For More Effective Routines, Simplify Your Choices.

Time and Energy are Important Assets. Don't Waste Them.

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Your time and energy are important assets. They are finite. Don’t waste them.

Establish effective and efficient routines by simplifying your choices. Consciously reduce the number of choices you make. Routinize aspects of your day by consciously making choices in advance. Doing so helps de-clutter the day-to-day management of life.

Routinize decisions by becoming a minimalist most of the time. For example, consciously choose in advance what you wear and eat during the work week, how and when you exercise, and what you do for other forms of self-care. This way, you can better prioritize making other choices, especially challenging ones, while still implementing prior choices around healthy living. Enjoy spontaneity and new experiences when you have the time, energy, and quality of presence to appreciate them!

A few years back I simplified my clothing choices, making more careful decisions around what I bought and wore. This required time and thought up front but ended up ultimately saving a tremendous amount of time. Before this I hadn’t exercised conscious choice in buying clothes. I shopped haphazardly, picking up what appealed to me without considering how it functioned in my life. I didn’t know all the clothes I had and some of them went unworn. This didn’t align with my value of living simply.

Practicing more conscious decision-making around my clothes has saved time spent in stores and in thinking about what to wear. Shopping less, I feel less pulled by material things. Now when I buy clothes, they generally need to meet the criteria of comfort, quality, style that reflects me, and fits in with what I already have. As a result of more intentionally choosing my clothes, I now like them more and think about them less.

To reduce the number of decisions you need to make throughout your day, it can be helpful to begin your day with a one-minute reflection on what choices you want to focus on that day. Be specific if you can. Of course, unexpected and urgent things may come up that need attention. But having clarity approaching your day helps you stay on track. A less cluttered mind helps you be more responsive to whatever arises that needs your attention, and to set limits around it.

To practice intentional decision-making, simply your life in ways other than routinizing decisions. Are you more attracted to things than experiences? Notice if a lot of energy is directed toward bright, shiny objects that detract from choices that enrich your life. Bright shiny objects are anything that is compelling but, ultimately, empty because it doesn’t enrich you. They might be the latest technology apps, fashion trends, or people du jour. Sometimes shiny objects shine even brighter when you experience self-doubt or uncertainty. Focus within, not outside yourself, to prioritize your choices.

Let your decisions, and your routines, reflect what is most important to you. Decide for yourself what you need to bring into your life. If your choices leave you unfulfilled, re-evaluate them. Be willing to get rid of things that clutter your mind, and life, and unnecessarily commit your time and resources. 

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