Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Law of Diminishing Returns

One of the most famous economic principles is the law of diminishing returns. 

I am not a professor of economics but as I understand this law, it says that a point will be reached that productivity and effectiveness will begin to decrease regardless of how much additional effort and input you apply. 

Example - eating less to lose weight.  The basic principle is sound, eat less, exercise more, lose weight.  

However, at a certain scientifically determined point, eating too little will cause your body to reserve calories and therefore hinder your weight loss. 

I am diminishing my returns.  

By trying to mentally compose a post while reading a book to my children, I am diminishing my return. 

By trying to physically compose a post while listening to my husband recap the highlights of last evenings Eagles game, I am diminishing my return.  

By trying to psychologically analyze the meaning of a post while pretending to play babies with my daughter, I am diminishing my return.

This morning all five members of my family were dressed and ready for the day by 5:45AM.  This meant we had 45 "extra" minutes.  Forty-five precious units of time.  Three quarters of one hour that was unspoken for, available for blogging, vacuuming, reading, resting....the possibilities were limitless. 

I sat in front of my laptop in my dining room poised to write the post that has been rattling around in my head for the past three days. 

Mom, do you think Jack will like my Eagles shirt? Mom, where is my purple cup? Mom, I'm finished pooping! Er, you know what's funny...

I tried deserpately to power through.  I reassured the Eagles fan, fetched the purple cup, and congratulated the pooper.  I nodded appreciatively about the rushing yards of Michael Vick.  I attempted to multi-task and my frustration grew. 

I looked at the clock in horror.  Three minutes left.  I had wasted 42 precious minutes.  Forty-two minutes had passed and I had NOTHING to show for it.  No blog post, no memory with the kids, no connection with my love.  I hadn't fully engaged in any activity. 

Tears burned my eyes and I wanted to scream.  I wanted to yell.  I had no one to blame but myself. 
How should I have properly handled my 45 minutes of "free time?" 

How can I avoid the trap of investing more input
than my return is worth?

That answer is simple. 

Invest here.



  1. But maybe your investment was growing during that forty five minutes of 'free' time because as you answered questions and gave pep talks along with reassuring nods you were making capitol gains that will pay off in the future.

    That comment just made me feel like I was back in the financial advisers office (recent post called something like 'the walls oozed coma'.

  2. Thanks - I can only HOPE that I am making any kind of gains!!!