Author Topic: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?  (Read 7178 times)

Trudie

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Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« on: November 12, 2015, 02:59:07 PM »
I feel like I'm experiencing "optimization fatigue."  I've spent a lot of time analyzing decisions lately (comparing health insurance options), doing year end tax planning/optimization, looking for ways to reduce expenses...  Things are sort of humming along.  I know I'm not the most mustachian on this site, but we save close to 50% of our income.  To be honest, I've decided I'm not sure I have the "will" to do much more.  I just sort of keep picking at the low-hanging fruit.

Does anyone else just get tired?  Ever feel like saying "screw it?!?!"  I basically need to take a break once in awhile.  My habits don't really change much, but I do cut back on how much I read and analyze.  Sometimes I feel like I'm so "in my head"  and overthinking that it robs me of the present moment.

Argyle

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2015, 03:05:21 PM »
Yeah, I hear you.  I also find myself beating myself up when I slip.  Like something dropped out of the bag of groceries and got left in the car overnight, and now it's no good and I had to throw it away.  I was facepunching myself like crazy, and then I thought, "This has gone too far.  I'm supposed to be adding to my happiness."

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2015, 03:06:24 PM »
I definitely go in stops and starts. I think it's valuable to do that. Do some renovations, and let the dust settle before you start on the next project. =) Otherwise you risk doing the dieter thing- go to extreme too quickly and it isn't sustainable.

If you're feeling the fatigue, pat yourself on the back for the changes you've made, and settle into a holding pattern for a while. It'll benefit you in the long run far more to not burn out!

One big aspect for me has always been mindset. If I see it as deprivation, I do worse and never keep to my goals. If I feel like I'm trying to "outsmart the system" and flex my creativity, then it's way more fun.

Deo

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2015, 03:16:35 PM »
Yes, I think I'm suffering from something similar.

It's not that I have any difficulty being discipled, it's more the brain spinning in an attempt to further accelerate "the dream" of financial independence.

I think it's a bit more like knowledge fatigue, and the 80:20 rule.  I have already gained 80% of the wisdom I need to hit a very early retirement from 20% of the knowledge;  however, my obsessive and perfectionist tendencies are driving me to acquire that remaining 20% of wisdom from the 80% of knowledge left.

In fact, it's probably more like 95:5 in my case. 

The way I tend to work in life is to obsess over something until I nail it, and then move onto the next thing. However, "nailing" financial independence will inevitably take years.

norabird

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2015, 03:27:02 PM »
50% is pretty great! It's okay to pause there. the nice thing about optimizing spending is that eventually you don't really have to force it; you'll decide on it naturally. Sort of like how decluttering can take ages also, until the moment you're ready to let go of a certain item (or cost). Generally, I think if you feel you are being deprived, you will act out eventually.

Rollin

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2015, 05:17:26 PM »
Yes to answer your question.  When i get like that i give myself permission to sit back and enjoy.  I'll dig back in when I have the energy, even if it is just to make sure all is well,

muckety_muck

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2015, 05:24:05 PM »
Yes. I was suffering BIG TIME from "we can't afford this" when it was really "I don't want to spend money on that (I'm so cheap!) but we CAN afford it..." And then we had a couple of kids and anything that wasn't already set to auto-pilot, went out the window. Luckily, our 401ks were set to max and so we didn't have to think about that. I'm sure we spent too much $$ on eating out and on baby crap and other miscellaneous "unnecessary" stuff... but all of it helped us to survive being new parents. And you can't put a price on that!!!

My advice: Take a break. Spend some money. Take a vacation. Buy a ridiculously overpriced TV/piece of furniture/appliance. Do something you wouldn't even consider doing normally. We took a 3-yr break during the baby years and are now back in full-force with a FURY for savings. I have renewed hope/interest now.

Good luck!

James

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2015, 05:31:17 PM »
Excellent question, and yes I absolutely cycle through times of optimization fatigue. Especially when I first got to know MMM and had a ton to optimize.


I highly recommend not "taking a break" and blowing the budget. What I recommend is more along the lines of auto-pilot. Realize your fatigue, allow yourself to not think about making things perfect, but find that middle ground of a good constant life of simplicity and continuity. Don't increase spending, just be happy with where you are. When questions come up make a list and jot notes if you think of things, but give yourself permission to just let your lifestyle sink in. Don't add spending either though. Then, when you have had a break, hit that list and re-negotiate your lifestyle. Upgrade where you can, run all your spending through the prism of your life goals and plans, and then find your new auto-pilot level to travel at. I think that is more sustainable for me than constant optimization, but each person has to figure out their way of keeping things going toward their goals.

