Decision Fatigue. Simplify Your Life!
Do you know how many decisions you make in a day? From what to wear to what to eat to what road to take to work to what music to play to how much weight to lift … all of it.
Some research puts the number as high as 35,000!
Now, I don't know about you, but 35,000 decisions in a day is a pretty overwhelming number. It's no reason then that many successful people create habits and automations to reduce the number of decisions they make in a day so they can focus on things that move their life forward towards their goals.
Steve Jobs for instance was famous for wearing the same outfit every day. Think about that. He never had to decide what to wear. It was simple. He was saving mental energy for other tasks by not having to worry about his clothing choices. Did this help make him a successful CEO of a billion dollar business? Maybe!
How can you implement this in your life? To start, pick one or two things in which you can create a routine or habit, or like Steve Jobs, remove other options.
I'll use myself as an example.
Breakfast: Mon/Wed is egg muffins & English muffins. Tue/Thur is protein oatmeal and a smoothie. Friday is protein pancakes. That's my weekday breakfast routine - every. week. We never have to decide what's for breakfast. Of course we still have to make it, but its never a thought - "What should I have for breakfast?" or "What do I feel like making?". It's already been decided.
Lunch: Meal prep on Sunday which makes lunches for Monday thru Friday. Never have to think about it! That one decision on Sunday just freed you up from 5 more decisions during the week.
Working out: I workout Mon/Tue/Wed, rest Thursday, workout Friday and Saturday, and rest Sunday. It's never a thought of "should I workout today?" or "should I rest today?" It's already been decided. Mental bandwidth has been freed up for other decisions.
Finances: I have two days per month, set in the calendar, in which I focus on finances to pay bills and check accounts. Besides that, it is not a thought and not taking up bandwidth.
Morning alarm: I get up at 5am every day, 7 days a week. Not only is it beneficial for my circadian rhythm to wake up at the same time every day but it saves the decision of "what time should I get up tomorrow?"
Now of course everyone has unique circumstances with work, family, etc, so you need to decide what works for you to implement. Start off small and easy. Get some consistency with those small wins before moving on to bigger targets.
In terms of health and fitness, some great areas to look at:
- Consistent workout and rest days each week
- Meal plans for the week
- Same postworkout nutrition after each workout
- Same wakeup time each day
If you are looking for a great book to help build better habits, check out Atomic Habits by James Clear!