Some time ago, the company I worked for had hired quite a few very junior consultants to outsource some of the less interesting work to. Over the time, I developed a friendly relationship with a few of them. There was one who kept talking about whether or not an action “brought value” to a situation.

It took me some time to make the connection, but this very MBA-style line of thinking can be applied virtually anywhere.

  • Decluttering: Does this particular item you ponder on throwing out bring value? If not, chug it. Note that this is very similar to Marie Kondo’s “does it spark joy?”, only maybe a bit more brutal.
  • Software development: That feature you are implementing - does it bring value (in the sense of “does it make the product better for my user base?”). If not, don’t implement it - and maybe consider adding it later as an optional plugin.
  • Life goals: The actions you’re doing, does it push you nearer to achieving your life goals? If not, where’s the value in doing them?
  • Self-improvement: That podcast you’re listening to, that book you’re reading … is it just rambling around, or does it bring insight and a chance to learn? If not: it does not bring you value (right now). Work on something else. Note that I made a slight disclaimer here: What does not bring you now may be valuable at a later stage in your development.

The concept of “value” also helps making decisions: Do you value the time you spend with your family higher than that hour of extra overtime?

Think about what you value, what adds to it, what is ultimately useless, and even to what diminishes value.