Reduce the Number of Daily Decisions You Have to Make

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If you are feeling overwhelmed

I’m back to bowling. I’ve joined a weekly league, and also receive two free practice games a week. I enjoy this activity for several reasons, and I’m encouraged when I see myself improved.

But,

I don’t enjoy being coached.

I’m the kind of person that wants something to feel natural pretty quickly, and like to learn on my own. When interacting with a coach, I start to feel easily overwhelmed. Coaching types mean well, but if they aren’t careful, they can give you too many suggestions at once. Stand this way. Hold your arm/wrist/hand/big toe like this. Look at the spot. The arrow. The pins. Start closer.  Lift your ball this way. Don’t swing like a gate.  (I exaggerate, but you get the idea.)

All these ideas start feeling like that many more decisions to make and things to remember. Sometimes, it’s best to just go up and throw (roll) the ball.

The same thing applies to our daily life and work.

According to this article, we make around 35,000 decisions per day.  35,000! Each of those decisions requires use of our brains…no wonder we’re tired!  

Is there a way to take control of this? Yes, at least to some degree.

Reduce the need for decision making by limiting choices and automating certain routines. Here are some ideas that are working for me:

  • Clothing: Since I work from home a lot, I don’t need a major wardrobe. Plain colors in primarily sporty styles that I can accessorize with scarves or jewelry work best for this season of my life.
  • Menu planning: I use Google calendar to plan out meals, making many meal ideas recur monthly or every-so-many weeks.  I’m at the point now where every day of the month has a meal suggestion. Then when I look at my weekly calendar, I can move individual meals around to suit that week’s appointments, or stick in a new idea if I feel like it.
  • Morning and evening routines: I have certain things I do on all weekday mornings unless I have to leave early for an onsite assignment or meeting. I have certain things I do in the evenings to set me up for a better tomorrow.
  • Associations: I’m experimenting with doing certain types of work to particular playlists or locations (i.e. coffee shops or home office) My hope is that my brain will automatically kick into the gear needed for that type of work when listening to that music or when in that environment.

Your turn: What one decision can you automate to ease your mind?

[reminder]