Let’s talk about decision fatigue again. The gist of it is that as the day goes on, we make a bunch of decisions across a wide range of things. Unfortunately, it turns out we only have so much brainpower to dedicate for making these decisions. This makes it tough to decide what to have for dinner or what you actually want to do when you have some time after work/school! The process of decision-making applies from simpler things like what you’re going to wear that day, what breakfast you’ll eat, to more complex stuff like weighing the pros and cons of how to prioritize the tasks you have to get done for the day’s work. (Scientific American)
By the end of the day, when you finally have time to do the things that are important, you’re spent! Big or little, all decision draw from the same pool. So how can we preserve our little reservoir of brainpower?
Give yourself less decisions to make.
What does that mean? It means choosing to give yourself less decisions. How can we do this? Standardizing your life.
“But how?” you’re asking. Don’t worry little fuzzbutt. I have some examples I use in my own life.
I meal prep my lunches for the week. I don’t have to spend any time during the week deciding what I want to eat at work tomorrow because the decision was made and only needed to be made once.
I have a morning routine before work. I get up, use the bathroom, get dressed for work (same pants, grab the shirt furthest on the left on the rack), make the same breakfast, brush my teeth, comb my hair, grab my lunch and go. If I somehow end up with any spare time in the morning, I fool around on my PC to ease into the day.
At work, I go through another routine. I check my email and drink coffee at my desk. If there’s samples to prepare, then I do that first. Then I see if there’s any data to go over. Once that’s done, I go over my to-do list and then goals. This is continuously interrupted by new emails, meetings, and people wanting a face-to-face chat about something or other. Still, the skeleton of my work day is kept intact and it’s automatic.
No. I’m not saying to be a robot.
What I’m saying is that we have to remove unnecessary decisions from our lives and just make things easier on ourselves to keep us sane and productive. We usually can’t avoid decisions at school and work but we can do our best at home which leaves us free to pursue interests with clear heads. I have my morning routine during the week but that usually goes out the window on weekends since there’s no big responsibilities to burn me out.
On top of saving your brain, expect to save time!
Watch yourself this week and see where you tend to get hung up on a decision. Did you spend longer than a minute deciding what to wear? Did you procrastinate deciding what to eat? What aspects of your life can you set on auto-pilot so you don’t waste your brain on trivial things? Feel free to let me know how you’re doing!
Also, the PBB sandwich recipe is just peanut butter spread on multigrain bread with slices of banana in it. Thanks to Halon for introducing me to the concept of having it for breakfast. Wuffles Pro Tip: If you’re really lazy, break the banana in half and lay it onto the bread. Bites will be terribly inconsistent but you get all the nutrients and you can enjoy being lazy.