You know that thing that happens where you need to do a big important thing, but then you do a million little not important things instead? Well, there is a word for that. Procrastivity. In today's show, I talk about what it is, examples of how it affects us, and how we can cut it out!
Next, I talk about getting free money. We ADHDers already pay a thing called the ADHD tax. That is late fees, things we don't need, and the food we don't eat. Well, to help offset the tax, we might as well take the free money that is offered to us. And what I am talking about is making sure you get your full match through your 401(k) at work.
Finally, I'll answer a listener question about how to study for an exam while you are also working! Lucy wants tips on how to actually sit down and study.
Outline of the Show
Get your free money! [11:25]
Sitting down to start studying [16:23]
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[00:00:00] David DeWitt: Welcome back to ADHD money talk, the show that helps dynamic but distracted ADHD brains. Take back control over their money to stress less, live a more enriching life, and open up new and amazing possibilities. And I am your humble and quiet ADHD. Dave Dewitt. All right, friends. So far in this podcast, we've talked about the ADHD-friendly one-page plan.
[00:00:28] We have talked about setting guesstimated goals, and we've talked about structuring a budget. And if we are executing on our budget, we have savings. If we didn't have any sort of life happens or emergency fund at all yet, we've talked about how it's vital to use those savings. To build up that initial life happens fund of at least $1,000.
[00:00:51] We then discussed how the next step is paying off high-interest debt. And we've talked about using the snowball or avalanche method to tackle that. But I completely forgot about a step that I literally put in my ebook that, ideally for a lot of people, fits right in between getting your initial life happens fund and beginning to pay off the high-interest debt.
[00:01:15] And what I'm talking about is making sure you're getting all of the free money that you can. So we're going to talk about that today. I'm also going to share with you the term that I learned the other day that has been coined by one of the leading ADHD researchers on this planet and how it is something that explains so much of the issues I have had in the past and still today with productivity starting and finishing tasks and all these kinds of things.
[00:01:42] And I also have a listener question from Lucy that I had forgotten to answer from weeks ago. But it's totally on the topic today about how to get focused on studying for exams while you're also working. Okay. And Gaza hasn't had any questions come to LA over the past couple of weeks. So please entertain me, ask me some questions you'd like to have answered on the show.
[00:02:05] I really do have this very irrational fear of running out of them. I feel like if that happens, then everyone, all of a sudden distinct the show sucks. Or something like that. So it's totally irrational, but it's the truth. So ADHD, money talk.com or DME on Instagram. And ask me a question or strike up a conversation.
[00:02:25] I love to chat. I love to hear from you. All right, guys. Uh, one last thing. Visit Dewitt cm.com/adhd. That'll also be in the show notes if you want to explore how I'm doing financial planning differently with ADHD brains in mind. Okay. And with that, let's get on with the show.
[00:02:46] so something I've done my entire life is procrastinated. Procrastinate, procrast. Do you have a paper due in three weeks? You can find me in two weeks and six days in, at night at 12 midnight, starting my paper. And it was always the worst when I was in school. And of course, it also affects me in other little ways, like never whining about doing the laundry.
[00:03:06] When I see a pile of laundry on my bed, I get this sinking feeling in myself. And I know I'm going to have to fold it and put it away. And I either somehow muster up the courage to do it right then and there, or it sits in my bedroom for about a week before I get to it. And then the pile is of course, twice as big; I don't mow the lawn until the grass is really, really high, which makes it way harder to know it's not good for the lawn because there are way too many clippings.
[00:03:32] And then it takes way longer because I have to bag all the. When I have things to return, they either don't get returned or return them right before the time limit is up. And thank God for Amazon that they give you a lot of time to return things. And by the way, if you want to remember to return things, I suggest putting them in the front seat of your car and just having them sit there.
[00:03:54] And you know what? You may actually let it sit there. Well, past the date, you had to return it by, but at least we gave yourself a fighting chance. Right. And how about having a piece of jewelry made for your significant other and letting it sit in the jewelry store for four months before you finally pick it up?
[00:04:10] Oh, that reminds me. And you may have found yourself doing little things that are not all that. When, you know, you should be doing something a lot more important. And there's actually a word for this Russell Ramsey who coined the word. And I'm reading his book right now, which is called rethinking adult ADHD.
