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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Improve your life by thinking marginally

my kitty....... by * K A Z Z I E * from flickr (CC-ND)
Try to answer the following two questions as honestly as you can:
  • If you found yourself with an extra hour a week of free time - what would you do more of?
  • And if you found yourself with an hour a week less of free time - what would you do less of?
If your answers to these questions differ, then you're not doing a good job managing your life, and you should just go ahead and replace things from your second answer with things from your first answer.

The same logic applies to money, energy, and all your other resources. It's easy to fall to status quo bias and other delusions, but according to accepted laws of economics, if your answers are different, it's a really good bet you're either prioritizing a lower value activity (second answer) over a higher value activity (first answer) or you're not honest with yourself about your real priorities.

Exceptions are possible - some things are really all-or-nothing and you can't do "a bit less" or "a bit more" of them, or maybe you're doing something precisely as much of something as you find valuable but every additional minute of that would be a total waste. But most of the time people just don't do a very good job managing limited resources life gives them.

Hopefully this post helped a bit, without taking much of your highly valuable time.


Noumenon said...

I took this post to heart and quit my job, now... "Laid-Off Man Finally Achieves Perfect Work-Life Balance," as the Onion video has it. Gonna be quite a long time before the thing I wish I was doing more of is work.

taw said...

Sometimes taking a break from work is the best thing to do. I'd know that, I was a freelancer for years.