I need this today. And yesterday. I’m hoping soon I’ll recover the usual urgent mad dash rush-ery but I’m still practically concussed from relaxing over Christmas. This fella from Inc.com has suggestions. Five, in fact. Here’s one.
1. Eliminate as many choices as possible. We all have a finite store of mental energy for exercising self-control.
The more choices we make during the day, the harder each one is on our brain–and the more we start to look for shortcuts. (Call it the “Oh, screw it,” syndrome.) Then we get impulsive. Then we get reckless. Then we make decisions we know we shouldn’t make, but it’s as if we can’t help ourselves.
In fact, we can’t help ourselves: We’ve run out of the mental energy we need to make smart choices.
That’s why the fewer choices we have to make, the smarter choices we can make when we do need to make a decision.
Say you want to drink more water and less soda. Easy. Keep three water bottles on your desk at all times. Then you won’t need to go to the refrigerator and need to make a choice.
Or say you struggle to keep from constantly checking your email. Easy. Turn off all your alerts. Or shut down your email and open it only once an hour. Or take your mail program off your desktop and keep it on a laptop across the room. Make it hard to check–then you’re more likely not to.
Or say you want to make smarter financial choices. Easy. Keep your credit card in a drawer; then you can’t make an impulse buy. Or require two sign-offs for all purchases over a certain amount; then you will have to run those decisions by someone else (which probably means you’ll think twice and won’t even bother).
Choices are the enemy of willpower. So are ease and convenience. Think of decisions that require willpower, and then take willpower totally out of the equation.
Read the full piece.