Monthly Archives: December 2009

Breaking Perfectionism Paralysis

Earlier this year, I wrote about how my perfectionism has fueled an aversion to answering e-mails. This was just an example of the “perfectionism paralysis” I often find myself in.

Recently, I’ve added a few personal finance blogs to my daily pile of reading. On one of these, Get Rich Slowly, I’ve found that a recurring is “The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good” — a theme that for obvious reasons (see above) has resonated with me. (In case you’re interested, the original version, “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien”,  was penned in 1764 by Voltaire in his Dictionnaire Philosophique.)

Applied to personal finance, the lesson JD Roth tries to instill in his readers is that rather than researching all the options of how one could be investing one’s money, it’s best to find an option that’s good enough — and just start.

I don’t know how Lexus feels about it, but Roth does his best to hammer home the point that the pursuit of perfection is an exercise in diminishing returns:

qualityvstime

Let me repeat that – the pursuit of perfection is an exercise in diminishing returns. I’ve printed and posted the above graph to remind myself of this. For a perfectionist who self-admittingly struggles with the weight of every decision, this is a liberating concept.

The Paradox of ChoiceFurthermore, Roth recently reviewed Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice. In the book, Schwartz discusses two types of individuals: Maximizers, who strive to make the best choice possible in every decision they make, and Satisficers, who make decisions once they’ve found a solution that fit the criteria, even if theoretically there might be a better choice available. What Roth found interesting – as do I since it reflects my reality – is that Maximizers are actually less happy than Satisficers. This makes perfect sense to me.

As I’ve mentioned, feeling the weight of every decision — striving to make the best choice possibly while fearing it’ll be the worst — is the way I’m wired.

In his book, Schwartz offers tips for Maximizers like me on how to put less pressure on every decision and consequently live a bit more stress-free. Roth does a nice job of summarizing and presenting about half of those tips. I think I might just have print them and post them next to my “diminishing rate of perfection pursuit” graph.

Julie’s “Guide to Geek Gifts 2009”: Philips DC315/37 Speaker System for iPod/iPhone with LED Clock Radio

The following post is part of Julie’s “Guide to Geek Gifts 2009“, during which she highlights 20 gifts that she’s deemed geek-worthy. Check back to see what other gadgets and tech goodies will make her list. And be sure to contact Julie or leave a comment below if you have a suggestion of your own!


Philips DC315/37 Speaker System for iPod/iPhone with LED Clock Radio (Black)

Guide to Geek Gifts 2009

Why it’s geek-worthy: iPhone/iPod compatible alarm clocks are becoming much more in demand as the geeks among us try to get a handle on nightstand chords. But after a long research period, I can tell you that while there are many choices for this type of gadget, many of them are sub par.

I recently ordered the Philips system I’m featuring today. I had been on the lookout for an iPhone compatible alarm clock and I knew it was exactly what I had been looking for as soon as I walked past the box in the store…

There were a few things that sold me on the Philips speakers in particular:

  • Dual alarms. The number one reason I have strayed from a tradition alarm clock and instead use my iPhone is the ability to set my alarm to only go off on workdays.  I love not having to worry about remembering to turn the alarm off for weekends (and back on again).
  • The design. The iPhone is integrated very nicely with the overall design of the alarm clock. Without a doubt, it’s a modern, clean and sleek look that doesn’t look cheap,
  • Gradual alarm volume. I think this is a really cool feature that makes waking up much more pleasant.  I really disliked the inability to have my iPhone play music or the radio as the alarm. With the Philips speakers, I’ll be able to do just that, and in a less jarring way at that.

For about $84 on Amazon, this Philips system is sure to be a hit with the iPhone and/or iPod carrying geek in your life!

Julie’s “Guide to Geek Gifts 2009″: Eye-Fi Wireless SD Memory Card

The following post is part of Julie’s “Guide to Geek Gifts 2009“, during which she highlights 20 gifts that she’s deemed geek-worthy. Check back to see what other gadgets and tech goodies will make her list. And be sure to contact Julie or leave a comment below if you have a suggestion of your own!


Eye-Fi Wireless SD Memory Card

Guide to Geek Gifts 2009

Why it’s geek-worthy: One of the things I love most about my smartphone is the ability to share my life through pictures no matter where I am. For this reason, I find more and more that I’m inclined to pull out my phone rather than my camera to snap a picture. But as we all know, the picture quality on a phone camera leaves a lot to be desired at this point.

Enter the Eye-Fi Wireless SD Memory Card to solve that problem! The card fits into the SD slot found on most cameras and stores media (audio and video) as your memory card does now. What makes the Eye-Fi card different (and priceless) is that it as built-in Wi-Fi so that you can upload pictures and vidoes to sites like Facebook, Flickr and YouTube through a variety of wireless networks that you designate during set-up and through a variety of hotspots provided by Eye-Fi.

There are four different types of memory cards available (offering a variety of functions at different price levels) but I recommend the 4GB “Explore Video” Eye-Fi Wireless SD Memory Card pictured above which allows to upload both photos and video and gives you one year free of uploads through Eye-Fi’s designated hotspots – a function which has a $15 yearly fee. The card is valued at $99, but through Amazon, Eye-Fi is selling it for $79!

(Two gripes/wishlist items to note: I think Eye-Fi needs to add the number of services to which one can upload media and to improve how uploads are handled – I would love to be able to search – for free – for nearby wi-fi networks and upload videos and photos that way.)