Being More Productive By Doing Less (At Once)

In my last post I discussed multitasking as something to avoid. I pulled one quote and one experiment to show that multitasking was bad and then moved on with my point.

As a lawyer, I feel the need to double back and support my argument. While many of you agreed, I recognize that I have not actually done the work to convince you that multitasking is, in fact, bad for productivity.

Everyone does it these days. There is so much going on and so many different sources of media that you can’t always help it.

Plus, aren’t you getting more done by doing multiple things at once? Doesn’t squeezing more things into the same time slot mean that you can accomplish more?

Well, no. And here’s why: Continue reading “Being More Productive By Doing Less (At Once)”

How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything

There is a quote attributed to Aristotle that is very popular in the online entrepreneur community lately.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

(It is actually a quote from Will Durant in a 1926 book providing his own summary of Aristotle’s position, but it sounds more powerful coming from a father of western philosopher than from a 20th century writer that nobody knows.)

The quote is nice. It sounds important and stresses habit building. Cool.

But it never clicked with me.

Continue reading “How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything”

Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps (and Why I Ignore Them)

Believe it or not, I have had multiple conversations about Dave Ramsey over the past couple weeks.

Dave Ramsey appears to be the introduction to personal finance for a lot of people out in the real world. While there are hundreds of great personal finance blogs, people are much more likely to stumble across the best selling personal finance book or the radio host that wrote it. Continue reading “Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps (and Why I Ignore Them)”

One Tax Season Tip to Save $9,000

I spend a good deal of time preparing taxes this time of year.

My own, sure, but also lots of other people’s. I prepare taxes as a side hustle.

As far as side hustles go, it’s pretty good. The money is solid for a side gig. I can work as much or as little as I want. I get to work with numbers, which is something that I miss in my current day job.

And yes, I recognize that that last line may not be a selling point for most people.

I have learned a lot through this job, but there is one lesson in particular that I want to talk about today.

Nobody is putting enough money in their 401(k)! Continue reading “One Tax Season Tip to Save $9,000”

Are Your Neighbors Making You Poor?

In October 2016, a study was published with the title “Does Keeping Up with the Joneses Cause Financial Distress? Evidence from Lottery Winners and Neighboring Bankruptcies.”

I suppose that’s a relatively exciting name for an academic paper, but a bit underwhelming given how interesting the findings are.

The media went in the complete opposite direction. The study was covered in articles like “Why lottery winners make their neighbors go broke,” “Living Near a Lottery Winner Has A Surprising Downside,” and “Why You Might Go Bankrupt If Your Next-Door Neighbor Wins the Lottery.” Continue reading “Are Your Neighbors Making You Poor?”

Want to Get More Done? Go Back to Sleep.

Sometimes a key to solving a problem seems counterintuitive at first.

If you are pressed for time and constantly facing deadlines, the most helpful thing to do is often to step back and take some extra time to plan and prioritize.

If you find that you can’t stop spending too much, sometimes paying for a personal finance course is a good idea.

And, as we will explore today, if you feel like you are not productive enough with your days, you might want to try sleeping more.

Pretty sure this guy is sleeping, although it is possible that he is dead.

Continue reading “Want to Get More Done? Go Back to Sleep.”

When Buying Happiness, Pay Up Front

Last week we learned that one of the best ways to buy happiness is to spend money on experiences rather than things. Today, I want to explore a trick to squeeze a little extra happiness out of those same purchases.

The trick is paying in advance for as much of your experience as you can.

This helps increase the happiness you get from your experience in a few ways. First, it separates the event itself from the pain of paying. Next, the anticipation and delayed gratification will make you happier. Finally, in looking forward to your experience, the uncertainty of what is to come will bring you some extra happiness, as well. Continue reading “When Buying Happiness, Pay Up Front”

How to Buy Happiness

I apologize in advance for the inherent humblebraginess of vacation pictures. I did warn you, though.

I am generally a pretty frugal person. Three of my last four posts have been about saving money. I’ve written about cognitive biases that get in the way of saving money. I’ve written about the best way to hit savings goals.

And yet, I just spent a whole bunch of money on a three-week vacation to South Africa and Spain. This came thirteen months after a trip to Peru. Which itself came eight months after a honeymoon in the Bahamas (which, to be fair, was paid for with hotel points).

The sun setting over the Atlantic from Cape Town

This may seem out of character or incongruent with my savings focus. But I don’t save money for the sake of saving money. I don’t intend to be the richest man in the cemetery. And while I would love to reach financial independence, I am not aiming to get there as soon as possible by any means necessary. Instead, I want to live my best (and happiest) life with as little waste as possible. Continue reading “How to Buy Happiness”

Actually Saving Money

Recently I’ve spent some time here discussing the most optimal ways to save money. First, focus on the big wins and then take a look at your recurring expenses.

This is a great start, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t actually put that money away. Instead, our natural tendency towards mental accounting may be eating into, or completely negating, our savings.

Continue reading “Actually Saving Money”