Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Baker of Man Vs. Debt.
Every time we automate a process in our lives, we trade a piece of consciousness away for a piece of convenience.
This can be fantastic, as long as we ensure that we automate positive, sustainable habits.
The problem with automation comes when we try to apply it to areas in our lives that need more consciousness.
We run into trouble when we try to solve a problem by automating it.
Automation itself doesn’t fix anything.
In fact, automating a undesirable process only buries the problem even further.
“Problems can’t be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” -Albert Einstein.
We cannot solve problems by trading away consciousness.
We need to reverse this trend. We need unautomation.
Unautomation is the act of deliberately trading back pieces of convenience for increased consciousness in return.
In our financial lives, there are plenty of examples were we can benefit from unautomation:
- Creating a list of every item you own. While far from convenient, this will drastically increase the awareness of our clutter.
- Using a 30-day list for wants. Waiting 30 days to purchase an item can be a drag, but we’ll likely realize how little we really desired it in the first place.
- Tracking our spending with pen and paper. Carry a small pocketbook and record every purchase by hand rather than just on your plastic.
- Converting the cost of items into time we’ll need to work. This can be a tough exercise, but will put things in perspective quickly.
- Purging 2 items for every 1 you bring into your life. Yet another inconvenient (at times) rule-of-thumb that can raise awareness around just how much clutter we bring into our lives.
- Quit signing contracts. Until you’ve ever tried to quit signing them, you don’t realize how fundamental contracts are in our society.
- Spending with cash over plastic. Going without plastic isn’t easy, but you can’t get much more aware than we spending cold, hard cash.
- Taking public transportation. You may have to leave early or plan a little more in advance, but taking public transportation will open your eyes the other side of your daily commute.
These examples are only a handful of hundreds of money instances where we could benefit from a path of less convenience and more consciousness.
The next time you look to change a set of behaviors in your life, don’t turn to automation.
Start with unautomation.