Balancing the Focus

When I decided many months ago, 9 to be exact that I had created a goal to pay off my student loans, I knew it would take supreme focus and dedication to reach my goal.  I created a pay off thermometer and put it on our door to fill in with marker, as I paid off each dollar, it felt good coloring in each line, I recommend it if you need an old school visual to keep you motivated.  I took almost every dollar and made payments to Edfinancial, clicking on Pay Now each time I had extra money felt great, on Saturday my paycheck was $75 more than I budget for, so when my direct deposit came in the bank account that same day I made the payment, I couldn’t get it out of my hands fast enough.  It’s with that payment that I thought to myself today, make sure the focus is balanced, nobody can think about student loan debt repayment 100% of the time, right?

March is usually a difficult time for my financial priorities, my beautiful wife has a birthday and a visit to Miami with the family and an occasional shopping spree is bound to happen, what can I say, it’s almost like my shield goes down in March, maybe a gentle reminder is given, but not an all out discussion on why we are spending so much money on a shirt from Bebe or a pair of Nike shorts for her brothers.  After that trip, I come back to the NCAA March Madness tournament and my focus becomes centered right on college basketball, not student loans.  One of the reasons I enjoy this time of year more than most is there are still athletes I have had the pleasure of coaching, coaches who I have worked with on the basketball court, and family guiding teams to the tourney.  I would like to say I lose focus, but in reality I am 100% in another world, priorities change, thoughts wonder, and I become a fan of college basketball.  I enjoy the games themselves, but I also enjoy filling out a bracket or two, making a coffee bet with a co-worker, and whatever gambling opportunities arise that are legal in nature.  So as you can imagine this is money diverted to March Madness is not for student loans, this is part of my entertainment or shopping budget.  The good news is the storm is almost over, the Final Four is set and I think I even avoided paying $300 to go see my Wisconsin Badgers(it’s for 3 games if that makes it any better) this upcoming weekend.

As you can see from time to time, like the month of March, I lose my Student Loan focus, it’s not that stopped making payments or didn’t think about paying them off faster, it’s that I had to balance my focus.  I think the best and fastest way to pay off student loans is 100% focus and by this I mean, waking up to color in your student loan debt thermometer, walking over to your coffee pot because you are going to save $2.08 on your morning coffee and then take that amount and put in your Student Loan Payoff Piggy Bank, you do the same with your lunch, this time saving $9.52 on the greatest salad in the Chicago Loop by making your own and also putting this amount in the SL Payoff Piggy Bank, during the day you are planning and plotting how to make a few extra dollars that can speed up the process, you come home to freelance or eBay and put these money making strategies into motion, every moment of every day has student loan debt in your head.  It’s important to have a balance, if you go one way and take the month of March off you will lose track of what’s important to you.  However if you go all in and fret about the $2.08 coffee and how it’s going to ruin your student loan plan, you might end up in the loony bin.  Like many things in life moderation is key, you can still put your focus into student loan payments, but don’t forget you still have to take out the garbage Thursday morning.  Make sure your life is in balance, which means your focus is in balance.

Is there a time during the year you lose focus on your priorities?  Does your blog help you refocus or does it hurt?

15 Responses to “Balancing the Focus

  • Well said – I agree that balance in life is everything, as it keeps you sane the majority of the time and ensures you don’t fall into a rut, where you keep doing the same thing every single day without a second of reprieve.

    I think the difference here lies in the separation between “focus” and “dwell”. A strong focus is great…even “critical”. But dwelling on a particular portion of your life is when you take that focus too far and start to neglect other areas of your life that need some focus too.
    Steve Adcock recently posted…Our amazing world: Last night’s haloMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Based on the answer/comment you provided, I’m going with you are a smart guy, you sir are hired……I just don’t know for what job yet;) Very well said, but easy to forget sometimes.

  • You’ll be happy to know I’m a huge Wisconsin fan for the rest of the tourney, for those legal 🙂 office pools I’m in. I become a little unmotivated when it comes to saving and paying down debt during the summer. I do most of my personal traveling during the summer months, and these are therefore more expensive months than the winter months. I think reading posts like yours and others where they are slashing their debt brick by brick are the most motivation to get my a$$ in gear!

    My student loans are due on the 28th of the month, and this morning I noticed one had a balance of about $521 left, and I said to myself “there is no reason for me not to pay that little bugger off,” so I did!
    Fervent Finance recently posted…Dream JobMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      That’s Fantastic, I’m not sure what I’m happier about, you rooting for Wisconsin or paying off your student loans?! JK Congrats on paying off the student loans, i’m a little jealous right now.

  • I’m not a big basketball fan, so March doesn’t offer the distraction for me, the NFL season a different story. I can’t seem to get anything done come Sunday’s in the fall. True about finding the balance. I try and get my chores done ahead of time and reward myself with the games.

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Good thing the NFL is only on Sundays!…….Mondays, Thursdays, and the occasional Saturday. Lots of chores must get done;)

  • You have to have balance. If you suppress all joy in the pursuit of a financial goal you will easily reach burnout.

    Take the breather that you need and then jump right back on the wagon.

    Keep up the good work buddy!
    Gen Y Finance Guy recently posted…Anatomy of a Side Hustle: How I made $18,000 at an effective rate of $100/hourMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Yeah good advice just a little break from my intense student loan focus and I’ll get right back on the ride.

  • Trying to find balance is my middle name. It has always been difficult for me. I think though that you definitely have it. I mean taking a bit of a reward for yourself is needed to maintain balance. I think you have done just right with everything and by the end of May your student loans are gone! YAHOO! Of course I need to follow the same advice with my own debt repayment plan.
    Jason recently posted…My Biggest Financial ProblemMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Balance is key and love some Karate Kid youtube clips, thanks!

  • I’ve always been a huge college basketball fan, ever since I watched Gonzaga in 1999 upset all those teams. Had a soft spot for them ever since so I was disappointed to see them lose to Duke. But they did have a great run this year. Not sure who I want to win, but maybe I’ll root for Wisconsin now 🙂

    I probably lose some focus in the Summer as I want to plan vacations and all that, but I think it’s worth the slight distraction!
    Debt Hater recently posted…Student Loan Progress – March 2015My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Yeah jump on board Wisconsin we welcome all Gonzaga fans! Yeah summer does get a bit distracting especially for those cold weather people, we only have so much time right?!

      • Especially after the Winter we’ve had here in the Northeast this year. I’m sure it was just as cold (probably colder) out in the Midwest.

        Love watching both Towns and Kaminsky, so still not sure who exactly I will root for.
        Debt Hater recently posted…Fund RecommendationMy Profile

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