For me, I prioritize those things that I spend a lot of time with. This is one way I can massively improve my productivity and quality of life.
In Indian society, people usually spend a lot on products that are status-enhancing, and very little on things that increase productivity or convenience. People invest in gold and share markets and even degrees, but not in themselves.
I do not spend on most things that most people usually spend on. I spend very little on clothes. I spend nothing on jewelry, wristwatches or cars. I ride a second-hand honda motorbike and it is the most effective and hassle-free transport I could find. I use Uber a lot so that I can work or take calls on the go.
I grew up in a family that spent more on books than anything else. However, we were also taught to save money in every way possible.
Never buy expensive things, find the cheapest thing, and buy only that.
It was hard to unlearn that lesson. But it was important to do so if I had to grow out of those circumstances.
Sure I do not spend on a car, but during this lockdown, I spent over 18 lakhs educating myself and my top team. I didn’t even wonder what car I could buy with that money.
Along the way, there are things that I have learned are very important to spend on, because cutting back on those things causes more losses in other ways.
Opportunity costs. Missed chances. Aborted missions due to a lack of proper resources. Failed hirings. These things are expensive too.
Here are the few things on which I spend without any hesitation today.
I spend no less than 30-40 hours a week on this device. This one has to be awesome. I prefer to work on a MacBook pro. It has increased my productivity noticeably.
My previous device was a MacBook Air. It was cheaper, and it lasted me for over 4 years without any glitch. It is still in mint condition, and someone else is now using it. But it was slow. I finally decided it was time to upgrade, and not be scared of the price tag.
What a great decision. Money well spent.
If there is a device I use more than my laptop, that is my phone. This year, I got myself the best iPhone available. It was expensive, but I know it will last me for a few years, plus it is safer for my eyes, ears. It is more secure. It is lightning fast, the battery lasts for almost two days and can charge really really fast, and I am always carrying a great camera in my pocket.
I spend a lot of time writing. I need to enjoy the time I spend on writing. I got myself a mechanical keyboard that is 5-6 times more expensive than the standard ones that people normally use. Even the MacBook pro-standard keyboard is nowhere nearly as good as this.
Sleeping is critical. For health, for optimum functioning of the brain and productivity. You also spend a lot of your life in your bed. It is important to make sure that the mattress you use is of outstanding quality. I use a 8-inch thick Wakefit mattress that has three layers of foam and latex. Sleeping on this is a treat in itself.
I also use a health tracking wrist watch that tracks how many hours I slept. If I don’t track my sleep, I am prone to sleeping too less.
After all, you spend a lot of time with your own body. It is very important to keep it in good shape. So I spend quite a bit on good supplements and a personal trainer. I do find some of this quite expensive, but since I have started doing this, I can see a marked difference in my performance and well being. It is like I am a different person altogether.
Btw, degrees are not education.
This is one thing on which I never hesitate to invest. Spending money on education is easy, but spending time and actually learning a course I have bought is much harder though. So I focus on programs with a lot of one on one coaching, consultations and cutting edge material.
I recently paid INR 18 lakhs to an US-based internet marketing company to learn advanced concepts of internet marketing. The things that we have been learning from them, it has been mindblowing. I also have an executive coach who helps me to plan my work better and grow my business month on month.
Best things cost a lot of money!
Investing your resources in the right way is pretty much the only way to grow out of a difficult financial situation.
Here is one thing that I can tell you – I came from a very difficult financial background.
Both my parents worked basic government jobs, but there was a time when we did not have enough food, or the electricity was cut because we could not pay the bills.
In my teenage years, there was a period when I realised my parents were buying no new clothes for years for themselves, so even I refused to let them buy anything for me.
When I joined NUJS, all my parents could give me were Rs. 300 to manage my costs through the month. A phone recharge for the month used to cost Rs. 100. I had to count how many minutes I could call during the month. And I had to think twice before drinking roadside tea even.
I did my first outstation internship at Dehradun at RLEK. I ran out of money while I was there. A co-intern bought me a dozen bananas and gave me Rs. 100 when I was boarding Doon Express to Calcutta, so I could manage for the next 2 and half days the train takes to reach the Howrah station, and then get home.
Luckily I started earning money a few months down the line.
I had to work throughout college to be able to pay college fees and have a normal college life where I was able to afford buying the books I needed, traveling to big cities for internships, going for international moots or conferences.
My father had bought me a laptop in my first year, but the time I was in 4th year, it had pretty much run its course. I had to buy one for myself.
However, here is the thing. Education changed my life. Not only legal education, but also everything else I learned. Writing. Speaking. Digital marketing. Sales. Technology. Product development. Teaching.
It was education that helped me to create a vastly different financial situation for myself.
When I look back, education gave me dignity, recognition and everything else I could ask for.
But that happened only after I invested in education.
When I did not have money, I gave what I had: time, energy, efforts. I earned money and invested in my growth.
Do not hesitate to invest in yourself. If you do not have money, start small. Learn to earn a little. Do not feel bad if you start small. It will soon begin to grow if you focus relentlessly on growth.
If you have the money, then what is your excuse?
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