Ego depletion is an idea that states we have a limited capacity of decision making in a day. When our mental fatigue progresses throughout the day, our will power and choice making ability lessens.
At the beginning of a 12 month, 12 week or 24 hour planning cycle, decide what is to be prioritized and make those tasks non-negotiable. Setting the decisions from the start clears out the clutter of hanging around ideas, thoughts and to-do’s at least until the given cycle is over.
Strategize your time and energy to achieve the goals you set out. A thing to remember is to be realistic about what you can accomplish in the amount of time you’ve given yourself, I believe this is a skill formed and refined with time and doing.
Less Is More
I’ve always believed in the ‘less is more’ motto and I’m really learning that enormous potential is held in those three little words.
Keeping too many choices available in what we’ll call your planning cycle or ‘production period’ creates scatter, clutter, can cause confusion, distraction and dissatisfaction.
Narrowing down the most important choices, or tasks, by priority for that period will give you clear mental space to move forward. Once you’ve decided what tasks are on your list, set the other ones aside until you have completed the current high priority tasks.
Once you’ve decided which tasks hold top priority for the production period, complete them before moving on. No adding tasks until current ones are complete and no skipping prioritized tasks. Make it non-negotiable to change your mind, or switch tasks.
If you hold to the integrity of your plan, you will begin to move forward in leaps and bounds, ticking off the tasks that stand between the current you and the future self that you’ve set out to be. Once your cycle is planned, keep to it.
Case Study: Starting to Meditate
Let’s return to the idea that we have a limited amount of decision making ability in a day. How do we declutter our minds?
Set a goal. Let’s say you’ve decided your future self is someone who meditates daily while your current self doesn’t meditate at all. Make the decision to meditate 3x a week for 5 minutes a day for the next 12 weeks. Done – decision is made, now set the tasks to accomplish that goal.
Pick three days of the week to set your alarm to go off 10 minutes earlier, your alarm goes off and you get up. The decision was already made, it’s non-negotiable that you’re getting up.
You’re not spending that very precious choice making energy deciding if you’re going to get up or not. You are also not deciding the night before whether to watch one more show or read one more page or fold one more load of laundry. You know you are getting up earlier to meditate so in your best interest you are going to bed earlier.
You have decluttered that mental battle of choices already, pulling that future self of you, who meditates that much more into the now.
Declutter Your Space, Free Your Mind
Same thing goes with the physical clutter in your space. What we “see” passes through our mind. If we are constantly looking at and picking up physical clutter, we waste precious decision making energy on what to do with the object and where to put it.
Have less things and have a home for everything. When things are out and need to be put away you know exactly what to do with them and don’t have think about it. Even picking one day a week where you do laundry will save the mental energy of deciding whether to do laundry that day.
Organizing your home and work schedule will save you time and choice making energy for the more impactful decisions like ‘what are the habits my future self has and what are the next action steps I need to take to get there?’
Planning ahead keeps you on track by avoiding distractions and wasting time. You know what your priorities are and when you’re doing them. As other tasks or projects arise, you can see if they’ll easefully fit into the current cycle, if not then they can be put aside until you are planning the next cycle.
For example, let’s say you’re planning your weekly schedule. Sundays is your kitchen sadhana, Tuesdays you do all your laundry, Wednesdays you work on your blog, and mondays, wednesdays, fridays you go to the pool. It’s best to get even more specific with adding time to all these events. That way when something comes up, you look at your calendar and see if it will easily fit. If not, you look into the next week. This can be done on a micro and macro level, daily and yearly calendars. The same principles apply.
Start to Declutter Your Choices Today
Decluttering choices sets you on the path to automation which further declutters choices, putting you on a beautiful upward evolutionary spiral in the direction you are aiming to go.
Just as we automate our self care daily habits such as meditation, movement, and mealtimes in Body Thrive so the energy and time isn’t spent on deciding. Automate your housework and business routines to free up time and energy for you to evolve into the next version of yourself you’d like to be.
Share in the comments below your first priority to schedule into your week to free up your mental capacity. Sharing with the community will help get it done and keep you on track.