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What’s your best advice?

What’s your best advice?

December 02, 2022

I love understanding what’s important to people – Whether it’s looking at vacation photos -- 500 photos of Hawaii? I’m all in! Or, have a great piece of advice? I’m all ears! I love hearing about what adds value to other people’s lives. 

This past weekend I listened to Katy Milkman speak about habit change on the podcast Best New Ideas in Money on Spotify. If you aren’t familiar with Katy Milkman, she is a leading behavioral economist and professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.  

This particular podcast was from September 29th of this year. The subject was healthy habits. The interviewers asked Katy Milkman for five keys to habit change, and there was one key that I hadn’t heard before – give other people advice. “Now this is interesting,” I thought.  

Research by Penn psychology professor, Angela Duckworth, and her former student, Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, found that counter-intuitively giving advice to others led to changes in the behavior of the advice giver. The study conducted by Ms. Duckworth and Ms. Eskreis-Winkler was conducted with students and covered, among several topics, how to avoid procrastination. It was found that the advice givers changed their own behavior following giving advice. You could think of it as taking some of your own medicine, and after telling other people about how great and effective your medicine is, it’s a lot easier to follow your own prescription. 

The best little bit of advice ever given to me 

A few times in my life I’ve been given some great advice for getting things done. As trivial as it sounds one of the best pieces of advice was (drumroll) the dishwasher at night and always unload it in the morning. For me, it was life changing, which might sound ridiculous. I had been rushing around every morning trying to get out the door and as soon as I got home from work, I would start rushing around the kitchen trying to get organized and take care of the kids. By 5:30 at night, we were all hungry and tired, and the kitchen was disorganized. No one was all that happy. 

Adding time to unload the dishwasher in the morning allowed me to accomplish a small task that sent positive ripples through my day. It gave me a moment to think about what needed to get done in the kitchen from buying milk to having lunch supplies for the kids. Unloading the dishwasher in the morning allowed me to get organized and accomplish one task that would make the end of the day so much better. The dishwasher is one of my keystone habits. It’s that one easy action from which other good things spread. 

Working back to the subject of giving advice; what advice do I wish I would follow, but would give to others? 

Take some of my own medicine... 

A piece of advice I would give to others, but need to do myself, is to write down everything on your mind in the morning and organize those thoughts into action. Too often I rush right to work, when unloading my thoughts and problems could probably help me the rest of the day. Tomorrow I am going to make time to follow this piece of advice. I think it will send positive ripples through my day...sort of like unloading the mental dishwasher so I can stay organized and more productive through the day. 

What advice do you need in organizing and building your financial life? Give me a call. I’d love to hear your ideas, and we can talk about where you are in your financial life and ideas to move forward.