It is much easier to buy exercise equipment than to use it to get into shape. I’m taking advantage of that right now by creating a home gym of used equipment for about 1/3rd the cost of new. Exercise equipment isn’t the only thing that is easier to buy than to really use.
It is very easy to become enamored with high-tech devices that promise to save hours of time when we are in the purchasing stage, but fail to execute when it comes to really implementing them. This isn’t just a problem for individuals. I routinely see businesses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on software designed to make them more efficient, only to lose most of the advantages because they don’t have the discipline to follow through in the implementation stage.
When you are looking at buying a new device or new piece of software, be sure to consider the expense of really learning how it works and using it. Here are a couple things I do to lower the amount of time I need to spend learning new technology:
- Upgrade my primary computer every 3 to 4 years. I tend to buy at the very top end, but keep it a long time. Switching computers can be a big time drain.
- Skip versions of software. On one hand, I need to stay up-to-date in order to get support, but on the other, if everything is working, I don’t want to take the risk of running into a bug by trying to follow the manufacturer’s update cycle.
- Don’t be the first. I usually try to wait a while before upgrading software or hardware. There are plenty of people who simply must have the latest and greatest and I’d rather learn from their experiences than join them.
- Standardize. When my family was switching cell phone providers, I got everyone to go with the same Blackberry that I use. One reason is so I don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out a new phone if they need help. The other reason is so they can help each other.
- Learn from other people’s experiences. Amazon reviews are a great way to find out what people don’t like about something. Also, a search for “product name review” will find a lot of other reviews that are helpful.
Regardless of where you fall on the technology adopter spectrum, keeping a focus on the true productivity benefit of every new device will help you save time and money.
Craig Thomas says
Spot on. Upgrading is the way forward. I feel sorry for those who buy completely new gadgets or things that a simple and cheaper upgrade could sort. Quite annoying in fact.
Thankfully I’ve convinced my friends recently that instead of buying the next ‘new’ mac, make a custom computer and upgrade every few years.
“Upgrade my primary computer every 3 to 4 years.”
That is probably realistic, but I would say that it is also closer to the norm. My workplace has a 5 year replacement policy and I have many, many relatives with computers much older than that. But if the point is that you are no longer getting a new computer every year or two, then I suppose this would be a change for you.
Mark Shead says
It is probably typical for average computer users. Given my field of work, 18 to 24 months is more typical.
Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com says
I know exactly what you mean. I see friends signing up for gym memberships and shelling out £200 upfront. I say “just start the exercise habit daily for free at home for a month”. Nobody listens. C’est la vie :)