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Eighteen Ways to Invest in Life

Eighteen Ways to Invest in Life
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    Do you invest your money? Putting away a portion of your income into an investment plan creates more money later. With interest rates and financial pundits it is easy to see why financial investment makes sense.

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    But what about investment in other areas? Do you invest in your time, brain, body or space? What about investments in the books you read and friends you meet? Although few areas of life have the precision of an investment account, applying investment principles to other situations can have incredible gains.

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    Here are a few started points to consider your investment into life:

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    1. Mind. How much time do you spend learning? Not just studying for mandatory courses, but subjects you seek out only to learn. You can’t predict the value new information will have until you learn it. So pick up a book and start investing in your brain.
    2. Body. Until medical science allows full body transplants, your stuck with your body for awhile. Putting in the right investments of exercise and healthy eating will ensure it can pay out later. Extra energy, less sick days, increased mobility and a longer life are just a few of the returns.
    3. Skills. What skills may come in handy later? Knowing how to prepare your taxes? How to fix your computer? PHP? Spend a half hour each day investing into a skill.
    4. Order. A small amount of time spent creating an organizing system can save dozens of hours otherwise lost. A simple system to order your tasks and office will keep mess from compounding.
    5. Tools. Need to upgrade your computer? Or maybe you just need to do a quick reformat to clean out the hard drive. Craftsmen keep their tools sharp, why not yours?
    6. Writing. Do your e-mails look like they were written by a thirteen year old on an instant messenger chat screen? Writing isn’t going away any time soon, so learn to communicate clearly in print.
    7. Network. Building a professional and private circle of friends is something you can’t do on demand. It takes considerable upfront investment, often when you don’t really need it. But having an extended network can give you access points to opportunities later.
    8. Communication. How are your speaking skills? Can you do a fantastic cold call? Are you good at talking to strangers? How about empathizing with a friend? Find opportunities to invest in your communication skills.
    9. Stories. Are you living a life worth talking about? I like to see interesting experiences as being investments in stories later. Do something worthy of telling stories later.
    10. Courage. Make getting uncomfortable a habit. If you regularly flex your emotional muscles in handling new situations you are better prepared for when you really need to. You don’t need to take huge steps, just small investments.
    11. Work Ethic. Invest in creating the character traits to get stuff done. Investing in these core traits are easier because the act of investment is useful in itself. While exercising at the gym may lead to a healthy body it doesn’t create new value. Finishing projects, building discipline and developing a productivity system will invest in a work ethic while adding value.
    12. Leaky Faucets. The drip-drip-drip of a leaky faucet can waste huge amounts of water over time. But water loss isn’t the only type of leaky faucet you can encounter. If a problem is small but likely to reappear, fixing it immediately can save enormous costs later.
    13. Habits. Your regular routine is an often neglected but incredibly important aspect to consider. You can’t turn yourself into a robot, but you can take simple steps to ensure your daily activities flow smoothly. Eating habits, sleeping habits, work habits and your daily rituals all contribute to your life.
    14. Strong Connections. Networking isn’t just about adding names to a Rolodex or a Blackberry. Having close professional and private bonds can be an incredible asset. Investing in empathy, listening and softer, more passive, skills can be an incredible asset in making you a people person.
    15. Rest. Frustrated stress is an emotional debt. Although it’s good to have a challenge you also need to invest in your psychological well-being. Finding outlets for frustrations and creating rituals to recover your energy can ensure you don’t accumulate debt payments later.
    16. Basics. Invest in the areas of your life that come up frequently. If mastered, basic skills, routines and places can reduce the amount of work you need to do. Basic skills such as cooking, reading, exercising and listening all benefit from investments.
    17. Appearance. You could definitely argue that the world is far too shallow, and I’d have to agree. But your appearance and attire is a subtle form of communication about yourself. So if you’ve been sporting the four day stubble and your shirt has one too many holes, maybe it’s time to invest in that first layer of communication.
    18. Business. Anyone who tells you that running an online business or self-employment is easy is either a liar or a fake. That being said, working on your entrepreneurial skills has advantages that go beyond money. Besides doing something you love, you can make new connections, build a reputation and immerse yourself in an environment of learning. I know many people that have started businesses, and while it definitely takes work, the investment is usually worth it.

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    Scott H Young

    Scott is obsessed with personal development. For the last ten years, he's been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better.

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness How to Motivate Yourself: 13 Simple Ways to Try Now How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines 18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick

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    Last Updated on March 31, 2020

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why We Procrastinate After All?

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    Is Procrastination Bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How Bad Procrastination Can Be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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    Procrastination, a Technical Failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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