It is human nature to want to upgrade everything you can. We want the best. We want more. Faster. Bigger. Louder. Cleaner. Hotter. Colder. New and improved. While some people spend their entire life pushing for these things, most of us eventually realize that this isn’t healthy. While it is fun for a while, the end result is a bloated life of excess and waste. Once you come to this conclusion, you start to prioritize things in your life. You figure out what is really important, and you invest in it. With everything else, you downgrade to the most efficient and comfortable level possible. At least that is what I do.
In the vain of life hacks (shout out to David Kadavy), I thought it would be fun to make a list of upgrades and downgrades that I have installed in my life recently. These aren’t big things, in fact you might laugh at how trivial some of these things seem. Nevertheless, here is my list:
1. iPod headphones upgraded to Sennheiser HD 580
If you only do one thing to upgrade your iPod, make an investment in a quality pair of headphones. If you can afford to splurge on a pair of Sennheiser HD 580′s, you will be rewarded with astounding sound.
2. Sheets on my bed upgraded to 300 thread count
Sleap is an extremely important part of life. You are going to spend a large part of your life in your bed, so it makes sense to upgrade your sheets. When my wife bought new sheets, I didn’t realize how nice this upgrade would be.
3. One button Apple mouse upgraded to two button Microsoft mouse
It was hard to give up an Apple product in favor of a Microsoft mouse, but I am not looking back. The two-button optical mouse with scroll wheel is perfect. If you just can’t embrace a Microsoft product, I hear good things about the Mighty Mouse.
4. CD player upgraded to turntable
That’s right I said upgrade. There isn’t any point in starting a cd vs. vinyl debate, but I will throw my hat in the vinyl ring for several reasons that don’t involve audiophile snobbery. First, it introduces a physical presence to music, that gets lost in the mp3 format. Second, it allows me to be exposed to great music of the past that I would have otherwise ignored, or simply not been willing to pay $17 for. Third, Looking for bargain records is fun.
5. Cable upgraded to Tivo
I am not a big television watcher, but this is still a very worthy life hack. I haven’t watched a commercial since I made this upgrade several months ago. With a simple remote hack, I fast forward through commercials in 30-second jumps. Now that the TV works for me, I can record the shows I want, and skip everything else. It has streamlined my TV habits, and allowed me to watch things that I would have missed otherwise.
1. Trifold wallet downgraded to two fold
Fighting “fat wallet syndrome” is a constant battle for most men. I have always hated the seemingly unavoidable “wallet bloat.” By using a two-fold wallet instead of three, my wallet is 33% thinner. When combined with a commitment to keep my wallet cleaner, I no longer feel like I am lugging around a briefcase in my back pocket.
2. Toyota Tacoma downgraded to Toyota Tercel
Probably the hardest downgrade to make is on your vehicle. I still miss my truck, but my decision to trade it in for a cheaper, more fuel efficient vehicle was a choice I don’t regret.
3. I drink tea
I have a drink at my desk almost all day long. In attempt to cut down on the sugar and caffeine, I switched to drinking tea or Fruit2o instead of soda and coffee. Surprisingly, I haven’t had the headaches that accompanied prior attempts to quit caffeine.
4. No cell phone or watch
People have lived for centuries without portable phones. I really enjoy not being able to be reached anywhere at any time. When I lost my watch a couple months ago, I decided not to replace it right away. It is amazing how many clocks surround us. If you can afford not to be a slave to your watch and phone, I recommend ditching them.
5. Digital camera downgraded to film
Ok, I still use my digital camera, but I am a film guy at heart. Film can be much cheaper than people realize (even medium format). If you are willing to surpass the instant gratification of digital, you will be rewarded by the quality and versatility of film.
Well, there you have it. I would love to see your list. What do you upgrade in your life, and what do you downgrade?
(Update: I added a couple hacks to my list on this post.)