Back in December (yes, I'm a bit slow at this stuff), Seth Godin wrote about the "High Cost of Now." He argues that there's a clear relationship between how new something is and how much it costs to discover that news. In other words, the closer you get to the source and moment of information, the more it costs.

If you want to know how the stock market did in 2006, you can spend ten seconds and find it in Wikipedia. If you want to know about today, you'll need to invest a few clicks and you'll get the delayed results. Or you could pay a lot of money for a stock market terminal and get the current prices. Or you could even risk prison and get some inside information about what's going to happen before it happens.

Seth makes the connection to our habit of incessant grazing in the email inbox:

You can check your email twice a day pretty easily. Once every fifteen minutes has a disruption cost. Pinging it with your pocketphone every sixty seconds is an extremely expensive lifestyle/productivity choice.

Sure, go ahead, stay hyper-current, but realize it's not free.

The questions to ask, then, are:  Are you getting what you're paying for in your quest for now? Is it worth it?

Sometimes it is worth the price. If you're waiting for your attorney to deliver the latest draft of a contract for your review before, when it has to go out the door by the end of the day. Or when your web developer is putting up new versions of a page that will go live tonight. Or when you need to jump on an urgent press release. (No, that's not an oxymoron. If you work in the government, for example, you're always fighting PR fires. Serious ones.)

But more often than not (in Seth's words), we overpay for the newest information. More often than not, a 30 or 60 minute delay won't hurt your ability to make good decisions.  And that overpayment is nothing but muda -- the waste of lost focus and interrupted cognition.

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