Tag: Scotland

How can frugality make me more creative?

There is a paradox when it comes to creativity: the tension between freedom and constraint. While we often think of the ideal creative process as unstructured, open-ended, and free of limitations, research has found that creative individuals – in both artistic and business settings – can actually benefit from self- or externally-imposed constraints.

Most of us cringe when we hear words like ‘budget’. As with the word ‘diet’, images of spartan deprivation, meager portions, and boredom spring to mind. But my experiences of frugality have been exactly the opposite – not tightening, but freeing.

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Do you have Affluenza?

‘Affluenza’ – a portmanteau or blend of the words ‘affluence’ and ‘influenza’ – is said to be a ‘virus’ caused by a combination of consumerism, property fever, and the battle of the sexes, resulting in consumer debt, overwork, waste, environmental harm, psychological disorders, alienation, and distress.

Over the past decade or so, a number of books have been published under the title Affluenza. The word first appeared sometime between the 50s and the 70s, taking off in the 1990s following the broadcast of the American documentary of the same name, and the subsequent book by John de Graaf, David Wann and Thomas Naylor in 2001. They define ‘Affluenza’ as:

‘a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.’

Like many novel neologisms or coinages, the term is not without controversy – at least one psychologist wants to ‘eradicate this word from our vocabularies’.

So how can you know if you have ‘Affluenza’? And how can it be treated – or immunised against?

Click to play the ‘Do you have  Affluenza?’ podcast:

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Is time money?

‘Time is money’ wrote Benjamin Franklin in 1748, in Advice to a Young Tradesman, Written by an Old One:

Remember that TIME is Money. He that can earn Ten Shillings a Day by his Labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that Day, tho’ he spends but Sixpence during his Diversion or Idleness, ought not to reckon That the only Expence; he has really spent or thrown away Five Shillings besides.

To update this slightly, Franklin is saying that there is an opportunity cost involved in deciding not to work: if you take a week’s unpaid holiday, you need to consider not only the costs of the holiday, but how much money you could have earned during that time.

Over time, the idiom has come to be associated perhaps more commonly with other people wasting your time rather than you not making the most of it: ‘I can’t afford to spend a lot of time standing here talking. Time is money, you know!

But what is the relationship between time and money?

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