Business Productivity

A $10,000 business lesson from poker

- June 23, 2014 2 MIN READ

What’s the biggest mistake in poker?

Let’s imagine I was under a weird spell (as opposed to a normal spell) that caused me to inexplicably fold my hand every time I got a royal flush, the (unbeatable) best hand in poker. That’s the worst mistake possible, right? It sounds like it, until you consider that you’ll hold a royal flush only once every 30,940 hands. So in fact, even if you play for a living, this disastrous event might occur only once every year – costing you only a small amount of money.

30,940 smaller errors

Meanwhile, it turns out that some very small errors could be costing you a lot more. The decision to fold, call, or raise on the first round of betting, for example, occurs on every single hand. So for every royal flush (one error) you’ve got the potential to make 30,940 smaller mistakes that will cost you a lot more money over the long run.

What’s your point Dave?

What does this have to do with business? Well, it turns out that small daily habits can be costing you some serious dollars!

This lesson came flashing back to me a short while ago when I read Peter Crocker’s classic article, How to procrastinate: Nine tips from a pro. The article was so damn hilarious because despite painting the perfect picture of anti-productivity, the tips read like a typical day for many soloists, and it resonated with lots of our readers.

Peter’s tips to: check your inbox first (and often) every day, keep up with the breaking news at all times, put off important tasks til tomorrow, and multitask, were funny and sobering. They made me realise that our small daily battles are in fact our biggest.

Want more articles like this? Check out the productivity section.

What are email, news and Facebook costing you each year?

Is it possible that checking your email every hour could be costing you $10,000 per year? Or that keeping up to date with the news (and “related stories”) each morning costs you $6000? I think it’s possible. What if the bill came at the end of the financial year instead of being removed silently from your pocket each day?

Personally, if I was billed for “Facebook usage” or “industry newsletters” for $6000 on July 1, I would hit the roof, declare war, cancel accounts, and do whatever it takes to prevent it happening again.

Am I over-reacting? Or is there a daily habit that’s costing you serious dollars?