When I sit back and look at my days, it becomes easy to see what times are my happiest, what times give me the most joy, and what times are my stumbling blocks. When I am in the middle of such times, I rarely consider them for what they are; being of my creation and therefore something I can deconstruct if I chose.
If I were to categorize my stumbling block moments, it would be those of choice paralysis. The times I have to make a decision and become tied up in pro/con consideration of my options. Usually, this comes down to long-term vs. short-term benefit. Do I want to eat the candy I’ll enjoy now, or have a healthy meal I’ll be glad I ate later? Do I want to spend my morning relaxing on the computer, or get out of the house and go work out? These are the decisions which set the tone for an entire day or week for me, yet are also some of the most difficult ones for me to make and move on to the more imposing tasks. Choice paralysis is my enemy, as it leeches motivation, time, and energy out of my days. How I can avoid it, therefore, becomes one of those surprising chances for productivity. Regardless of what it is I have in the queue for a given day, working to cut off choice paralysis will help me tackle those tasks more efficiently.
So how can I do this beautiful thing, this incredible tool to improve everything I will do in my days? I remove choice paralysis by removing some of the decisions to be made. I decide in advance what I will eat for each meal, what I’m going to wear, what order I want to tackle my tasks. All these decisions are ones I try to make the day before or more. Being a minimalist certainly helps in many of them. For instance, I rarely consider what I will wear due to my wardrobe being pared down to a basic level as well as being very simple to match any pieces of it together. I also try to keep my diet a basic one. I have a few breakfasts I particularly enjoy, and I swap between them every few days to keep it fresh, yet I know on a given day which one I’m eating. I have made it part of my bedtime routine to run down my options for breakfast the next day and pick one before I fall asleep. A similar process goes for every meal I eat; I keep them simple and healthy, so as not to take much thought or effort to prepare.
As for approaching daily tasks and in what order to work on them, I do what I can to plan out my To Do lists in week chunks. I also know I work better on certain projects in particular settings. For instance, I write better in the mornings. I do better cleaning in large blocks at a time, so those tasks go together on fewer days. Meal prep works better in the evenings, as I’m winding down from the day.
The above are some of the steps I try to follow to get more out of my days, more out of my hours. Every time I have realized another system that works for me to minimize choice paralysis, I find myself having more time to relax with a book or go for a walk. I also get a stronger sense of accomplishment out of every day. What processes have you tried, which ones seem to work the best for you?