Focus Your Way to Wealth

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Net Worth Update: February/March 2023

Focus Your Way to Wealth 

I recently read that focus is the most valuable skill of the 21st century. And while the work of most skilled workers requires focus, our ability to focus is diminishing at an alarming rate. A Harvard-led study showed that the average worker spends 47% of their day in a state of (semi)distraction. Another study showed that the average worker checks email 55 times per day (on average every 8.5 minutes in an eight-hour workday) and instant messaging apps about 77 times per day (on average every six minutes taking in an eight-hour workday).

Ignore the Noise Focus on Your Work

During a recent work-from-the-office stint, there was a lot of commotion in my team’s work area. Apparently, we had visitors in the building from other branches and departments that led to nonstop gossip from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. When asked if I saw or heard any of the latest, I honestly had not. I was focused on completing my work and completing a project ahead of the deadline. 

As the co-lead on this project, I received the project on time from less than half of my team. Another portion of the team needed a few more days and some said nothing, perhaps believing if they said nothing no one would notice. If I had to guess beforehand who would turn the project in on time, late, or pretend they didn’t know the project was due, there would have been no surprises. And with the next project starting on the heels of this one. It seems certain teammates have set themselves up to be perpetually late on all future project deadlines. 

Disproportionate Compensation Goes to Those Who Master the Ability to Focus Deeply

The members of the team that struggle with getting their daily required work done and meeting project deadlines are also the teammates that complain about their compensation and the state of their finances. This again is not a surprise because what we do in one area, we tend to do in every area. 

On the other hand, no one is surprised that the focused finishers on the team are always asked to lead special projects, do great on their annual reviews, and have moved up the ranks quickly. The ability to focus and produce high-quality work consistently is rare nowadays. A highly focused and prioritized worker stands out and compensation soon follows. 

My ability to consistently focus for extended periods of time has allowed me to take on projects that most people aren’t willing to do. Focus has also elevated and multiplied income streams in a very short time span. 

The Ability to Focus is the Only Superpower You Need

Your ability to focus is valuable! Focus often allows you to complete twice the work in half the time it takes others. While your inability to focus means often putting out slow, low-quality work that you become known for and leaving most of your potential untouched. Learning to focus or your inability to focus will eventually benefit or hinder every area of your life, be it your career, your finances, your spirituality, or your physical health.

Focus is a Skill

The good news is any skill can be improved upon. And since the ability to focus is a skill, we’ve got nowhere to go but up from where we are. Here are three things you can do to start improving your ability to focus immediately:

  • Set a daily priority:

Write down what you want to accomplish each day. I do this for work every single day. I make a list and I prioritize each thing on that list. Ensuring that the most vital tasks are done first, and the rest are just the things that make my life easier. I work to set myself up for an easy win the next day. 

  • Keep your broader life goals in focus:

Keeping my broader life goals front and center allows me to keep work in perspective. Excelling at W-2 and W-9 work impacts how quickly I achieve my personal broader goals. A bigger bonus or a new client means I’m a step closer to the goal of financial independence. The work whether boring, tedious or interesting is nothing more than a step in the direction of my goals and dreams.

  • Stop Multitasking:

For a time, multitasking was all the rage. Looking back, I don’t think I ever accomplished much being a master multitasker. Today I do the exact opposite. I have a task and I focus on it until completion. I give the project at hand all my attention and I don’t allow anything else to distract me from it.

  • Reading: 

Not listening to a book. I’m talking about turning the pages of an old-fashioned book or swiping the screen on your Kindle. Nothing trains your ability to focus like reading. If you are not focused, you will have to go back and reread the same sentence and paragraph repeatedly. Reading demands that you focus your time and attention making it the perfect practice.

Becoming someone with great focus and concentration takes time and practice. But every area of your life will benefit if you take the time to hone this rare superpower.

Okay, time for the March net worth update. But I’ll be starting with February in this update since I didn’t get a chance to update you on it last month. 

February Net Worth Update:

February was a very volatile month for the stock market during the first two weeks of February my net worth had reached all-time highs and by the time the last two weeks of the shortest month rolled around, I was down $10K. I was lucky to finish with a net worth $5K higher than the month of January. February also represented five straight months of net worth increases. 

March Net Worth Update;

March was full of surprises, like having overpaid my taxes last year and receiving a check for the difference. Then I received another check for an invoice that was long overdue. It was one pleasant surprise after another regarding income. As for the market, it continued to trend downward and I continued to pick up a few shares when I had a chance. 

Busy with work, I haven’t been buying enough stock outside of my automatic buys. This means I’m already behind on my goal for the second quarter and will have to do a lot better if I hope to catch up by the third and fourth quarters. 

Money Moves

I transferred more than usual into my brokerage account to ensure I’m prepared to buy in April. Even with the extra transfer to my brokerage account, I found myself with cash sitting around not earning interest, so I purchased a 12-month CD earning just over 4%. While the market attempted a small recovery in the last three trading days of March, it wasn’t enough to recover all the losses. But I still managed to come out ahead.

The winning streak continues! March makes six straight months of net worth increases. I haven’t been able to count on the market for these gains. These gains continue to be the result of my savings rate. I don’t take any found money for granted. While there is nothing wrong with treating or splurging, I tend to buy whatever I want when I want it. So, I’m not excited when I received unexpected money. I immediately save and/or invest it because I’m focused. 

Remember, it is a fight to build wealth no matter where you are in the process. Everything around us conspires to take money out of our hands. But you must fight the good fight. Continue to save, invest, and grow your net worth even when it seems impossible. Save your pennies (copper) until they become dollars (cotton).


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