Less time, no time – The “earn more” or “spend less” dilemma
Any small business owner knows that keeping costs low is critical to success.
The same applies to bailing out of the rat race.
It can’t be done unless costs are low, or income is high, of course both would be nice.
However, there are challenges with these approaches.
The problem with the earning more approach is that we have to work so damn hard to actually get more (after deductions and taxes) that we are then inclined to tell ourselves that we are in dire need of an awesome treat, a large present, a product upgrade in order to compensate for all those extra hours of hard work … and correspondingly much less free time.
The old line was “cash rich and time poor”, except that cash rich doesn’t seem to apply as much any more. Perhaps we should just call it “less time , no time, still no cash.”
The problem with the spending less approach is that the media works so very very hard to make one feel personally “worth” less, if you aren’t striving to buy and consume just as much as you possibly can.
We all know this media pressure works very well.
For proof we just look in our cupboards, basement or garage and there are all the products stacked up to the roof that we desperately just had to have at the time.
So ironically, thanks to the media, spending less makes us feel bad about ourselves.
At the same time we are told to specialize … to know a great deal about an ever narrowing range of topics. So over time we gradually know less and less about everything practical.
All this, of course, is really useful for businesses that are in the “service” industry.
You have no time? … You know jack about doing it yourself? …. Don’t worry … we’ll sort it for you (for a fee).
When we get too busy we have to “outsource” the things that we might otherwise normally do for ourselves, and pay someone else to do it for us.
Our kids go to expensive child care.
We get the cleaning service in tidy our own house.
We get the lawn service in to tidy our own garden.
We drop our clothes off for dry cleaning.
We buy ready-made (often unhealthy) meals, rather than cook ourselves.
We go out to dinner because we forgot to buy the ready-made meal for tonight.
If we are really really busy, we get a nanny or an au pair to look after our kids so we don’t have to, because were just too darn busy.
After the services, we start on the material things that could cause us a delay of any sort.
I can’t have an unreliable car because I’ll be late, therefore I need a new one every three years. Cha-ching the wallet takes a serious hit.
I can’t have an old washing machine in the laundry room, it might break down, that would be inconvenient. So I’ll buy a new one, it should work for three years without breakdown, then I’ll buy another one. Cha-ching the wallet takes another hit.
When we don’t have any time, we just don’t need the extra hassle of something breaking down. So we spend to keep things new.
Kitchen sink is blocked just call the plumber out.
Cha-ching the wallet takes a hit.
You get the idea.
It’s a triple whammy zero sum game.
We don’t actually receive much more cash, even if we do, we don’t keep hold of it.
We have less time.
We end up outsourcing things which actually cost us money.
Bailing out the rat race requires (amongst other things):
Realising the media is definitely not your wallet’s friend.
A change of heart and consumer behaviour – less really is more.
Re-acquiring a broad skill base. Insourcing is in. Outsourcing is out.
Everything you buy, is paid for in life hours, as well as in cash.