I heard a speaker recently who gave an example of too much choice being a bad thing. The example involved offering free samples of jam to customers in a shop, and then offering them the option to buy a pot.
The research found that beyond a point, more choice led to lower sales. Some choice was good, too much was not so good.
So how much choice is good?
I am sure the supermarkets have worked this one out but, as usual, I found myself thinking laterally. When looking for a solution to a problem, how many options are there?
I reckon that, with enough time and resource, there is no problem that doesn’t have a limitless range of possible answers. Ask an academic if you are unsure about this one… The problem is that we don’t have limitless time and resource, and have to make do with a small number of options.
Unless you have a “no-brainer” of a question, possible solutions can be grouped into categories. For example, the obvious, the wacky, the seemingly stupid, the clever, the smart.
However you face challenges, the trick is to not let the question become overwhelming. Which leads me to a favourite saying: How do you eat an elephant? Answer, one mouthful at a time. The saying neatly illustrates the point that a complicated question, with too many possible answers, could probably be simplified if it was broken into smaller pieces, so you don’t get indigestion…
Time is money. We all know that. But do you know how much your time is worth? I recently helped a self-employed client work out this cost, and thought I’d share the process.
The starting point is to work out how much it costs to “keep you alive” each month. This should include your rent or mortgage, your utility costs, average food bill, travel costs, a contribution to a small annual holiday, and a little contingency “just in case”. Let’s say, for example, that this amounts to £1,200.
You now multiply this cost by 12 to get your annual cost: £14,400.
Assuming an average working year of 220 days, you need to earn just over £65 every day to stand still. However, that’s after paying tax. So your gross earnings would need to be in the region of £80 per day.
So assuming an 8 hour day, it costs you £10 an hour to sit still.
It might not sound much, but every hour you don’t earn means you have to earn more in the other hours. Let’s say you only earn in 60% of the time. You need to charge about £135 a day, or £17 per hour.
So when you sit down to read or do something that you are not being paid for, ask yourself, is it worth £17 per hour?