[00:04:29] And it's been very, very good. So I read all the lighter ADHD reading, and now I'm going onto the sort of heavier stuff that has, you know, reviews of studies. It's deeper eating, and you know what? I'm kind of a nerd like that. So it's all good. So check out this book on rethinking adult ADHD by Russell Ramsey, but the word that he coined to describe the things that you do between the thing that you're supposed to do is procrastivity.
[00:04:59] So, according to Russell, procrastivity refers to the phenomenon in which an individual makes a good faith plan to engage in a priority. So for me, that might be studying, but when it comes time to perform the task, he engages in a lower priority but is still productive. For me, that might be making some meaningless tweaks on my website.
[00:05:21] Procrastinating is self-defeating because the lower priority task, although useful, is not as urgent or important as the higher productive high priority task and draws time and energy away from it. And this increases the likelihood that the priority task will go on done. So what does this mean? Well, I'll tell you exactly what this is.
[00:05:43] This means that when I wake up and tell myself, I'm going to study all day long, I find myself in between starting to study and the time I wake up doing things that just do not need to be done on that day at all. They'll get done in the future at some point but do not need to get done. I do not need to send that one email to that person.
[00:06:05] Who's trying to offer me something that I'm sort of interested in. I do not need to make a tweak on my website. I do not need to make another social media post. I do not need to brainstorm new podcast topics right now. I need to be studying, and I do not need to check on the stock market. That's the worst.
[00:06:22] I do not need to get another cup of coffee. I do not need to go into my garage and hit a golf ball. I do not need to do any of these. But those are what I do when I need to be studying. So this literally happened to me yesterday for writing this podcast script. And I consider writing and creating these podcast scripts to be fairly deep work and not that easy to do.
[00:06:45] It takes a lot of effort for me to get started on them. I love when I'm finished, and I love the results. But the process is can it be tedious? And I honestly think there is some level of fear that it won't be good enough and that I won't get it done in time. And that it'll somehow fail things like that.
[00:07:02] But of course, on the day that I was going to get most of it done, there was all of a sudden, pretty much out of nowhere, about a million micro tasks that were easy to complete that did not lead to being done whatsoever, but I decided I would do them all. And every time I did another little micro task, I could feel the overwhelm and stress of not getting to the thing I needed to get to building.
[00:07:27] And this goes right along with how progressivity works. According to Russell Ramsey, procrastivity tends to be a more manual or clerical task. The higher priority tasks are often mentally engaging, challenging, and exactly higher cognitive. He says that each person holds a personalized algorithm for weighing the difficulty of assignments, chores, and other tasks in their work and his or their corresponding ability to handle them.
[00:07:56] So tasks such as taxes or financial matters, homework writing tasks, and unfamiliar jobs that have the potential for air or a likely candidate for escape by a procrastinator. So the more challenging and engaging and hard the task is, the more likely you are to do some. He mentions how what usually happens is that after we do a procrastinator, we tend to have another task demoting thoughts, such as well.
[00:08:25] Now I'm too tired. And then we justify a way to just push it off until tomorrow. He says how a lot of times before we even get started, what we need to do, we already doubt our ability to follow through. And this thought and related feeling of discomfort results in the actual impulse or action of starting a procrastinator, jumping to a task, which we view as more managing.
[00:08:51] And then we criticize ourselves for not keeping to what in hindsight seems like was an easy plan. So it's like a double whammy, according to Russell. And I just completely feel this. This is like explaining everything. So now, when I'm like studying, and I pick up my phone and start scrolling, or I just think of something else through that I could just do in like 10 minutes.
[00:09:12] I'm now saying to myself, you're doing a procrastinator, Dave. So, you know, I think that awareness alone is going to end up helping me. And so, how do we stop doing this? I mean, I get it. We get it right. It's, that's what we do, but how do we stop so, well, it may be tough to stop, but there are some ways you can think about it.
[00:09:31] And so the way that you can help yourself get the thing you need to get done is to break it up into a series of smaller tasks that have concrete starts and finishes and don't take as much time so that when you finish part of the. You feel fulfilled like you got something done, you finished a thing rather than just part of a big overwhelming thing that you were left unfinished.
[00:09:54] He uses the example of doing your taxes, where maybe the first step is just getting the envelopes out and gathering the documents you need. And then you've completed a task you're done for the day. You are. Russell says that now that you've touched the task, it is now more manageable and more tangible and no longer an abstraction.
