Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Living your life better. There’s an app for that.

I have a great idea for an app – this app will help you live your life better by optimising your time, money and happiness.

Every day, you have to make thousands of choices, some little and insignificant, some large and immediately impactful. You’ll either think deeply about your choice, weighing up the relative merits of the options before you, and choosing the best one, for however you define the term “best” to yourself. Or you’ll not think deeply at all, and you’ll make your choice based upon what what you’ve always done, or perhaps what someone else wants you to do.

How do you ensure that your choice really is the best choice? You don’t have enough time to think deeply about everything you do. But imagine that there’s an app that helps you do exactly that, to give you a second opinion, within a couple of seconds.

First you tell it about yourself: what do you do? What do you like? What’s your typical grocery list? What’s your savings plan? How much do you care about the environment, or the local elections? How many miles did you drive last month? How old is your car? Where does your Mum live? How old are your pets? …

Then you start telling it about your life, from a drop-down menu list. App: What have you just done? Me: I woke up. App: Did you go to the bathroom, or hit the snooze button? Went to the bathroom and had a shower. That cost you time, money for light, water, heating, toiletries amortisation, washing cycle for discarded pants. It will also increase your HQ™ (happiness quotient) by 7 points because you now smell nice.

What are you going to do? I’m going to drive to work. That will cost you 2.3h because it’s rush hour, and £39 in petrol, and more money in amortised car usage, and decrease your HQ™ by 7 points because you hate being late, and being sweaty from sitting in a hot car for 2.3h. By-the-way, that includes the bonus point because Rabbi Jonathan Sachs is on Thought for the Day, and he usually inspires you for 2.4h. Oh.

Perhaps you should consider taking the train this morning. The next train is 11min away, and you are a 7min walk from the station, so you have plenty of time to catch it. The train network is not announcing any delays, so your journey time is predicted to be 1.9h. The trains are predicting lower than average crowding for your trains and connections too. You will save £5.43 overall, and your HQ™ will increase by 3 points, including the bonus point for being environmentally-friendly. Furthermore, if you use an extra 0.2h to buy a skinny lattee and fat-free blueberry muffin at your destination, your HQ™ will go up by an additional 4 points, yet you will still be on time for work. You’ll have to forgo the canned soft drink at lunch, but that will only cost you 1 HQ™ point – net gain of £5.43, 0.2h and 13 HQ™. Thanks App, that’s brilliant!

Life’s complicated enough. Why run the risk of making the wrong choice?

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