Today, we will cover actions and how they cost you time, energy, and money.
Table of Content
- All Actions Have a Cost
- How to Determine the Costs of Your Actions
- 1) What are the financial costs?
- 2) What is the time investment?
- 3) How does the action make you feel after you have completed it?
- Be Clear About The Costs
All Actions Have a Cost
You cannot act within a vacuum. Whether you are going to the store or watching TV, everything you decide to do will have a price.
All actions cost time, energy, and money. Some activities are excellent and worth the investment. For example, going to the store requires time for the trip, money for the groceries, and energy for creating the list and buying the goods. However, the benefit is food in your home. You avoid wasting money eating out or the emotional stress of an empty kitchen.
Conversely, some activities cost but give no long-term benefit because you are trading resources for a fleeting desire. Watching TV is an example of trading time and mental energy without receiving much in return.
All individuals must understand how much actions cost and if such a price is worth the investment.
How to Determine the Costs of Your Actions
You are mortal. Thus, it is crucial to optimize your life, so you aren’t wasting what you have.
Determining the costs of your actions requires immense introspection. You must track your time, keep a journal, and maintain a budget. The more you know where your resources are going, the better your insight into your actions.
1) What are the financial costs?
Money is a tool for purchasing resources, experiences, and services. A budget helps you track the financial costs of your decisions and activities. With a budget in place, you gain a deeper understanding of your spending.
When I tracked my budget, I discovered I spent too much eating out. However, I was happy with where the bank account was. I did not need to change. I only gained this insight because I kept a tight budget and adjusted my spending as needed.
You may discover that the occasional trip to a restaurant isn’t killing you as much as you thought. Or, you may need to put the brakes on clothes shopping so you can invest your money elsewhere. You can’t make these assessments if you don’t clearly understand your actions and their financial costs.
2) What is the time investment?
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Mother Theresa
Time is a limited resource. You do not get more time and cannot replenish what you have. Therefore, when looking at the cost of an action, you have to factor in the time involved.
All actions require time in both preparation and execution. If you want to go to the store, there is the time involved in gathering your keys, creating a list, and driving to the store. These are all execution acts. The actual shopping doesn’t happen till later. Then, you must return home and place your groceries away. All these activities are involved in the task of “go shopping.”
Because of this, you must be very thorough when judging how long something should take. How long is the commute? What do you have to prepare? Is there a “clean up” phase where you must put something away or go back home?
Understand the time investment of a task, and you can better plan out your day, remove things that are a waste, and reinvest in whatever is the best investment.
3) How does the action make you feel after you have completed it?
Lastly, we must consider your mental health and emotional feelings towards the particular action. All actions make us feel a certain way. If something creates shame or guilt, you’ll drain your vitality and hurt your effectiveness in the long run.
Understanding the emotional costs of something requires you to be honest with yourself. Shopping for groceries will make you feel productive and capable, while eating out will make you feel wasteful. Thus, seeing the hidden cost of your actions is worthwhile, so you do not negatively affect your emotional and mental effectiveness.
Although emotions can be fickle, having a firm philosophical foundation will ensure your feelings serve your best self instead of your vices. You must live honestly and virtuously, so your emotions can help determine the cost of actions on your emotional and mental wellbeing.
Be Clear About The Costs
“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” – Carl Gustav Jung
You have to act. Without understanding the costs of your actions, you’re more likely to run out of money, time, and energy, especially when you want to do something meaningful.
- What’s something that you really like to do? What are the costs of this activity?
- What’s one thing that you do which provides little to no benefit but has a high cost? Why do you engage in this activity? Is there any way you can reduce or eliminate your investment?
- What’s one thing that provides you with increased earnings, happier emotions, a sense of pride, or another positive consequence? Do you invest enough in this activity? Why or why not?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.