Every day we’re faced with making a boatload of decisions. Big decisions. Little decisions. Hard decisions. Easy decisions. What to eat, what to wear, what classes to take, when to practice at home.
Are you already tired? Do you wish you had more energy? At least for the important stuff?
Please tell me I’m not alone in this! I recently went looking for ways to help me accomplish more without skimping on my much needed self-care.
Here’s the thing. It turns out we only have so much decision making power. It’s not just you or what you’re eating or even how much you are sleeping. It just is what it is.
So if you want to be able to make important decisions, it helps if you make less decisions total. Eliminating routine decisions seems to be able to help people make better important decisions.
According to the Harvard Business Review – Boring is Productive.
— Making too many decisions about mundane details is a waste of a limited resource: your mental energy. In the late 1990s, Roy Baumeister (a professor at Florida State University) and colleagues performed several experiments showing that certain types of conscious mental actions appeared to draw from the same “energy source” — gradually diminishing our ability to make smart decisions throughout the day.
(– excerpt from Boring Is Productive)
Forbes uses Albert Einstein and President Obama as examples of folks who simplify some of their decisions..
Take Albert Einstein. It has been reported that the famous physicist bought several versions of the same grey suit because he didn’t want to waste brainpower on choosing an outfit each morning. Now – decades later – President Obama does the same. — (excerpt from Steve Jobs Alway Dressed Exactly The Same. Here’s Who Else Does)
I’m not necessarily advocating that we adopt a uniform (although you would be hard pressed to find me wearing something other than a striped t-shirt and jeans) or to always eat the exact foods for breakfast, but how much do these kinds of decisions drain energy away from our creativity and productivity on issues and ideas that really matter?
How would our lives look if we made the routine parts of life, well, routine?
Recently I’ve been looking at systematizing parts of my life in order to increase my productivity, quality of life and energy levels. I figure I’ve only got so many kid free hours a week and I need to use them well. Especially if I still want to practice really good self-care including 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night, meditation and yoga.
One place that I’ve noticed a drain on my decision making power is scheduling recurring appointments like getting my hair cut, eyebrows shaped and my monthly body tune up massages.
Scheduling appointments is one of my most dreaded tasks. The back and forth with myself about when to do a service and at what time and then figuring out if my person is available and so on and so forth. It completely does my head in. I seriously get tired just thinking about it.
In order to cut down on this back and forth and the bad hair/eyebrows/back I’ve decided to schedule my next appointments out for the future. Until recently I have scheduled my next appointment while I am paying for my service, but with time at a premium these days even that was taxing my brain and leaving me feeling anxious about if I’d scheduled for too soon or too far out.
To combat this recurring feeling of overwhelm, I decided to try an experiment. This month I spent part of an afternoon on the phone with eyebrow, massage and hair people to schedule my 2014 appointments. I know, crazy, but hear me out.
By booking out so far in advance, I was able to schedule the first Tuesdays of each month for eyebrows, the last Tuesday of each month for massage and the last Friday of each month for my hair maintenance. Now when I am looking at booking private yoga clients or scheduling workshops, I now know which Tuesday and Friday afternoons are off limits. There is great comfort in knowing my appointments are set and when I am available to work with my clients.
I am also not walking around with crazy eyebrows, an out of whack back and ridiculous hair. Bonus is my service providers also have some stability in their schedules. It is the gift that keeps on giving!
I would love to hear from you. Please share what decisions you put on auto pilot into your life and how your energy level is as a result of making less every day decisions.
With lots of self-kindness and love,
If you enjoyed this post, get email updates (it’s FREE).
Top Five Self-Care Tips from Melissa at compliment.
Top Five Self-Care Tips from Sarah at Yes and Yes.