it doesn’t take much

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1 Comment

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One response to “Psychology of Money: 2

  1. Heidi Barry

    Martha Stewart functions on 3 hours of sleep each night. Good breakthrough Nat, I could not have gotten that far- I have no idea about taxes, never mind that I have NEVER checked my banking accounts and just blindly put money in, then take it out……

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