Sunday, October 9, 2011

Schedule Optimization

"The key to success is motivation. The blueprint to success is organization."
-Gary Shikora

Opportunity cost is the price encountered when one decides to do one thing and is thus unable to do the next best alternative. I define Schedule Optimization as the process in which one attempts to use their time in the way that results in the least opportunity cost. The concept of opportunity cost is frequently used in not one, but two models. I will temporarily refer to these two models as (1) the exchange model, and (2) the time model. I find one of these models to be primitive. In any case, I would do well to illuminate what I mean by the two models.

Let the exchange model of opportunity cost be used for exchanges. Let there be two parties. When these two parties are to trade goods they must consider if they are using their resources optimally. Lets say there is another party. This new party offers the first party a finer deal than the second party. The second party is rejected and the first and third parties undergo trade. The objects of trade can be anything of wealth, i.e., anything we value. The reason why the first party opted to trade with the third party is because the third party offered more wealth to the first party. As such, the opportunity cost of trading with the third party was less than the opportunity cost of trading with the second party.

Let the time model of opportunity cost be be the process in which one makes a decision to better their lives, with their lives being the set of all time they are sentient. One may quickly make note that one must decide to make an exchange. Yes, it is then true that the exchange model preforms only one of the many functions of the time model. Furthermore, the time model has the capacity to be used within the realm of one's personal productions, extending it's authority to all possible living human phenomena. Let us now assert that the exchange model is totally worthless as it only looks at a very narrow part of the opportunity costs we all endure, and move on to explaining the possible situations of living human phenomena.

A very simple rendition of the processes of a given human would be: Sensory input leads to internal learning functions which result in outputs. Because one is constantly queued to make some sort of action, we can determine that all individuals decide at the margin. We can also assert that margin extends for what we call a moment. Now, within each of these moments a human decides what to output. When making this decision they are - consciously or not -  determining their opportunity cost. I assert there is a dichotomy of the decisions a human can make. One category shall be contemplated decisions, with the other category being decisions not completed. The two categories should be handled very different for schedule optimization.

Before moving onto the complexities of contemplated situations I will first assert that decisions without contemplation are much easier to facilitate. That is, there are two very direct ways to improve decision making without having to contemplate decisions. The first method is through good health. The second method is through conditioning. I assert that the more one becomes familiarized with a given subject the easier thought becomes on that topic. I would attribute this phenomena to the concept of intuition. The concept of intuition shall be defined as the process in which a human rapidly comes to a decision by recomposing past ideas. Exampli gratia: the more one reads economic textbooks then the less time they will have to spend consciously thinking in order to produce a decision related to economics to the point in which no time is spent consciously thinking at all. Furthermore, I believe one can build an intuition for building intuitions. So, to optimize a given area of decisions made without conscious thinking you must build an intuition for that given area of decisions. What about decisions made with conscious thinking?

Decisions made with contemplation require a lot of work to optimize. I will assert that the optimal understanding of a decision is when the decision can be made both accurately and intuitively. However, when building an intuition one is faced with their conscious. When communicating with one's conscious I think it is very important for one to remain open and to not take themselves too seriously. Any other way and one may very well establish an intuition that is not sound or accurate. It is much harder to learn things once learned wrong than to learn things not learned at all. I digress, when handling one's conscious one must be very keen on weaknesses. If we assert that an intuitive understanding for something is a strength, then any lack thereof would be a weakness. If one is able to locate and eradicate these weaknesses at some positive rate, then they will be able to move toward an intuitive understanding.

Finally, there is a category of contemplated decisions which are just so freaking complicated nobody has the time to intuitively understand them. Rational ignorance. With these sort of subjects comes the heavy labor of schedule optimization. Humanities primary method of retaining and building ideas that cannot be readily produced is to immortalize the ideas with symbols, namely language. I am by no means qualified to tell anybody how to organize their ideas, but I am able to express how I handle mine. When I want to handle ideas I don't wish to commit to memory I think of one thing: technology. The goal of technology is to minimize production costs, and there just so happens to be plentitudes of technology available that would minimize almost anybody's personal production costs ....

-I think this is like the best thing ever for people that are constantly moving/have something to do. I hate having to remember when everything is due, when that dance is, who I need to see tomorrow, so with Google Calendar I gleefully abstain from any such duties. Google Calendar allows one to create recurring events, which is why I opted for it over other calendars I could have chosen.

2. Smartphone/Tablet Pretty expensive
-The smartphone/tablet PC is becoming more popular than 'conventional' PCs. For good reason. Without my smartphone I wouldn't have constant access to countless news feeds, Wikipedia, The World Factbook, Google, Wolfram, and All these internet technologies are very essential to expediting the expression of ideas. If one hasn't the ability to readily pursue their thoughts then they are bound to forget at least some of them.

3. Notecards Becoming peculiarly more expensive
-I like to carry a couple notecards in my pocket because I am a student. More specifically, I hate taking notes but I love listening to lectures. However, there comes certain times during lectures when I wish to pursue more information, but can't take my iPhone out and do so, because I am listening to the lecture. In these cases I write down on a notecard a couple things. The first thing is what idea I am interesting in pursuing. The second thing is the way I plan on pursuing it, be it the book for the class or a simple Wiki search.

4. A Briefcase Like 50-100 bucks, but who carries a briefcase?
Ok, so it's kind've a weird fashion statement that a lot of people probably just don't want to make, but a briefcase is an amazing tool for organization. There are plenty of alternatives like backpacks, purses, satchels, binders, etc, but briefcase has been my favorite because I am able to neatly organize and readily access my belongings in a single compartment. Furthermore, I hate wearing backpacks.

5. Good Friends Is it ok to be calling humans technology? No, really?
My friends tend to remind me things about my life without even trying all the time. They are also there to talk to when I feel like expressing an idea but don't know how. Friends can generally help with that, because you can generally tell when somebody does and does not understand you. Also, good social health is important, etc.

So, a recap. 
-Opportunity costs are always present.
-The process of minimizing opportunity cost for decisions differs depending on which types of decisions are being addressed (those that are contemplated, and those that are not).
-Conditioning builds stronger intuition.
-Effective use of technology helps one to stay organized.


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