Super basic economics lesson:
Your time has a price. This price is usually determined by you.
You want to always be doing something that is worth the price of your time. For example, I consider writing for this blog to be worth my time. This isn’t to say that I will directly monetize the blog to make it match the exorbitant value that I give my time–it’s probably something more indirect that I don’t know about yet.
Or it’s a complete waste and I’ll realize that in a few months or years and quit. Who really knows.
The things you do also have a value. When you choose to do one thing over something else, there’s an opportunity cost–that is, these things may have different values. if you do something that’s worth less relative to your time, you are “losing” money (time).
End super basic economics lesson.
This is very important to how I manage my time and run my life.
In relation to classes at a university: one of my professors calculated that it costs about $108 for an out of state student (me) to simply walk into class.
By this theory, if I am doing something in class that I find to be worth $0, and the thing I could be doing instead is worth at least $108, skipping class is a no-brainer.
I actually did this a few times. At some point, my computer science professor told the class that during the next class meeting we would be watching documentation videos on MATLAB. Why the hell would I effectively pay $108 to watch a video to do something that I would learn how to by completing the lab that was due the next week anyway. Would you like to know what I did instead?
To be specific, I read high quality nonfiction. I read a book called Essentialism. It’s basically about quitting. Well, it’s about doing fewer things, but doing them better. This was completely wroth my time, all $108 of it.
This concept breaks down a little when you get to hypotheticals like reading. Reading doesn’t directly cause me to make back a hundred dollars (there is a correlation, and some may even argue a causation but it’s not a direct correlation = causation). But, reading that book and learning more about choosing to do less things led to a lot less stress in the long run. There’s no way to set an actual monetary value on not being stressed, but to me it’s basically priceless.
If you haven’t noticed, I quit a lot. Usually these are small quits.
During the semester, if i’m practicing my horn and I get mad at the music or the horn or me, I put it away and go do something more productive than being mad at inanimate objects. I know that not everyone is afforded this liberty, as many of you reading this get graded on how well you can play things.
But I do the same thing when I am graded too. If I’m working on a problem set and get frustrated, I do something more productive than get mad a words and numbers on a page–I’ll go work on a computer science lab or work on my english essay.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m trying to make persevering a the wrong time seem absurd–which it is. Trying to learn or accomplish something while you’re mad or annoyed or frustrated at it is mostly ineffective. There’s a reason why we have our best ideas in the shower (almost all of my posts so far have started in a shower), so it’s no coincidence that I shower a lot.
Okay well I do shower a lot, that’s not why I stop when I get mad. In Advanced Learning Techniques, personal development guru and master learner Brian Tracy states that learning happens best when you’re relaxed. He actually reminds the listener what feels like every fifteen minutes.
Coincidentally, I’m a student, and I’m in the business of learning.
Quitting allows a state of nearly perpetual relaxation, so I learn well almost all of the time. Now, this isn’t to say that I have the best grades in the school.
I would consider myself to be at a point where the opportunity cost of getting a few more percentage points on each grade is too high for it to be worth it.
Is a few more percentage points worth a ton of stress? I certainly don’t think so.