Author Topic: How do/did you stay focused?!  (Read 2396 times)

dude

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How do/did you stay focused?!
« on: February 27, 2014, 07:29:30 AM »
So I've had the early retirement dream in mind for some time now, given I've always known since I started my law enforcement job that I could "retire" in 20 years with a pension (actually, about 21.5 years, for reasons I don't need to get into), but like many thinking of ER, I had doubts about the feasibility of doing so, and kinda figured I'd end up going until age 57 when I'd be mandatorily retired (i.e., "one more year syndrome" even way before I got there!).  But connecting with this site and others and learning about Safe Withdrawal Rates and Income Replacement Rate (based on expenses, not income!) and hearing from those thriving in ER made me start crunching the numbers, using all manner of calculator, including the FIRECalc calculator popularized here on MMM, has made me realize that I can indeed leave this job in 5 years (though I'm very much inclined to go another year or so more, i.e., Jan. 1, 2020, the year of my 55th birthday, so I can have immediate access to my tax-deferred retirement account if I want).

Here's the thing -- I'm the kind of guy who, as the Marshall Tucker Band sang, "likes to get away, likes to start dreamin' about tomorrow today."  When I have upcoming vacations/trips, the 3 weeks prior, my productivity slides noticeably!  All I can think about is the upcoming trip.  And so now, with just 5-6 years to go, I find myself in the same boat w/r/t retirement!  But it's far too early for that!  I owe it to my employer, who after all is the reason I'll have the ability to ER in the first place, to put forth my best effort.  But damn, I get obssessed with thinking about the day I walk out that door, and the life that lies ahead, and it's a constant drag on my productivity.

For those of you who've already ER'ed, did this happen to you?  How did you cope with or manage it?  For those approaching ER, do you have the same problem?  How are you dealing with it?  For sure, it falls in the category of #firstworldproblems, but it's something I've got to deal with nonetheless!

soccerluvof4

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Re: How do/did you stay focused?!
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 08:01:31 AM »
All as i can say is its a great obsession to have. I dont try to compress it as much as I relegate time for it. If its affecting your job then perhaps try making an appt with yourself to think about it later and Journal.  Journaling is a great tool to get things out of your mind and then you always have something to go back and look at. There is even a journal thread on here you could start and just journal once a day. I think you would clear your head alot that way

MarcherLady

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Re: How do/did you stay focused?!
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 08:22:05 AM »
How do I stay focused?  I clearly don't or I wouldn't be on the forum when I should be working :-)   

Yes, this is a big challenge for me too.  I'm still at least 7 years off ER, but I'm totally over being a wage slave.  I have a daily battle to remind myself that I have to keep working to meet my retirement goals.  Having a few years worth of FU money in the bank means that it's just so tempting to tell my boss where to stick his annual appraisal... I'm not having a good day at the office :-(

Dr. Doom

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Re: How do/did you stay focused?!
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2014, 09:04:03 AM »
For those of you who've already ER'ed, did this happen to you?  How did you cope with or manage it?  For those approaching ER, do you have the same problem?  How are you dealing with it?  For sure, it falls in the category of #firstworldproblems, but it's something I've got to deal with nonetheless!

I'm pretty close myself -- I've hit my FI number and am currently doing the 'one more year' thing, so it feels like I have senioritis of a sorts.

Here's what has helped me hold it together professionally over the years:
- Reminding myself every day that working is a choice and I'm choosing to do it.  Somehow this shift of attitude helps me to stay on-task.  It feels better to do things because you want to rather than because you have to.
- Focusing on tasks at work which result in helping other people.  So you can feel good about contributing in places that actually matter to you.
- I reduce the amount of time I spent worrying about office politics, the quality of my paperwork/reporting, and other things that don't matter as much to me.  In other words, I spend more time on the more enjoyable parts of my job and less on the bad stuff. 

Another general observation is that you'll go through phases.  During some phases you'll be really hot on RE and your brain will be stuck on it.  But during others it'll get cooler and take more of a backburner to whatever else is going on at work and in life. 

This is normal and good -- It isn't healthy to be 100% focused on finances and retirement all of the time.  I would argue that if you need to get away from the job so badly that you can't think about anything else for super long stretches -- 3+ months or more -- it may be time to look for something else.  7 years is too long to wait doing something that makes you miserable every single day and has zero redeeming qualities.  (If it were 2 or 3 I might feel differently but more than that.. well.. )

Your post reminded me a little bit of this MMM gem:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/08/16/what-it-feels-like-to-become-rich/

I think that over time your feelings of excitement will fade as you internalize the knowledge that you'll be leaving soon and the money stuff is completely on auto-pilot.  This was true enough for me anyways...

MarcherLady, we're going through the annual appraisal stuff at my place of work too.  It sucks.  I mean my review is perfectly fine but I find the whole process so tedious and stupid -- This is not something I will ever, ever, ever miss about working a standard 40+ hour a week job.



dude

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Re: How do/did you stay focused?!
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2014, 09:35:07 AM »
Just to clarify -- I'm not miserable, per se (though I do truly dislike the commute).  My job is not terribly stressful, I like the people I work with, and the work is occasionally interesting.  It's just that I'm pretty bored with it generally, and a second "career" (so to speak) awaits when I'm done with this one.  So it's just hard to stay focused and interested!  Accordingly, I can't wait for that day to arrive -- though on the other hand, I don't want to wish away time, because time is the one thing none of us has enough of.

lexie2000

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Re: How do/did you stay focused?!
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2014, 09:51:33 AM »
I guess DH was lucky.  About 7 years prior to ER, he took a job transfer to the area where we wanted to ultimately retire.   It was the same old company, but the job was new, the challenges were new, the co-workers were new, and the location was new.  That helped a lot until about 2 years out.  During that time, the closer his ER got, the less patience he had with the mega-corp BS.