[00:10:15] And now you've exponentially increased your odds of taking more steps just by doing that first little. And so another thing that you can do is to give yourself a concrete amount of time that you are allowed to work on something. So, you know, I understand this one, but a lot of times, the problem with the solutions that we're supposed to put in place that is supposed to help us don't work at all.
[00:10:36] Because once we finally start the task, a lot of times we get so into it that we feel like we have to finish right now. And then if we. Halfway through then, it won't get finished. So we just keep going, going, going, or maybe we get hyper-focused on it, and we just are really pounding it out. And then, you know, we're exhausted.
[00:10:53] There is always sort of a caveat with ADHD. It's kind of funny how it works that way, but I do think with practice with very, very deliberate practice, I think this can really, really. And again, I'm not the right person to be giving you any tips on this kind of thing, because I'm reading this stuff for the first time.
[00:11:09] I'm not a psychologist nor an ADHD coach, but boy, who I think I need one sometimes. So what do you guys do? What are some of yours? Let me know. I'd love to hear it. And with that, we're going to move on to the main topic of free money.
[00:11:29] So, like I said, at the top of the show, Once you've done your one-page plan. Once you structure your budget and you've started to save. And once you've got your initial life happens, fun, squared away. What comes next? Well, if you're an employee at a company that offers a 401k or a 4 0 3 B, which is typically the retirement account that is offered to you, then you may have free money on the.
[00:11:54] Make sure you check to see if you have a 401k or a 4 0 3 B match offered at your company. Now you only get the match. If you put money in first, it's kind of like a. You give me yours, and I'll give you mine situation, but it is literally free money, as a bonus. So if your 401k at your company gives you a 5% match, they'll match your contribution to the 401k dollar for dollar up to the first 5% of your pre-tax income.
[00:12:25] So if you make $50,000 per year, that is your salary, and your company offers a 5% 401k. You're going to want to log into your 401k settings and make sure that you contribute 5% of your pre-tax income because they are basically going to be giving you a $2,500 bonus every single year. This is literally free money that you do not want to leave on the table.
[00:12:50] And now we'll add up over time. So there are people out there that think you should do the debt first, payout the high-interest debt, and then get the free money. That's leaving a lot of free money on the table. That's going in forced savings essentially into your 401k. And so, not only will you be getting the free money from the company, but also you'll be contributing that $2,500.
[00:13:13] And so let's just say for fun. Just the $2,500 per year that you get from your company grows by 7% on average for the next 20 years. Well then, in just 20 years, and this is assuming no raise, your free money will have added up to savings in your 401k of $102,000. That $50,000 that your company gave you for free turned into 102,000.
[00:13:41] And like I said, that's not including yours. If you include yours, it's $204,000. So that's powerful. So if you can, make sure you're getting your full match and then also still be able to budget. So ideally, if you're getting your full match, you're not putting yourself in a position where you really just can't handle the budget at all.
[00:14:03] So you do have to make sure there's some flexibility, so you can still tackle the debt. Once you ramp up to the full, that is the way to go. And I would say for those people, of course, this is just general advice for the average person, but I think it makes a lot of sense now if you do have the credit card debt in the high.
[00:14:22] Then you definitely only want to go up to the match. Don't go any extra until you've taken care of the debt. Because at that point, you're not getting any free money. You're just putting away your own money into an investment vehicle, which probably isn't going to be returning higher than the interest rate that you're paying on your high-interest debt.
[00:14:40] So at that time, You want to pay off the debt. And if you don't have any free money available to you because you're self-employed or your company just doesn't offer a match, which is not very nice, then you may want to skip that step. Well, you have to skip that step because there's no money available. So you'll move on right to the debt payoff.
[00:14:57] But guys, we love free money. So let's get our free money. The added bonus is that you're lowering your taxable income and potentially increasing your tax refund for next year. And it's forced savings. So the reason why I might increase your tax refund is that when you contribute to a traditional 401k, you are deferring paying taxes on that money.
[00:15:17] So when it comes time to do your taxes, you will be reducing your income by the amount that you contributed to the 401k dollar for dollar; this lowers your taxable income, which lowers your tax bill, and thus can increase your refund. And if it pushes you, let's say, into a lower tax bracket, then it could really increase yours.
[00:15:36] In general, contributing to your 401k is going to be a great idea because it really is a forest saving. It's out of sight, out of mind. It's not even usually that easy to check on your 401k. So you're going to check it every year, and you're going to be like, oh, cool. Look at all this money I have. And you didn't even realize.
