April 16, 2010

Time Wasters: Accumulating

Look, I can't make them put a quality product in the dispensers. If they want to take the cheap way out, people will just use more. Then, the cheapskates will actually wind up paying more.

Oh, hi. Glad you're here. I was discussing cheapness with Nicky. I'm not going to talk about that with you. At least, not today. But I am going to talk about wasting money and time.

"Is this going to be a GTD thing, Cowboy Bob"?

I think it qualifies, yes.

Thinking back on my past lives and how much I have changed, I realized how much I felt that I had to accumulate. Years ago, it was difficult to get a decent audio recording from a television broadcast. Technology was different, and I was poor. I had to rig up something, splicing into the TV's speaker wires and using an input on the cassette deck. I just had to have the sermons by certain TV preachers, and built up a sizable collection.

This ran into money for tapes, stick-on labels, cassette storage albums (they were like notebooks, each side would hold eight tapes) and so on.

Similarly, there were some radio preachers that I liked. For some reason, I did not feel compelled to record all of their stuff, just special occasions. But some offered study materials as companions to their lectures, and I had to have those, too. Fortunately, they were free, even though I donated money on occasion.

Most of the cassettes were not played again. The study guides and other materials? Never touched. If I remember correctly, I wanted to have them "just in case" I was going to lead a Bible study group or something. Looking back, I know that it was just an excuse and there was some deeper neurosis at work.

I would get fond of a music group, and have to have the entire set, everything that was available. Some albums were downright crummy, with maybe one or two good songs, but at least I had the set!

Amazing.

I hope other people can see themselves in this. If so, my message is that you're wasting your time and money. You don't have to be obsessed with completing a set and "having all of them", whatever "they" are.

You don't need to get stuff "in case you might need it later". That is a clutter trap of the first order. I had my materials in storage containers of one kind or another, and then trashed it or gave it away. Time, money, energy could all have been put to better use. Granted, downloads, podcasts and the like only clutter up your online storage, but still, do you really need them all?

Just get what you like and need. Think before doing; that will help prevent you from getting irrational about accumulating stuff.

But I have to add that it is truly liberating when you realize that you do not need to love stuff, and that accumulating actually becomes a prison of your own making.

Subscribe in a reader