Joy Mbanugo
5 min readJan 10, 2023

My word for the year is “focus.”

My word for the year is “focus” I know everyone has set their new year resolutions or goals, and I have set mine using Dr. Hayne’s method.

But I haven’t chosen a theme word for the year in a long time. I likely had one per year over the years. 2020 was to survive, 2021 was baby, 2022 was brand, and 2023 is to focus. I’m making minor adjustments to my day-to-day life to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, manager, and person. So I’ve split focus into three areas:

  1. Focus on self
  2. Focus on family
  3. Focus on my craft

As a new mom, finding time to focus on myself is tough. My baby is 15 months old and loves to sit on my lap or be close for any activity. This makes activities like showering, taking a bio break, or leaving the house without him hard. We are fortunate enough to have someone helping us, and my husband is great, but mom guilt is real. To maintain some things that are solely for me or self-care, I’ve started doing a few things. I religiously get a mani and Pedi every other week. I know it might sound ridiculous to some, but two hours away from home is a solid time when I can Pinterest, Insta window shop virtually, or stare out of the window. It’s a time that’s just for me, and no one gives me a hard time. I also make time when everyone is asleep to grab a good glass of wine Pinot to be precise. We all go to bed relatively early, so sometimes I wake up at 10, have a nightcap, and de-stress.

I also make time for my mental well-being. Part of my goal in focusing is to focus on nothing to let my brain rest and be. At any given moment, I am thinking about family, how to advance my career, my board search, investing, etc. Now and then, I give myself permission to take it easy. I do this by watching continuous episodes of Star Trek: Next Generation. Predictability helps my brain; maybe even my anxiety takes it easy and gets lost in outer space. Lastly, I make time for my family and friends. This is challenging when a few of my friends have pandemic babies. I also walk in the garden or to the bank to get in my steps and exercise, as I don’t believe in hardcore training. I also walk in the garden or to the bank to get in my steps and exercise, as I don’t believe in hardcore training. Moral of the story: make time for yourself.

Second, focus on the family! This one is hard because someone may need me at any given point, or I perceive they need me. First up is my hubby. You all remember him, right the controller. Now that we have our little one, it is harder to spend time together, and when we do find time together, we focus on one another. One of our hobbies besides talking about investments is finding the best suspense and whodunit shows on Prime. Right now, we love Jack Ryan. In the past, when we would watch shows, I’d either fall asleep or be on Pinterest the entire time. Nowadays, because our time together is precious, I try to put my phone down, and so does he. This helps us focus on our togetherness. I also set aside time or plan fun dates with my husband. Sitting at the bar at some restaurants is a good hack for you and your spouse to chat not only with each other but with the bartender and other guests. It’s a fun way to have a date night or lunch and a hack to stay off phones and focus on fun.

On the weekends, I am present with my son. I’m happy that now he can walk, so I make him walk to the park and walk in the park. Instead of rushing through the park, I give him time and space to explore. Sometimes it means standing or sitting in the same place organizing leaves for longer than I’d care to, but it brings him so much satisfaction. The cool thing about the park is I have to pay attention to him. I give him my undivided attention because, at any given moment, he will be eating dirt or a leaf! I don’t get mad if he wants to roll around on the ground because his joy is contagious. I could work more or focus on writing and get a nanny for the weekend, but I’d much rather spend these precious moments with him.

Lastly, I focus on my craft. I focus on one area at a time. I concentrate and am present in meetings when I am at work. This can sometimes include ignoring chats. I set aside time at work for meeting prep, meeting review, and brainstorming. Each task or personal strategy session gets its own dedicated time.

Moreover, I spent most of 2022 doubling down on my brand as a finance phenom, and it would be a shamenot to continue to build the brand. I carve out non-work time to find new articles, research crypto, finance tools, CFO trends, etc. Some of this work is for my intellectual curiosity to build my path to CFO and the boardroom. Other research is for posting to LinkedIn to continue my brand journey. Lastly, I spend time writing, interviewing for podcasts, and speaking. Most of my time, writing is super focused because I get ideas in the middle of the night, like this article! When I am hit with an idea for an article, I either start it right then or take down the topic and return to it. I have article ideas that hopefully will get published in 2023 that I spent some of my focus time on in 2022. Overall, the term focus is a work in progress. Some may read this and think well, you are just great at managing your time, that is also true, but it is the quality of what I do with the time when I have it. Another person may think this is prioritization, and yes, it’s partly that, but my focus is an overwhelming willingness to put on horse blinders and focus on the task at hand. I want to execute at the highest levels, and hope “focus” will get me there.

With my 2023 emphasis on focus, below are four tips to stay focused in 2023.

  • Ruthlessly prioritize your goals. 3- 5 a year and spend your energy on those 3–5 things.
  • Cut down on social media time or time box it. It’s easy to scroll on social media all day, but it is a big time suck unless it’s your business.
  • Use your calendar to help you maintain focus. Yes, I am one of those people who schedule everything.
  • Do not multitask. Do one thing at a time and do it well.
Joy Mbanugo

Joy Mbanugo is a California based Finance professional with over 19 years of finance experience. Find out more at