Think Like An Investor: Micro Efficiency

There are two things I want to focus on. The first is time. The second is process.

Everybody is familiar with with the axiom that “time is money”. In our financial system you are able to exchange your money for somebody else’s labor. Commonly you will pay based on the time it takes for the service to be rendered. The other side of the transaction is where you are able to sell your time (during which you will provide a requested service) to somebody else in exchange for their money. You may call this a “Job”, depending on the frequency of the arrangement.

Once you are comfortable with the idea that your time, even when not being used in pursuit of money, has economic value, your perception of the world and your interaction with it will likely change. An investor will commonly value their time more highly than money. Afterall, money and its availability is infinite, but your time is finite, and the living of your life is probably limited to daylight hours (unless you’re like me).

Moving on.

Ever taken an elevator? Ever used a vending machine? Of course you have. You are already intimately familiar with process. Process, like beauty, is in all things. Your understanding of process, of its limitations, and its outcome will dictate how successful you are in investing, and arguably in the world at large.

When I board the elevator in my apartment and wish to go down to the ground floor x2 things are required of me.

1) I press the call button
2) I press the floor I wish to go to

This would get the job done. But lets add another step.

1) I press the call  button
2) I press the floor I wish to go to
3) I press the door close button

In pressing the door close button, in my apartment elevator, I save myself 4 seconds of waiting for the door to close by itself. (This is much unlike the elevator at my last office which would unceremoniously chew up humans after a 1 second head start). If I ride the elevator twice a day, 7 days a week, for 2 years, that is not an insignificant time saving. Especially when you consider that half of the time I am running late, and in that measly 4 second window , my train may or may not be about to depart from the platform to my destination (its departure without me meaning another 4 minutes waiting at the station…exascerbating my lateness, infuriating my waiting client).

But I can do better. How about this. Lets switch it  up.

1) I press the call button
3) I press the door close button
2) I press the floor I wish to go to

So what?  The door takes 1.5 seconds to close. If I were to select the destination floor first (which would be natural, and syncopated to my train of thought), I would still have to press the door close button thereafter and wait the corresponding 1.5 seconds for the door to close. Now, As the buttons remain active whilst the door is closing, I am able to close the door first (a process which cannot be shortened from 1.5 seconds) and select my destination floor during the 1.5 seconds that it is closing. I have thus saved myself the time it would have taken to press the destination floor button by including it in another process which cannot be shortened.

The same process optimization works with vending machines as well. In that instance, consider the order of money input / selection / drink collection / change collection.  There are temporal savings to be made good sir!


Life is peppered with process. If you dont appreciate the impact of a small one, you will likely miss out on the bigger ones too. Compound interest is just another small process. If you have faith in that process, you can realize multiples on your initial investment over your lifetime. If you do not appreciate the ultimate output of compound interest, even on “small” amounts, you will unlikely ever have the privilege of realizing the “big” amounts either.

An investor will successfully incorporate and manage processes into their time to maximize output. The result will be time saved or money made.

Time is money.