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The Importance of the Gap to Boost Your Finances and Productivity

These two concepts are the more straightforward hacks I use to build wealth and finish my projects.


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Danny Oak

3 years ago | 4 min read

Complex systems and workflows aren’t always the most effective way to help us achieve our goals.

More often than not, simple actions deliver better results because their impact on our limited expendable energy is smaller, making it easier for us to stick with them.

I’m sure you already heard someone saying, “the best diet is the one that works for you.” It’s the same thing with hacks; if it works for you, do it.

I center two of my hacks on the same concept: The GAP.

G-A-P

I don’t know many 3-letters-words that embody so much value as this one.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines GAP as “(noun) an empty space or opening in the middle of something or between two things.”

So how can something that means “empty space” be so valuable? The answer is the last part of its definition: “…between two things.”

I apply this concept to two pillars of my life: Finances and Projects.

Photo by Chronis Yan on Unsplash

Finances

The first time I was aware of the importance of this word was a few years ago when I read an article from Paula Pant on her blog, Afford Anything.

Paula Pant is a Personal Finance blogger with a background in journalism that has enormous recognition amongst the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement and has made herself a millionaire mainly by investing in real estate.

Her blog is very successful and is full of valuable knowledge for anyone looking to improve their finances, but this particular article caught my attention at the time.

The idea behind it was simple:

In between “what you earn” and “what you spend,” there is a gap.
Your job is to make this gap as wide as possible. Mind the gap.
-Paula Pant

So logical and straightforward that even a 10-year-old could come up with this concept, right? So why can’t we all follow this basic rule and create our path towards financial independence?

Because we tend to do the exact opposite, we close that gap as much we can, sometimes even overlapping the two extremities.

We give in to the temptation of immediate gratification at the expense of planned progression, and we adjust our consuming habits to our income, increasing our cost of living proportionally to how much we earn, creating that vicious cycle that so many get trapped on.

For me, that idea was important because it made me realize that the biggest that gap is, the closer I would be to financial independence. Since then, I focused on spreading it as much as possible.

It is a very simplistic way to plan your financial life, and of course, there are many other topics you need to get clear to achieve financial freedom. Still, if you stick to this rule, to make that gap the biggest possible in a consistent way and investing it (not gambling it), you can be sure you are well-positioned to live a prosperous future.

Photo by Octavian Dan on Unsplash

Projects

The other part of my life that I apply the notion of GAP is with my projects.

These can be professional projects, life projects, fitness projects, or really anything I get myself up to completion.

This application of gap I learned from author Steven Pressfield on his book Do The Work. The book focuses on writing, but most of its principles apply to any other art form or task.

The part that most interested me was his concept of “fill in the gaps.”

Using writing a book as an example, Pressfield suggests that we should outline the piece “end first, then beginning and middle,” and with that out of the way, we just need to fill in the gaps.

Transporting this to other areas of life, we should first define our goal, then decide where to start from and what would be a measurable half-way of our project, usually when things start rolling smother.

Let’s take Medium as an example.

I define my goal to be making more than 1000 dollars per month consistently in 2021. I’ll start this by publishing stories three times a week, and by the 1st of July, I must be making above 100 dollars.

With a goal, a starting point, and an intermediate objective, I just need to fill in the gaps with a publishing schedule and a marketing plan to expand the reach of my writing. For that, I’ll pitch prominent publications, connecting with other writers, improving my skills to have better chances of curation and do some work on my social media.

Filling in the gaps may be a bit more complicated than minding the gap, but it gives me so much more clarity on my goals and the steps to take next that the ROI is unquestionable.

Before, I would start my projects almost by accident, by stumbling upon something that looked interesting and keeping working on it until the next shinning object crossed my sight.

Now I have well-defined goals that keep me focused on doing the things that matter to move forward.

Minding the gap was a small tweak that had a massive impact on my finances. I stopped looking only at how much I was making and started focusing on the difference between my income and my expenses, and giving it a number.

By doing this, I turned it into a game; whatever the number I have in this month’s gap, I want to beat it the next month!

Taking care of your finances and finishing your projects are two essential elements of your overall happiness and success in life.

Having these designed to make constant progress removes mental bandwidth that you can apply in other aspects of your daily tasks.

Get familiar with these concepts and put them to practice, I guarantee you they work.

Originally published on medium.

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