Thursday, August 27, 2015

My New Favorite Decision Square

Because I'm an anthropologist, I have no management training or skills.  This has turned out to be a challenge sometimes.

I was randomly watching some TEDx talks (the TED talk style drives me bonkers but it was better than the other trash I could have been watching on the youtubes) and one had this thing on how to make choices or set priorities in work and life situations.  Presented by some MBA dude I think.  It seems like a handy way for me to do some simplification.

Here's the thingy:

Just fill in the squares.   Like I hate trying to find shoes that fit right so that goes under "things I hate" and "have to do" (because I really do need to wear shoes).   Turns out I have pretty much automated that already.  I like Keens brand Pyrenees style boots.  I actually have a reserve pair in storage because a) the style is discontinued and b) I found them online for 50$.  I had my shoes shoes (like not boots) automated as well.  Keens Briggs style.  But, they changed the model a bit and I don't like them now so I'm on a quest.  The current pairs are trash.  I got a pair of a different style, same brand (Thanks Chris-n-Pat for B-day money!) so I have a good pair of shoes.  But alas, I will need to find another stable style.

I have done the same thing with bras and undies.  One style, one size, one brand.  Just buy it.  It also means I just keep an eye out for sales or cheap sources.  When I'm near a discount clothing store I run through and see if that is there.  I buy a few bras and several pairs of undies ahead of the curve so I haven't run out in years.

Automating the stuff you don't love but have to do, frees up mental energy for the stuff you love.

Then there is the "Eliminate"...the first run through the square ended up with a not much in there.  That was good to see.  I've already eliminated quite a bit of those things I hate and don't have to do.  Haircuts...don't like them, don't do them.  Last haircut, even trim in fact, was in 1989.  Nothing bad has happened.  Make-up...never even started.  Earrings...never even started.  Shaving.  Quit years ago (which is why I went to the Dr. to get a mole removed...I used to just hit them with the razor while shaving, now I don't have a razor, and I already paid the Dr for a year of care so let him do it.  I will probably take the stitches out myself though.  Why drive a half hour for that?).

One big thing in the "Eliminate" box is "listening to other people's opinions on my life choices."  I really really really really hate that.  It's hard to eliminate though unless I completely give up talking to people or answering their stupid questions.  I guess I can try that "be a mirror not a sponge" thing when they start talking and just stare blankly and think of other things.

Eliminating that stuff frees up even more time, money and mental energy for the top two boxes...things I love whether I have to do them or not.  Interesting.  Very interesting.


Angela Gulick said...

This was a really interesting "square" to think about. I'll have to try it sometime. One thing I have decided (and we might differ on this, but we can still be friends) is that I have started to put a value on my time over saving 4 cents. I can get things cheaper by getting in the car and driving all the way across town, but I find that driving irritating and time-consuming. So for me, there are certain things that I am willing to pay more for to avoid the stress/cost of gas/time to find it cheaper somewhere else. That has to fit into one of those squares :)

Jill said...

I TOTALLY validate that! And when you factor in gas and wear and tear on the car (and on your mental health from the drive) that is a perfect frugal choice you are making. It's all about deciding priorities and then doing that. I too sometimes pay more upfront to align with some other priority. I just spent more on a product from a "mom-n-pop" business when I could have gotten it through But, I like to support mom-n-pops when I can and the difference in price was not a giant one. We don't all have to stop and chip nickels out of church-parking-lot-ice. (oh Tom...)