Better or Easier?

Whenever you're about to buy a new (durable) good or declare a new habit, ask yourself why you're doing it. You can categorize it as one of two categories.

There are things that will make your life 'better' by making you stronger, healthier, more attractive, more educated, etc. but which will require future effort. A habit of this sort might be Go to the gym every day after work. A purchase might be a blender for making protein shakes. I think anyone who reads this blog agrees that exercising every day and eating protein are things that would make your life 'better.' You'll also agree, I hope, that going to the gym more often and making protein shakes will require more of your time, money, willpower, and effort.

Then there are things that will make your life 'easier' by giving you more time, money, space, willpower, or other resources, but maybe at the expense of other goals you have. A habit of this sort might be Say no to the first offer of a commitment each day. This will make your life easier by freeing up time in your schedule and only costs a bit of willpower. It may not make your life better, since who knows how unproductively you'll spend your time when you're not at your friend's crappy play, but it does conserve your resources and make your life easier. A purchase that makes your life easier is something that will help you do something you're already doing: a backpack to help you carry stuff around at school or an unlimited bus pass so you don't have to keep refilling your Metro Card. You expend a small amount of resources to free up a larger amount of other resources. Automation of any kind usually falls under this category.

One type of habit/good is not better than the other, per se. But if you're trying to get stronger, get more dates, get promoted, cook and clean your place every night, read more books, learn a new language, and write a daily blog all at the same time, you're leaning too heavily on yourself to make your life better. Focus a little more on making it easier: cancel commitments, throw away all the junk you own, buy things that will make it easier to do what you're already trying to do, block out more time for sleep in your schedule, and keep things simple.

What other examples can you think of for ways you make your life 'better' and ways you make it 'easier?'