Decision fatigue got you down? Find out how pre-made decisions can give your brain a break and take the stress out of making common decisions and save you time.
Do you feel like you're making lots of decisions every day?
As parents, we're not only deciding for ourselves, but we're often making choices for everyone in our family.
All of that decision-making can be downright exhausting!
And that leads to decision fatigue…
Decision fatigue is the mental weariness we all feel after making lots of choices throughout the day.
It's like your brain doing push-ups – the more decisions you make, the more it starts feeling the strain.
From picking what to wear in the morning to deciding what to make for lunch, each choice chips away at your mental stamina, making it harder to make sound decisions as the day goes on.
So, giving your brain a break by simplifying routine choices can be a game-changer in managing decision fatigue and keeping your decision-making skills sharp when they matter most.
Why You Need to Make Pre-Planned Decisions
When you make pre-set choices, you don't have to use up mental energy to decide what you're going to do.
Consider Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple. Known for his iconic black turtleneck and jeans, Jobs famously wore the same outfit daily, eliminating the need to decide what to wear and conserving mental energy for more significant endeavors.
Arianna Huffington, the co-founder of The Huffington Post and a prominent media figure has spoken about her commitment to a consistent bedtime. By making a pre-made decision to prioritize sufficient sleep and go to bed at the same time each night, she ensures that she is well-rested and better equipped to tackle her professional and personal responsibilities.
You probably have your own pre-made decisions that you use every day…
Maybe you wake up in the morning and start making a pot of coffee as soon as you get to the kitchen.
Or maybe you always check your phone before you get dressed to see the weather forecast.
Those habits you've already established are the perfect jumping-off point for pre-planned choices!
How to Start Making Pre-Planned Decisions
If you're ready to give your brain a break, start noticing the choices you struggle with often.
For example, I noticed that as I drove my kids to and from school, I thought a lot about whether or not to get gas.
Once my gas tank hits the half-full mark, I always try to fill up so I don't end up running out of time and driving around on fumes.
But when I start to hover around that half-full point, I'm always thinking about when would be the optimal time to fill up. And usually, if given the choice, I put off filling up my car.
And then my gas tank goes to 1/4 full, 1/8 full, and I'm in a constant state of stress!
I've realized that I never regret filling up my car with gas…so I made the pre-planned decision to always fill up my car with gas when I drive by the gas station, I have about 10 extra minutes, and the gas tank is getting close to the half-full point.
This means I usually fill up after I've dropped off the kids in the morning if I notice that my car needs gas.
Pre-Made Decisions for Decluttering
Dana K. White, an author and decluttering expert known for her book “Decluttering at the Speed of Life,” emphasizes the importance of pre-made decisions in the decluttering process.
She encourages people to establish clear and simple rules for decluttering specific items or spaces in their homes.
By pre-determining criteria for what to keep, donate, or discard, people can streamline the decision-making process and make decluttering more manageable.
For example, you can decide to declutter a space, like a drawer or a basket, when you start to see that it's becoming too full.
Putting Things in the Same Spot
Another helpful pre-planned decision is to always put your purse in the same spot.
Set up a spot you walk by every time you enter your home, and designate that as the spot to keep your purse. If it's near a plug, you can always charge your cell phone in that spot too!
Pre-Planned Decisions to Keep You Organized
- Easy Outfit Picks: Simplify your mornings with a pre-planned clothing capsule. Mix and match a few go-to pieces, and voila – no more standing in front of the closet wondering what to wear.
- Weekly Menu Magic: Take the stress out of mealtime by planning your weekly menu. Jot down recipes, make a shopping list, and prep ingredients early. It not only saves you time but also cuts down on the daily “What's for dinner?” dilemma.
- Toy Time Switcheroo: Keep the kids' play area clutter-free with a toy rotation plan. Store some toys away and swap them regularly. It keeps things exciting for them and makes tidying up a breeze.
- Paperwork Peace: Tackle the paper chaos with a pre-planned paper organization system. Sort and label binders for bills, medical stuff, and important documents. Finding what you need becomes a cinch, and your desk stays looking sharp. These are the binder covers I use to keep things organized.
- Home Management Routine: Make cleaning a no-brainer with a simple daily routine. Assign tasks for each day – vacuuming on Mondays, dusting on Wednesdays, and so on. Your home stays consistently spick and span without you feeling overwhelmed. Get started with this free guide.
Pre-Made Decision Ideas
Here are some more pre-made choices to get you thinking of ways you could make decisions now and free up time later…
- Clear off your desk each night so you can start with a clean slate in the morning
- Tidy up your kitchen and finish up your dishes before going to bed
- Choose what to have for one meal of the day (breakfast is easiest) and just have the same thing every single day.
- When you walk from one room to the other, bring something with you that needs to be put away
- Set a specific time for when you'll check social media and/or the news. This keeps you in the loop without letting it take over your entire day.
- Pick a color for each person in your family – blue, green, red, yellow, etc. – and when you get things for them, try to buy them in that color. Especially helpful for things like water bottles, pool towels, and lunch bags.
- Check your smoke alarm batteries when you change your clocks for daylight savings time.
- Always book your next appointment when you're at the dentist/doctor/hairdresser.
- Go to a lot of potlucks? Decide on one dish that you'll always bring.
- Run the dishwasher every night…even if it's not full! Then empty it in the morning while your coffee brews.
- Open your mail right by your outdoor trashcan. Recycle all of the junk mail, things you don't need before they even enter the house.
- Buy a different brand of socks for everyone in your family. For example, Hanes, Cat&Jack, AND1, Fruit of the Loom, etc. Everyone has a different brand, but one style of sock. Read more about it here.
- Always add events, appointments, and commitments to your Google Calendar as soon as you find out about them. Access your Google Calendar from your computer and phone.
- Add dishwashing detergent (or dish tab) to your dishwasher immediately after emptying it. That way you can always tell if the dishes are clean or dirty by looking to see if the dish detergent door is open or closed!
- If there's a snack sign up for activities, always sign up for the first day. That way you don't have to remember to do it several weeks later!
- Always bring along Mini-Muffins or Pop-Tarts when you go on a trip. Enjoy the fun breakfast and save $ while traveling.
- Always fill up your gas tank when it reaches a certain point. Mine is 1/2 tank. Most people are comfortable with waiting until it's at 1/4 tank.
- Have a designated inbox for papers and process through it at the same time every week.
- Don't ever question buying a book. It's worth it. Get it! (idea from Ramit Sethi)
- Clean out your fridge the day before garbage day.
- Always park in the same area at the grocery store so you're not searching all over for your car.
- Start your Roomba (or robot vacuum) every time you leave the house to take your kids to school.
- Replace your toothbrush each season (summer, fall, winter, spring) so you don't have to remember how long you've been using it!
- If you have a Berkey water filter, fill it up with water each night. And put a bowl or pitcher under the spigot in case it overflows!
- Take out your garbage every night after supper. Even if it's not full.
- Have movie and pizza night on Sundays! Helps with the Sunday scaries. A lot of people do pizza and movies on Fridays to decompress from the school/work week.
- Use a 4-week meal rotation so you never have to decide what's for dinner.
Want an easy way to get started with pre-planned decisions? Go here to get our free home management plan workbook that will help take the guesswork out of what home tasks you should do and when.