• Cocktail and Dinner Party Economics
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  • Dinner Party Economics

Overdone

Most people don’t have a really complete system, and they get no real payoff from reviewing things for just that reason: their overview isn’t total.  They have a vague sense that something may be missing.  That’s why the rewards gained from implementing this whole process is at least geometric: the more complete the system is, the more you’ll trust it.  And the more you trust it, the more complete you’ll be motivated to keep it.     Getting Things Done by David Allen pg 47 Confession time: I did not buy this book nor would I ever naturally it pick it up.  Rather, it was my husband’s choice.  He bought it for all the reasons a messy person buys a self-help organizational book–he  was hoping for a quick-fix to solve his organizational problems.  However, he soon got bored by the book and decided to get the audio book instead.  He thought that listening to a CD while driving would be a more enjoyable and an efficient use of his time.  Not so.  Somewhere in northern Ontario he had to turn off the CD because it was causing him to fall asleep at the wheel. Truth be told, even if the book was interesting to read (or listen to),  it would not help him because he would find the cure more onerous than the disease.  Only an organizational-phile would ever implement such a tedious system and my husband isn’t particularly fond of micro-organization. This book was a waste of money for him and it pains me to realize that people like Martin have contributed to this book’s best seller status. As an economist, I see organization through the framework of cost-benefit analysis.  When the marginal cost of a system exceeds the marginal benefits you shouldn’t use that system.  Instead look for a cheaper outside option.  For example, it is much better for a disorganized person who is brilliant at one thing to hire a neat-freak to organize the rest of their life for them. Personally,  I know a couple of  high level executives who do not make any appointments (of any kind) themselves without first clearing it through their administrative assistant.  Furthermore, it is usually the spouse who manages the home front.  (The spouse and administrative assistant often confer with each other.)  Trade theory says that this is a smart approach because getting organized is not a trivial exercise.  Scarce time resources could be better spent on projects of comparative advantage and for a high knowledge person this does not include activities of self-organization.  My husband happily concurs.  

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