BarkyardBQ

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2015, 05:39:36 PM »
+1 James

DW and I went from spending all our income before we got married, finding MMM, started tweaking, discovered we had the gold mine of retirement buckets (two 457b, Two 403b, IRAs, and pensions). We immediately went into overdrive to figure out how to lower regular expenses, stop bleeding by eating out, cut out discretionary spending etc. Defining our goals and plugging the holes was the easy part, adopting the new routine has been more difficult, but we got it figured out The rewards are apparent and next year should be real easy, auto pilot like... grab a cold one and enjoy.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2015, 05:45:16 PM by BackyarBQ »

Bearded Man

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2015, 06:33:25 PM »
And here I thought I was the only one. I plan and think through everything, research it to death, then weigh over time. Yes it is tiring, but it beats the opposite. Haphazard decision making. After all, we are the sum total of our life choices.

bogart

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2015, 08:51:59 PM »
Not me, but then, I'm not an optimizer, I'm a satisficer.  I devote enough attention to a decision to make a good one and stop at the point where spending more time on the decision likely has a lower payoff than just going with what I've picked.

I'm also not particularly interested in RE, so the question of whether I can shave a month or a year or a ... off how much longer I have to bring in a paycheck isn't one whose answer has much value to me.

Blany

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2015, 12:55:28 AM »
Just keep building your healthy good habits and picking at the lowest hanging fruits... you're already moving way up tree and will continue the climb!

Kalergie

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2015, 03:24:23 AM »
I love optimization. I will probably never get tired of it. Why would I? Most times, I can tell a difference in life quality, energy wasted, money spent almost instantly. What does attribute mostly to "optimization fatigue" is IMHO over analyzing things, not making decisions, and never implementing the optimization. I had to learn that perfection prohibits practicality.

DeltaBond

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2015, 04:44:33 AM »
Sounds like almost everyone on here feels that fatigue sometimes, and I do, too.  It might sound odd to hear that, but I don't necessarily have goals now of future optimization, but more like "I'll do research on medical insurance changes at the end of next year" - or - "I'll re-evaluate the mortgage situation after my daughter finishes middle school" - "Research on investments can wait until I actually have the money to start investing monthly"... things like that.  Sure, you can optimize everything right this very minute, but I personally have a lot to do every day, and adding things like that in causes me a lot of mental stress, so I have to space that stuff out.

I personally get fatigues because its as if everywhere I go businesses and banks are trying to beat down my brain with the ad nauseum advertising and paperwork.  I can't come home from anywhere without some piece of paper in my hand, and I swear, I'm starting to hate paper.  Seems businesses are taking advantage of the perceived notion that the economy is way worse than it is, cutting all kinds of unnecessary corners for the consumer.  I just decided to stop buying stuff - literally - I like to eat out, but if I order a burrito dinner, and there's nothing with the burrito, it had better be larger than the burrito that comes with rice and beans ... last night I ate at my favorite Mexican restaurant for the last time AND I'll be leaving them an online review today.  That's just an example, but I have just become very choosy with where I spend my time and money.  Its rare anymore that I feel I have gotten my money's worth and its very tiring.

cjottawa

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2015, 11:46:38 AM »
I feel like I'm experiencing "optimization fatigue."
...
Does anyone else just get tired?...

Yes, and it resulted in my backing off, for which I'm much happier.

Now, I set a goal, breaking it down by year (and month).
Automatic savings contributions are set up to meet my goal.

The rest: free to do with as I please.

Fatigue level now: zero.

I do say "no," a lot though, because I'm a minimalist who doesn't like clutter. That helps a lot.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 06:18:22 AM by cjottawa »

FLBiker

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2015, 01:35:09 PM »
And here I thought I was the only one. I plan and think through everything, research it to death, then weigh over time. Yes it is tiring, but it beats the opposite. Haphazard decision making. After all, we are the sum total of our life choices.

It may beat haphazard decision making, but it doesn't beat doing 90% of the research (which likely takes 10% of the time) and making a good decision (rather than the fictitious perfect one).  And please understand that I'm directing this more at myself than to you, as I am also prone to researching to death.

Bearded Man

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2015, 02:27:58 PM »
And here I thought I was the only one. I plan and think through everything, research it to death, then weigh over time. Yes it is tiring, but it beats the opposite. Haphazard decision making. After all, we are the sum total of our life choices.

It may beat haphazard decision making, but it doesn't beat doing 90% of the research (which likely takes 10% of the time) and making a good decision (rather than the fictitious perfect one).  And please understand that I'm directing this more at myself than to you, as I am also prone to researching to death.

