I had an important realization about myself today when it comes to the kinds of tasks I don’t mind doing versus the kind that I will procrastinate about and/or whine mightly.
Today is both the first of the month and payday, so I spent my lunch hour at work paying the bills and balancing my checkbook. This is a task that I absolutely don’t mind doing. I have a system, I pay all my bills online, and there is the satisfying feeling of having everything done in a few clicks of the mouse. I pay the bills, deduct the balance from my checkbook register (yes, I still use an old school register from the bank), and move any extra money into savings. This usually takes me about 20-30 minutes at most and then I am done until next month. Easy-peasy. There is a clarity to paying the bills I find satisfying. I owed money and now I don’t and there is a cheerful confirmation of that fact in my email in-box to let me know I am good to go.
On the other hand, I had two other money related tasks I needed to work on: refinancing our mortgage and setting up my student loan repayment plan now that I’m basically done with grad school. Completing both of these tasks has the potential to save me money– the home re-fi will hopefully help us drop PMI and the student loan thing is to sign up for a public service loan forgiveness program– so I want to get them down. However, each of them is killing me slowly.
First, the mortgage thing. I had to start with an appointment at the bank. Then I had to start an online loan tracking thing and e-sign a bunch of documents. Then I had to supply pay stubs and W2 forms and a letter documenting something on my credit report. Okay, fine. But, wait! They also need my bank statements, even though my mortgage is at the same bank as my checking and savings account. Okay, fine. Oh! But wait, now something needs to be signed again. And now someone else has to review it and I have to pay $477 before they can review it but if it doesn’t go through, I’ll get the $477 back, but not right away and I have to hurry hurry hurry to get everything turned in!
Then, on the student loan front, I have to do the following things:
- complete exit counseling, even though I’ve been paying on the loan the whole time I’ve been in school
- send in a paper form requesting to be put in a public service loan forgiveness program, signed by my employer
- apply online to go into an income based repayment plan which requires me to fill out a bunch of paperwork and, weirdly, requires that my husband also sign it via HIS student loan account with the federal government. He does not have an account because we already paid his loans off. So he needs to open an account to sign my form, for reasons I still don’t understand.
- He needs an access code to be able to access my account from his new account and that code is apparently only good for 24 hours so hurry hurry hurry
- I need to figure out if all the paperwork I’m doing applies to all of my remaining student loan balances or just my grad school loans. You’d think this would be fairly obvious, but you would be wrong.
My realization is that I HATE tasks that have what feels like an unending amount of steps and require other people to have to approve things, usually after they ask me for at least one more document, fee, and/or signature.
I’m a smart and educated person, but tasks like this feel so frustrating to me. Am I done? Did I do it right? When will I know if the answer is yes or no? Why is there so much paperwork? I have actual anxiety about both of these things as I’ve been working to get everything in to where it needs to go and I STILL don’t know if I’m done or not.
Grump, grump, grump