How to Edit Your Life to Minimize Mental Fatigue
Decision fatigue is an epidemic these days for most of us. There are so many options we have in every area of our life, which is an amazing thing, but it can also create decision fatigue if we’re not intentional about it.
Think about all
There is decision, after decision to be made every day. Decision making requires the higher part of our brain…it requires more energy from us. If you have 30 options to choose from, that requires a different level of energy to make a decision than if you only have 3 options. There are actually days that I get home from work feeling like my brain is about to explode and think “If I have to make ONE more decision, I’m going to lose it.”
The solution to minimizing this mental fatigue is to edit your life. This means to take a look at all areas of your life to see what you could change, condense, simplify or modify to make your life easier. It means making decisions ahead of time so that when other decisions come along, you’re not adding to the number of decisions your higher brain needs to make. Here is how to edit your life to minimize mental fatigue.
You can edit any area of your life, but here are 6 areas of my life that I have edited that I have found the most useful in freeing up mental energy so I can spend more of it on the things that I enjoy.
One of the first areas I think about when I think about editing my life, is my stuff! How do we end up with so much stuff?? Here are a few tips I’ve learned from Shira Gill about how to edit your stuff.
Start with one area or one category to go through. For instance, your closet. Take everything out of the closet and put it somewhere else (the bed, another room). It will make you realize just how much stuff you have! And the more things we have in our closet, the more mental energy is drained from us each time when walk into it.
Keep only the stuff you love and currently wear. Having a closet of only things that you love and actually fit you takes away from all the chatter in your brain every time you walk into our closet to choose what to wear for the day.
You can do this with your sock drawer, a coat closet, a storage closet, a linen closet, your bathroom drawers, etc. Ask yourself “how many _______ do I really NEED (t-shirts, leggins, workout clothes, socks, lipsticks, etc)? Pick out what you like best and donate the rest. What if you thought this way about everything in your house? How many mixing bowls or mugs do you really need? Do you really need 20 pairs of jeans? How many sets of PJs do you need? It’s so freeing to walk into your closet or open a drawer and not have to really decide what you will put on because you love everything that you have.
The purpose of food is to fuel our body…not to entertain us when we’re bored or to make us feel better when we’re stressed. It’s just meant to fuel our body. What would change if you simplified your food? What if you ate the same thing for breakfast every day? You wouldn’t have to spend so much time and mental energy trying to figure out what you’re going to eat.
Same thing with lunch…my lunch will either be a salad with meat or left overs from the night before. Easy-peasy. You can simplify dinner also by choosing 10-15 different dinner options that you and your family like, write them down and just go down the list. When you get through all of them, start back at the top of the list. You can also have themed nights like every Thursday is pizza night or every Tuesday is mexican food. This cuts down on the amount of decisions you have to make about dinner. Or you can cook 3-4 meals over the weekend to eat throughout the week. You can also make the Crockpot or Instapot your new BFF. The key is to make decisions ahead of time so that when dinner comes up, decision making around food isn’t so draining.
It’s important to periodically evaluate how you’re spending your time. What kinds of things are you involved in and how many? How many of those do you actually want to be involved in? How many activities are your kids involved in? There is no right number, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed and frantic, you may need to edit the number of activities in your life or how much time you’re spending on-the-go. If you have 2 or more kids, maybe you let them pick just one activity and that’s it…because you don’t like running around frantic and not have downtime with your family.Take a step back and ask yourself, “would I make this decision again today?” You can stop and edit your schedule any time.
You can do this same thing if you own a business. Take a step back and ask yourself, “If I was doing this over again today, what things would I keep doing and what would I get rid of?”
Also think about how much time you are spending on things that are not helping you to create the life that you want or not getting you closer to your goals. For example, how much time are you spending mindlessly scrolling on social media or bingeing on Netflix? Instead, decide ahead of time, how much time you will allow for these activities in your schedule. So much easier.
Your Digital life
How many of you open your email inbox and see 532 messages, 120 of which are unread? You probably don’t even know where to find things in your inbox or what is even relevant or not. Here is what you do…select all of the emails in your inbox that are more than 30 days old, then hit DELETE! It feels scary but amazing at the same time.
Think about it. If you haven’t done anything with an email in the past 30 days, you probably don’t need it. If you feel like you will need it at some point, create a folder for it in your email to get it out of your inbox. For example, sometimes I will book travel plans months ahead of time and know I will need this information later. So, I will drag my confirmation emails to a folder titled “Travel” or will put the information inside a travel app on my phone like TripCase for easy access to it later.
If it’s an email that you actually need to take action on, you can flag it or star it. Once a month, sort your emails to have all the flagged or starred emails at the top and then delete everything else. This will release so much mental energy that you are spending each time you open your email.
Just choose to believe that anything you really need, you will be able to find again. The same applies to files on your computer. Go through all of your folders once a month, and get rid of what you don’t really need! It’s very freeing.
All the Paper
My brain screams instead anytime I see a pile of papers. I’m a tech lover and paper clutter is my arch enemy. Yes, there are things we need to keep that are important. Put them in a file box somewhere in some kind of organized manner for easy finding later.
Think of how much energy you spend trying to find that one piece of paper you are looking for in the pile. How many other pieces of papers are you having to touch or quickly scan through before finding the one you need? It’s draining your mental energy! I know you’re saying, “but I know exactly where everything is and don’t have a problem finding it.” If you added up all the seconds or minutes you were spending touching other papers to get to the one you want, you would be amazed at how much time and mental energy you were wasting.
You knew I was going to go here
Or maybe you decide you don’t want to be resentful toward your husband anymore for not being the way you want him to be or doing the things you want him to do. You can edit your thinking to, “No, this is just who he is and I just want to love him.” Isn’t it fascinating that you can just choose ahead of time how you want to think about certain things in your life?
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