I am a serious multi-tasker. I know, I know – I am well aware of the studies that say multitasking is not the most productive way to work. More mistakes are made and therefore more backtracking is necessary…while also doing 3 more things on the backtrack. 😉 But I still do it. I consider my self the most inefficient efficiency expert out there! Just ask my BF.
I believe part of my multitasking issue is due to another issue – procrastination. I wait to get things done until I don’t have time to wait anymore which leads me to multi-task my butt off. It is an interesting dissection of the calm relaxing couch potato side of me and the fast-moving whirlwind of activity side. It’s enough to drive one mad!!!
A few months back I decided to try something new. I have done a ton of reading about the Decision Fatigue phenomenon. Your brain only has a limited amount of bandwidth in a day to make decisions – interestingly, your brain can’t distinguish between the big decisions and small decision. When you have many decisions to make in a day you don’t want the simple ones to weigh you down therefor exhausting you when the big decisions are on deck. Putting those simple decisions on autopilot helps to conserve your brain bandwidth for other more important decisions throughout the day. What to wear, what to eat, which direction to drive to work. All examples of the small stuff that little book tells you not to sweat. 😉 I figure if it’s good enough for obviously productive people like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, it’s good enough for me…
Here is a list of things I have implemented in my daily life to cut down on wasted time hemming and hawing:
1. Black skinny jeans. Ok – you don’t have to wear the exact same thing as I (especially if you are my Dad reading this), but you can make your choices less extensive. Skinny black jeans have become my signature look – thank goodness it is still in style! I don’t do leggings or yoga pants. I am very specific with my Gap Outlet black skinny jeans. They go with almost anything, coordinate well with Bubba’s fur coat (we like to play twinsies), and they are flattering on most people (I’m not trying to win any contests). Others have chosen to automate their wardrobes in a similar manner (total copy cats). MZ, as mentioned above, wears a grey t-shirt every day. Obama wears grey or blue suits every day. Making that one changed has made me realize that 1. I have too many clothes I’m not wearing and 2. I spend less time looking at all those extra clothes when all I have to do is pick out a top.
2. Meals – automate your breakfast or lunch options to make it easier on the meal plan for the week. I do this when I am working. Every trip I bring a yogurt/granola for breakfast and a salad for lunch. Depending on the fridge situation I’ll bring leftovers for dinner or buy something at the hotel (a rarity). If you aren’t already doing this, I encourage you to start small with one meal and try to increase to two – if you’re feeling crazy go for all three and splurge on the weekend! The benefits are threefold. Not only does it save time when packing but also when grocery shopping and saves money as well!
3. Simplify your life. Pay attention to not only the things in your life but also the people and your surroundings. Remember the closet I talked about? CLEAN IT OUT!! 3 piles – Keep, Donate, Toss. Nothing goes back in place until it has been through the process. Ask yourself if you really love that item – whether it is a thingamabob, sequin dress, or a pair of old underwear. Figure it out once and for all. Do you love it? Or are you just tolerating it? Oh – this goes for friends as well. Do you love them? Or are you spending time with them out of some weird obligation? Make it easy for you to make decisions about the people you will spend time with.
4. When working, remove yourself from distractions. Your brain can’t work on sensory overload. If you are in a room where there is a ton of background noise it can be hard for your brain to focus. Find an escape. If you work at home, get out! Hit the library. If you work in an office, try earplugs if you have a Chatty Cathy or Gossip Gretta nearby.
So far the changes I implemented have been working for me. The black jeans are super easy for all the reasons above, but also because when they fade or tear I just walk into the Gap and grab a new pair. I don’t have to look at anything else! I now know what works.
So what have you been doing to alleviate decision fatigue for your brain? Has anything worked better than others? Share your successes in the comments section. In this fast-paced world, we can use all the help we can get!! 🙂
Until next time…