Sunday, January 4, 2009

Working Smarter, Not Harder

In making my goals for 2009, I have reflected a lot on 2008, which was the best year of my life. Yet I am still not working in the profession I desire, and I don't make (and more importantly saving) as much money as I want. I have come to the conclusion that intelligence and hard work are not my problems. I am constantly reading and working on projects. My problem is that I'm not working smart enough. I just read a blog entry from Tim Ferriss, author of The Four-Hour Workweek, that helped me re-strategize my plans and the way in which I work and live. I've included the beginning of his blog below:

I was stressed out… over dog cartoons.

It was 9:47pm at Barnes and Noble on a recent Saturday night, and I had 13 minutes to find a suitable exchange for “The New Yorker Dog Cartoons,” $22 of expensive paper. Bestsellers? Staff recommends? New arrivals or classics? I’d already been there 30 minutes.

Beginning to feel overwhelmed with a ridiculous errand I’d expected to take five minutes, I stumbled across the psychology section. One tome jumped out at me as all too appropriate—The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen or read Barry Schwarz’s 2004 classic, but it seemed like a good time to revisit the principles, among them that:

-The more options you consider, the more buyer’s regret you’ll have.
-The more options you encounter, the less fulfilling your ultimate outcome will be.

This raises an difficult question: Is it better to have the best outcome but be less satisfied, or have an acceptable outcome and be satisfied?

For example, would you rather deliberate for months and get the 1 of 20 houses that’s the best investment but second-guess yourself until you sell it 5 years later; or would you rather get a house that is 80% of the investment potential of the former (still to be sold at a profit) but never second-guess it?

Tough call.

For this complete blog, click here.