“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
– Mae West
Among the million different things we are acquainted with and will probably come across, Time, Energy and Money are the most vital ones that play the major role in what we do, what we become and what we achieve. They seem totally unrelated, right? Well, they are all in finite amount, can’t be created more and can only be managed. Yes, that’s the common element that forms a triangular relationship among the three, which ultimately is affected largely due to our decisions. So how do you weigh out the necessary pros and cons while taking up certain advice? How do judge the value of something new that you get from the vast multitude of internet information?
Right from the get-go it is the best practice to consider the aforementioned three elements while making a choice regarding any new advice. Internet and the information we are getting everyday tends to become more of an overload if we are unable to grasp the essential and ignore the nonsense. Fake news, faulty advice, unhelpful tips are only going to be serious pitfalls if you don’t base your decisions on time, energy and money.
MASTERING TIME DAILY
Spending time on useful things helps you grow wiser and learn. Remember you only live once, you are in your teenage only once, you are getting 24hours daily, but you can’t revert back to any particular day once it’s gone. Daily you come across something new, something different from the usual over the internet. Something that you feel might be beneficial in your life, may it be study related, work related, family related or anything that remotely involves learning. During such moments it makes perfect sense to analyse whether that newly discovered idea or concept cuts down your learning curve by half. If it does, then without further ado take that thing up, work on it. Change is always desirable. By changing the method of learning you introduce variety into your daily life, and it makes the overall learning process a lot more interactive and fun. Avoiding monotony is the main aim here.
“Excellence does not come from believing in excellence, but from constant change, challenge, and improvement.”
– Jeffrey Fry
Half the people are used to wasting valuable time doing easy things, or things they are familiar with. They shun new things or new ideas and ignore new propositions. But if you open your eyes a bit more clearly it dawns on you that doing something differently doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to re-learn the technique, but it rather means that you are exploring newer avenues of doing the same task. Cutting the learning curve by half is ideal, you learn more for the same buck, win-win for you and all parties involved. Always make it a point to try several outs instead of rigorously implementing an archaic technique just because the majority follows it.
Stanley Kubrick quite appropriately said, “I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.”
THE ENERGY-EFFICIENCY PARADOX
Spending energy wisely is all down to how you go about each day doing things that benefit you in the long run rather than just binge watching a new tv series, that’s not productivity. Let’s say you came across a new technique or someone gives you new advice regarding how you go about doing a task that you have been doing since a while. Now it makes sense to weigh out the pros and cons for that new technique. Energy, especially that in a human body is limited. So if you are doing something worthwhile, do it sincerely. Take necessary resets and breaks between work or when back from work, utilise them well, plan your day, and perform at your best level.
Christopher Sowers in an article wrote, “As much as possible, lower the activation energy required to engaging in the new habit you want to establish. Try to set the new habit up so that it happens as automatically as possible. The less you have to think / decide / take action, the better.”
Activation energy describes the amount of effort it takes for an individual to perform an action, accomplish a task, or make a decision. Higher the difficulty of a choice, more will the energy be spent in arriving at a conclusion. Waking up early and jogging to the gym requires higher level of activation energy, whereas hitting the snooze button every 10-15 minutes is relatively much easier. Remember in the long run your willpower doesn’t work if you are lethargic and used to recurring habits of procrastination. Willpower alone can’t get you out of bed. So focus your energies daily, prioritise the activities you deem to be rewarding and be the master of your 24hours.
When taking a decision regarding a new advice you should ask yourself the following – Is there something better to do? Am I consuming for producing?
The first question makes you aware of the things that are essential and the things that are not. Just because you love football doesn’t mean you’ll stay glued to the TV for the rest of day. Instead you could read a book or start up a conversation with someone. Environmentalists and nature lovers have been preaching judicious use of resources so as not to deplete the current, dwindling levels of energy. Similarly, you should learn to utilise your energy to the fullest. Doing things that are productive, that have a long term benefit should be your topmost priority.
We have this expression ready every time we realise that our decision was a mistake, “It seemed like a good idea at the time”. Thats the irony we live in. We are used to making impulsive decisions and regretting them later on has become a forced habit.
Getting back to the aforementioned questions, the second one in particular deals with productivity. You either consume the content someone else created, like watching tv shows and games, or you clear or mind and work to produce something useful. Be it creating something new, writing something different or doing a new activity, they are all worthwhile if it is a productive task.
Suzanne Yoculan rightly said, “There is no such thing as failure, only partial success!”. Experience is your best teacher. If you favour inaction to protect yourself from failures and avoid taking risks, you don’t grow, you don’t learn, you don’t achieve.
THE MONEY MONSTER
Now money is something that we all crave for. We base most of our work-related and future decisions based on money first, and other necessities later. This mindset is desired when taking up something new, or when obtaining new information. You judge the importance of a decision or advice based entirely on the future value of that thing. Such decisions are in the same league as investing in the stock market. You analyse the Return on Investment to the best of the resources at your disposal. If the new information or advice is actually going to benefit you manifold or significantly, then you should get aboard that wagon immediately.
Knowing very well that I am not into investment banking, stockbroking, mortgaging or equity firms, I’d still say that you need to focus your investments into something based on the outcome or end value. The money you spend should benefit you, your career, your family or your personality in one way or the other. If it does neither of those things then, my friend, thats a bad investment.
“We have a certain daily ‘budget’ for what we focus our attention on and let into our consciousness. How we spend that allowance determines our human experience.” – Jonas Ellison
MAKE EACH DAY MEANINGFUL
For spending in general, be it money, your time or energy for that matter, you need to assess whether it’s worth your efforts. Knowing when to cut corners and when to dedicate oneself totally is something that doesn’t come easy to all of us.
“Don’t let your life slip through your fingers because you’re waiting for that imaginary “one day”. Don’t let this week pass by without doing something meaningful. Or this day. Or this hour. Right now, start eliminating the things that don’t don’t matter and start taking action on the things that do.” – Willem van Zyl