[00:15:53] And it's like one of those situations where, you know, a lot of times, if you have the money in front of your face, it's so easy to dip into that. Well, when it's in the 401k, it's much harder to get access to. So it's a great idea. So as a recap, you know, in between having your initial emergency fund and then going to pay off your higher-interest debt, you may want to make sure that your maximum.
[00:16:16] Your 401k match. Okay. Let's move on to the listener question for this week.
[00:16:27] well, listen, our question comes from Lucy, and she says, I had a question. So I'm studying and working at the same time, but sitting down and actually studying for exams is so difficult. Do you have any tips? So, yeah, I'm currently going through this right now because I'm studying for my CFP, and it's something that.
[00:16:42] It's tough for me to get started studying every time I go to start studying on, as I've kind of already discussed earlier in the show, and this is something that I have to study a lot, there's really just no other option. That's too much material for me to try and cram at the last minute. And also it's really for my job and for what I do.
[00:16:59] And so I really do want to know this material code and have it stick in my brain for years to come. So I can service my clients as best as possible. I've really tried to be as diligent as I possibly can. And as much as my brain will just literally allow me. So here's a few things that worked for me and some of my experience.
[00:17:19] So, for one, I can not study at work. My job is very flexible. I don't have like set hours. I don't really have a boss to tell me what to do, or so I could study a work. Like I have that freedom to decide to do that. But when I try, I just don't. I just, it doesn't happen. I find myself getting too distracted, and I find something to do besides.
[00:17:42] So, I don't know if that's an option for you, but if you stay at home and kind of give yourself an environment that is conducive to focusing and studying, that would be a good first step. Get your environment squared away. Now the next thing that I do, and this was really a must for me or else, I still find a way to get distracted.
[00:17:59] So, there is a Chrome add-in called to stay focused. And there's also an app called to stay focused. I'm actually not sure if they're related to each other, but they do have the same name. So on Chrome, they have this nuclear option where I can basically block my ability to access the internet, except for a couple of websites that I put on, like the safe list.
[00:18:20] And I do this at the exact same time as I do on my phone. So that app is basically the same thing. I can take a break on my phone. It will not allow me to do anything on my phone besides access my allowed apps. So if I do this on both of them and I'm sitting in front of my books, I don't really have any option except to start reading the books or studying.
[00:18:40] And I also have to put my phone farther away than arms reach because. Even though I can't use my phone and get on it, I can still look at notifications and, you know, if I pull down from the top on my Android, so even that distracts me, so I need to put the phone across the room, I'm using it for music. So I can't have it too for her way.
[00:18:59] And this is always so complicated, my gosh, but that's kind of what I do. And then, like 30 minutes in, I do finally like sort of getting into the flow where I kind of am more engaged in the material. I feel like I'm actually in a rhythm where I'm. Drifting as much, and I can actually get some done. Another thing that helps me is practice questions.
[00:19:19] So, you know, if it's an exam or there are lots of practice questions to do, I am much better at doing practice questions and looking for answers because it's like a challenge or it's like, I have to be figuring something out as opposed to just reading, because if I'm just reading the material, it's in one ear out the other, a lot of times that's always been a struggle.
[00:19:37] So I'm doing lots of practice questions and not going back and reading the material. So those are my tips for you getting apps to block your distracting devices. And the other thing I do is listen to music. Now I listen to this playlist on Spotify called downtempo instrumentals. I've been listening to the same playlist for like eight or nine years now.
[00:19:56] And I go to at the same time, I think at this point, it's just like conditioned me to know that when I hear these songs, you know, it's study time. So that, I don't know, you can check that out. I guess if you want. That playoff was actually originally curated for Google play. Then it went to YouTube, and then somebody on Spotify, I guess, just took all the songs and made their own playlist.
[00:20:17] So it's called downtempo instrumentals on Spotify. So that's my tip for you. I don't have anything else really on that. That's what works for me. So, guys, I hope this was a helpful episode for you over the next couple of weeks. The quality or Lang or the energy from me on these shows might go down a little because I am really running low on time.
[00:20:35] I'm very, very, very busy, but. Committed to every single week, putting out an episode for you guys. So that does it for this episode of ADHD. Money talk. Wish me luck with my studies. March 15th is the day I take my big exam, and you know what? Pass or fail. Ain't nothing going to slow me down. All right. See you guys