Don't Do It Now, Do It Right Now

DontDoItNow-DoItRightNow There has been a lot of talk about the limited supply of willpower that we have. Decision fatigue is quite literally the exhaustion we feel at the end of the day after making hundreds or even thousands of decisions. Everything from what the new ad campaign for your companies big product will be to whether you should have a granny smith or red delicious apple at lunch. Willpower is not endless and we eventually run out of steam. Incidentally it's also one of the reasons that running on a treadmill is so difficult for many people because there is so much information staring you in the face while your body is also being called on to exercise that your singular cortex gets overloaded and you start to shut down. So what do we do?

Well it's actually pretty easy. Avoid making decision...as much as you possibly can. It's one of the reasons that a routine is so helpful to people. Not having to decide what you are going to have for breakfast or which brand of toothpaste to use gives you that energy back so you can use it for more important things. This idea plays very nicely with the Less Doing framework around not having a to do list. It's also one of my chief complaints about systems like GTD (Getting Things Done) because if you are constantly having to decide where and how to file things, your productivity system BECOMES a source of stress and fatigue. When you don't have a to do list and you work on timing tasks so they come to your attention only at the best time to deal with them, then you can become reactionary and rely on automatic responses rather than conscious thought. It's like Bill Paxton said in the movie True Lies, "I can't take credit, it's the training, you learn to react in a millisecond without thinking." That's kind of how you want to be when it comes to the 95% of decisions in your life that aren't mission critical and simply get you through the day.

Part of being an efficient reactionary individual is giving yourself the tools you need in order to deal with things immediately upon them being presented to you, and hopefully being able to do it from anywhere in the world, not just at your desk. For instance, having your banking app on your phone so you can deposit checks before even leaving the post office, or a virtual assistant who you can call the moment you think of something without having to write it down for later, and even adding some automation to your home so you can unlock doors without remembering to take your keys with you. A lot of how we deal with the "overload" of our daily lives is not just about limiting the input to whatever extent we can but also maximizing the output. In order to do that we need processes, tools, and pathways in place so we know which one to activate without having to make a decision.