Friday, February 8, 2013

Where do you spend your time?

So, what do you spend your spare time doing?

A great article on Habit Investment, located here:

One section:

One of the things I’ve learned in my last 7 years of creating new habits is the power of compound habit interest.

It sounds really obvious when you say it, but if you do something small repeatedly, the benefits accrue greatly over time. It’s obvious, but not everyone puts it into practice.

It’s like putting a little extra cash into an index investment fund … let’s say you put in just $5/day (less than you spend at Starbucks perhaps) … at the end of 20 years, you’d have almost $70,000 if you could make just 6 percent interest, and closer to $90,000 if you could make 8 percent. Change that to just $8/day, and you’re now talking about $140,000 or so. It adds up greatly over time.

The same principle applies to habits.

Let’s take a few examples:
  • Spend just a few minutes a day studying Anki flashcards, and at the end of a year, you have a ton of new phrases and sentences learned of a new language. Sure, it’s not the same as being fluent, but it’s much better than you were a year ago.
  • Spend just a few minutes a day doing pushups (even if you can’t do any at first), and by the end of a year, you’ll be much stronger. I’ve seen the same thing happen to me when it comes to lifting weights — I was very weak when I started, and though I’m not going to impress any weightlifters with what I can do now, I’ve made remarkable progress over time.
  • I started out not being able to run 10 minutes, but started with 7 minutes. Soon I could run 10, then 12, then 15. At the end of my first year of running, I ran a marathon.
 I especially like where he talks about bad habits:

Social media sites. Checking social media on a regular basis builds up … what? Not a desirable skill, good health, mindfulness, new knowledge except perhaps what people had for lunch or what product they’ve recently launched. Just think about what you’re building up as you check these sites. The same applies to other things you might do on the Internet on a regular basis.

I've got a guy at work that I constantly tease for how much he checks Facebook. Sadly, when you think about it, it's really sad that he wastes that much time on Facebook when he could be actually learning something.

Every month or so, reevaluate what you actually spend your time on. When I think about the amount of time I spend complaining verses actually fixing things, it gets me to knuckle down and focus more on doing and less on ranting. The more I do that...the more I actually accomplish in the long run.