I don't disagree with you. Personally, I like to sit on things. Unless a decision HAS to be made right away, I wait for more information so I can have a clearer picture. A different perspective. See if circumstances change. Some might think I'm a procrastinator. I'm really not. I've just found if I sit back, a lot of times time will take care of a problem. For example, at work, we have really high turnover. The people are terrible. It is just awful working there. Some of the awful people, who made it awful, made me want to leave. I decided to wait for a while and see if any new information presented itself that would make my decision easier and bam, within a year, three of them left in anger. Two of the three left a week apart.

Now I just know at least with people who haven't been here for years already, it's so bad that most people will move on within a year or two.


TheBuddha

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2015, 03:35:02 PM »
I don't personally sweat the small stuff too much, it's more important to get the big stuff right. Avoid big mistakes, and put as much saving/investing on autopilot as you can.

Dave Ramsey recently told someone they were "stepping over dollars to pick up nickels".

Also remember the 80/20 rule. Your time and mental energy are valuable. 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Try to direct as much energy as you can to 80% stuff.

Rosy

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2015, 05:21:52 PM »
Oh yeah, I know that feeling.
I figured out that I'm fine for about 5 to 6 months at a time, then I itch to do something outrageous or simply break out of that cycle of total focus on optimization.
So I allow myself a break every few months, blow that months savings or whatever - I don't destroy what I already built, but I stop for a month or longer, since all the important stuff is set on automatic, I'm fine.
In fact, I don't plan to get back into focus mode until January.

The picking at whatever catches my fancy at the time is a good way to move forward, but it is important to me not to step back or ever lose focus on my main goals, but I can sit it all out for a month or two if that is necessary for my personal well being.

I think all of us who are not born with the savings gene, but have a tendency to latch onto whatever interests us at the moment eventually need to let go and allow ourselves a break or we would ex or implode:)

Rosy

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2015, 05:25:09 PM »
[quoteDave Ramsey recently told someone they were "stepping over dollars to pick up nickels". ][/quote]

So true, like the old saying "penny wise and pound foolish" - stepping away allows you a fresh perspective and gives new energy to your goals.

Genevieve

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2015, 06:21:34 PM »
My last three posts have been whining about how I know a few of my money habits are terrible, but I've been very busy trying to build skills for a new career and I'm tired.

So to answer your question: YES.

But then I get a little down when I don't make much progress towards FI.

We have systems set up that help us stay within our means so we have at least a 30% savings rate on an average month, and then bonuses and extra money can push that higher.

So perhaps I should just be honest with myself that my priority is earning more, and then set a time to revisit bringing down the few places we trouble. No sense in feeling bad about not being able to to do everything at once.

obstinate

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2015, 11:05:58 AM »
If anything, I tweak for too long. I get a kick out of it.

If you feel like you're spending too much time optimizing, take a break! But the important thing is to distinguish between taking a break from optimizing and taking a break from your good habits. You should not take a break from your good habits. In other words, don't start going out to eat five times a week, etc. But if you want to pause and just stick with the systems you currently have in place until you have more energy, I think that's fine. (Especially if you're already in a good place.)

arebelspy

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2015, 10:05:05 AM »
Frugal fatigue is discussed a lot on this forum.. do a search, and you can find lots of reading.

Here's one thread, for example:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/frugal-fatigue/

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moneyandmillennials

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2015, 12:46:28 AM »
know there's other forums on frugal fatigue but those haven't posted in awhile. 

Yes I do get frugal fatigue and I feel like some people get more fatigued than others based on personality and environment.

Almost akin to losing weight or doing well in school.

Some people need to work extra hard to lose weight or do well and it's not necessarily their fault. Sometime they fall off the cart by eating out too much or watching to much tv.   It could be how a persons brain is wired or what kind of environment they were raised in.

I get tired of doing all the calculations and weighing what I can afford and not afford.  But I always remind myself of the end goal, FIRE.

like the previous poster said, preparation is better than no preparation!!!!

BPA

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Re: Anyone else suffering from "optimization fatigue"?
« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2015, 06:01:06 AM »
I love optimization. I will probably never get tired of it. Why would I? Most times, I can tell a difference in life quality, energy wasted, money spent almost instantly. What does attribute mostly to "optimization fatigue" is IMHO over analyzing things, not making decisions, and never implementing the optimization. I had to learn that perfection prohibits practicality.

Yes!  I have done as Argyle has done and beat myself up over waste, but in the big scheme of things, I realize that isn't an enormous deal.  I'm glad I've been able to stop over analyzing like I used to.  The "how do I do or achieve X while living my own personal values" is always present with me.  I do get incredibly annoyed at my son and brother for being wasteful though.  They both seem to walk around in the seemingly thoughtless daze of ADD.  It's not their fault, but when they cost me needless money, I get aggravated.