#Advisorhack: Time Is On Your Side


Time Is On Your Side…

It’s not what we say is a priority, but what we actually DO that’s a priority.
– J.D. Roth, founder of Get Rich Slowly

In other words, “I don’t have time” is an excuse, a lie. That’s why Nerd Fitness recommends replacing the common refrain, “I don’t have time,” with a different phrase, “It’s not a priority,” that actually puts things into perspective. Because the reality is that your time is your own; what you do is a priority, what you don’t is not.

So, instead of saying “I don’t have time to read The Behavior Gap,” say instead, “reading The Behavior Gap isn’t a priority.” Shifts your mindset, doesn’t it? That’s why this is such a great lifehack. We’re subconsciously telling ourselves that it’s OK to put off the things we want to do, ought to do, or even must do by blaming it on time! Not anymore. What you do in life, in business, or even at all is your own choosing, so take responsibility.

…But Waiting Might Not Be A Bad Idea

Where the last lexicon lifehack seems very intuitive, the following theory comes off a little counter-intuitive at first. Lifehacker introduced me to a new philosophy on decision making pioneered by Frank Partnoy in his book, WAIT: The Art and Science of Delay. What Partnoy suggests is a simple two-step process for making good, sound decisions. He calls this process, “don’t just do something, stand there,” and it’s two steps are:

  1. Think about what the greatest amount of time you could delay before taking an action or making a decision.
  2. Wait until the last possible moment in that time frame [to make your decision or take action].

Weird, right? It goes against pop-sci author, Malcolm Gladwell’s contention in Blink, against all the “go with your gut” guru’s, but coincides nicely with nobel-prize winner Daniel Kahneman’s suggestion that we place too much confidence in our judgement. Partnoy insists that even what we call “snap decisions” are best made at the last possible moment–that’s what makes the theory work, that you wait until the last possible moment in the available time frame to make your decisison.

The interesting part about both Partnoy and Kahneman’s hypotheses is that much of their research is based in finance. Thinking Fast and Slow, Kahneman’s best-seller, is a weighty book (Reading Thinking Fast and Slow is not a priority, for me), but you can find plenty of examples that back up the “take your time” decision-making theory in an excellent talk from Partnoy on the RSA website.

Just thought I’d offer some new ways of thinking to help you do more, better.

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DJ is a freelance writer, hopeful photographer, and social media has-been. He writes to financial advisors about lifehacks, science, technology, business and marketing for Blueleaf, a software that helps create dramatically simpler, more scalable financial advisory businesses. You can find DJ across the web (about.me/djswitz) or you can just follow him on Twitter (@djswitz)!
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