Apparently, every 1.7 seconds, we make a decision. 35,000 decisions per day! I didn’t believe it at first, but then I started thinking about how often we decide to check our phone, have a drink, think about what to eat, etc. I could see it. So, today’s post is all about maximizing our brainpower so we can save time and energy, two of our most precious resources.
If you missed it, you could check out my earlier post on 5 Hacks to Increase your Productivity about breaking down how you spend your week and how to schedule peak productivity time.
But for now, let’s look at those day-to-day habits we can form to help us be more productive.
1. Reduce the number of decisions you need to make in a day
Studies show the average person makes 35,000 decisions every day. Things like what to wear, eat, watch, which way to drive or walk? It’s no wonder there’s a term “decision fatigue,” and that successful people reduce as many decisions as possible in a day.
Barack Obama only wears grey or blue suits, so he doesn’t waste energy on wardrobe decision-making. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg also became known for their “uniforms.”
So how can you reduce your number of decisions?
Plan ahead. Your wardrobe. Your meals. Your schedule. The more you can sit down and plan at once, the more brainpower you save later on.
2. Multitask when it makes sense
Earlier I shared that multitasking can make us 40% less productive; however, there are times when it makes complete sense, especially when we feel we don’t have time.
I don’t have time is one of the single biggest excuses out there.
But the thing about time is that every single human being has the exact same number of hours, so if someone else can figure out how to fit something in, so can you!
Things like I don’t have time to read, listen to podcasts or work out, can easily be worked into the day. Personally, I hate grocery shopping, so now I combine an activity I enjoy, such as listening to an audiobook or podcast while doing it. Or while I’m putting away laundry or tidying the house. By combining an enjoyable activity with a lesser one, I find time to do more of what I like, making the experience better. Waiting for your coffee to brew or the pizza to cook in the oven? Instead of scrolling through your phone, try some jumping jacks, stretching or planks instead. Turn a video call or meeting into a phone call and do it while taking a walk.
3. Ask for feedback early and often.
You know what’s hard? Asking for feedback on a project and getting asked to make a lot of changes. You know what’s worse? Waiting until you’re really far into a project, asking for feedback and then having to redo the whole thing.
Whether at work or home, checking in and communicating can help save us time and energy. Yes, it can be vulnerable to ask for others’ thoughts and opinions, especially for us perfectionists, but it’s worth it.
4. Wake up earlier
Most of you know I’m in the 5 am Club, and it changed my life. I could no longer have my laundry list of excuses for why I couldn’t work out, eat healthier, read or find a career I was passionate about. You don’t need to wake up at 5 am to be more productive in a day, but could you wake up 30 minutes earlier than you do now to fit in those things you’d like to stop making excuses for?
5. Go to sleep earlier.
I can’t sit here telling you to wake up earlier without saying it goes hand and hand with going to bed earlier too. If you’re a night owl and uber-productive at night, ignore this part, but for many people like myself, I was exhausted at night but loved having alone time, so I would sit and binge-watch TV for hours. Knowing I have a 10 pm bedtime now, I no longer have time to watch much TV.
I chose to trade it in so I could have time to work out, meditate and study.
Now that I consciously know I make 35,000 decisions a day, I really want to make sure I’m saving more of my time and energy. I do that by planning ahead, multitasking when I’m doing household chores and activities, checking in, and getting feedback on whatever I’m working on before I go down a rabbit hole. I also wake up and go to sleep earlier.
Which new hack are you going to try this week? Write it down and share it with a friend.