The P/PC Balance

February 17, 2018

This is a well-timed piece. I just got my PC back from the repair shop. I have been working from my laptop for the last three months. I’m excited to have my dual monitors back.

The P/PC balance…

I just finished reading Part One of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Maybe highly effective people read more than 30 pages before they write another blog post about the same book… but I digress.

In Covey’s world, P stands for Production, PC stands for Production Capability. He uses an example of a physical asset, a lawnmower, that he used without maintaining and burned it out. Another example would be a car. A car’s production would be the number of miles it gives you. A car’s production capability is only as good as the engine. Neglect your engine by failing to have regular maintenance performed, and both production and production capability will come to a screeching halt.

Finding the right P/PC Balance is essential to being an effective employee, user of money, boyfriend/girlfriend, parent, and any other hats a person may wear.

I want to succeed at my job. I want my employers to know that when I clock in at 8 I am ready to be productive, not ready to take a nap. So part of my P/PC balance means going to bed early so I get enough sleep and have enough time in the morning to eat breakfast. However, if I go to bed at 9 every weeknight I get bored with my monotonous life. All work and no play makes Daniel a dull boy. So I stay up late once a week. Usually on Thursdays. Thursday is a good day because if I’m going to go to work kind of groggy, it may as well be the last day of the work week. It allows me to catch up on sleep over the weekend and any tired crankiness I have is usually nullified by the jubilation I feel from getting to wear blue jeans.

One of my previous jobs hosted a pair of personal finance advisors. Anyone who wanted some personal finance advice was granted the opportunity to do so. I was (as I am now) trying to save for a house and pay off credit card debt. I wasn’t sure how much I should put into paying off my debt and how much I should put into my savings account. They were adamant that I should be making minimum payments and stockpiling savings. They argued that would be the quickest way for me to get a house, and that with my income I would be able to manage a mortgage as well as my debts.

At the time I was participating in Dave Ramsey’s Money Makeover. Dave argues to save up $1000 in savings, then aggressively pay down (all) debt, then building a fully funded (3-6 months worth of savings) emergency fund, before ever saving for a house.

Honestly for me the answer is probably somewhere in the middle. I’m not going to be able to pay off my student loans before I have to find another place to live. I can pay off 6/7 credit cards though. That would increase my credit score and give me some extra money at the end of my month to apply towards savings or paying down remaining debt.

Finding your own P/PC Balance with money can be tricky. The P (production) being spending, and the PC (production capability) being saving. There are many factors to consider. Your amount of debt, your current living situation, is that situation changing soon, do you have kids, you get the drift.

All this to say, finding a P/PC Balance for your money is unique to every situation. There is not a one size fits all solution. There are principles that work universally (i.e. living within your means), but how much to save and how much to spend is unique to all.

Challenge: Get to understand your P/PC Balance with your personal finances.

What else I liked from this chapter:  Covey also talks about how it’s important to be proactive in staying essential to your workplace. Basically he said make you essential to them, not them essential to you. He talked about investing time to better learn your field, understanding your competition, and making yourself an asset. It inspired me to do a little personal training even off the clock.

Another quote(s) I liked: “Our most important financial asset is our own capacity to earn.” (p. 63)


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