The Power of Singular Focus Over Multitasking.
Would you consider yourself to be a good multi-tasker? Do you find yourself juggling multiple tasks throughout the day. I certainly have. In my job, I often have multiple projects at various stages. And I find myself jumping from one to another often feeling like I’m not making progress on any of them. Sound familiar??
Whether you think you can multitask well or not, the reality is, most people do not multitask well. Studies have shown that multitasking is actually the slowest way to accomplish a given list of tasks.
I’m certainly taking my own advice here, but the best and quickest way to get through your to-do-list is to go through it one item at a time. Finish one thing on the list, or at least go as far as you can before you move on to the next thing.
It works the same way with your finances. Remember, personal finance is mostly behavior. But which thing should take priority? And is there ever a time to multitask when it comes to finances?
Focus On One Thing at a Time to Get it Done
Let’s start with paying down debt. In my opinion, debt should be at the top of mind at all times until it’s gone. This is the one thing that you should focus your money and money goals around. Debt makes you a slave to the lender, and it robs you of your financial freedom. The only debt that shouldn’t be considered an emergency is a mortgage.
Focus on eliminating your debt once and for all. And once it’s gone, don’t look back!!
If you try to spread your income over several different goals at the same time, you’ll end up throwing too little money at them all. It’s discouraging to see your balances change by only a small amount each month. And we all know what will happen. Eventually, your resolve will diminish, and in a moment of weakness or two, you’ll be back in debt deeper than you were before.
So if you have consumer debt (car loans, credit cards, personal loans, etc.), forget about investing!! Don’t even think about it. Forget about saving for that two week trip to Europe!! Focus on eliminating your debt!! Throw all your extra money at it! Until it’s gone! For most people, that shouldn’t take more than a few years or even less. And the freedom that comes with being debt free (besides a mortgage) far outweighs the investment gains that you might have earned.
It really is that simple. Focus on your debt!!
What if You have Many Debts to Pay?
If you have multiple debts to repay, you should stick with the snowball method. Pay off one debt at a time using all your extra money while still making the minimum payments on all your other debts. The advantage of focusing on one debt at a time is the morale boost that comes from eliminating debt after debt. Remember, personal finance, and debt repayment specifically, is an exercise in human behaviour. Without those quick wins, you’re likely to become discouraged and quit.
If you decide to use the avalanche method instead, that’s fine. But make sure that you focus on one debt at a time until it’s gone.
Speaking of debt repayment, if you have high interest debt like credit cards, then you should absolutely focus on that debt.
When You Make One Goal Your Focus, It Becomes Your #1 Priority
We’ve talked specifically about debt repayments, but this principle of singular focus can be extended to other goals as well. Prioritize them, and start knocking them out one by one.
By the way, you can’t have more than one number one priority. There is only one number one. If you start to add other goals in at the same time, you risk becoming the multi-tasker that never accomplishes anything.
When you focus on one goal at a time, by default it’s the top priority. And then just get it done!
One last thing about focus. Have you ever looked through a microscope? Maybe back in high school biology? They’re amazing inventions. They magnify tiny things so that you can see them in great detail. Bugs look like prehistoric monsters, and something that you thought was so smooth once magnified all of sudden has valleys and craters worse than the surface of the moon.
The other thing about a microscope; once you look into it, you can’t see what’s going on around you. The specimen under the lens has your undivided attention. You aren’t looking at a bug’s eye and reading a book at the same time. It just isn’t possible. Your focus is solely on the bug under the microscope.
In order to maximize the potential of your income each month, focus on one financial goal at a time.
What about you? Are you in debt-destroying mode? Or is your focus spread among too many other things?
Let me know in the comments, and if you aren’t an email subscriber yet, what are you waiting for?
Thanks for sharing and reading.