Most of our days are segments into small chunks of choices. To wake up with the alarm or to hit snooze. To have coffee or tea. Eat breakfast or don’t. Healthy or sugary. A morning workout, or prayer, or meditation.
Not even ten minutes into the day, and already a dozen or more choices assail pout mental processors.
If we consider the ability to make decisions as a commodity – a resource that is finite within the scope of one twenty-four hour period – then it makes sense to spend our decision-making currency os frugally and responsibly as possible.
Budgeting for decision-making isn’t much different than budgeting for personal finance. There are some key differences, however, the primary one being that we may be aware of how much decision-making capital that we will have to allocate for a given day.
This “choice capital” isn’t a constant. It is subject to variations based on mood, day, and numerous other factors. Mental strain, restlessness, outside factors weighing upon our mental faculties, and carried-over excess from previous days can also reduce the quality and quantity of our ability to adequately make decisions.
Something our education system does well is showing us how to stagger our usage of choice capital while we’re children. It’s an excellent primer for how to partition our days into chunks of time to allow us to focus on an individual subject. All of our decision-making and attention in the school system are maintained in one course at a time, usually in a block not exceeding ninety minutes.
Not only are we shown how to set aside time to work on one thing, but we’re also taught that overworking one subject won’t produce better results – only mental strain.
That the modern workday isn’t divided as such shows that, while we were once carefully taught, we’ve abdicated the opportunity to segment our own assignments into a system that prioritizes mental clarity and task optimization.
Another factor in the improvement of spending choice-capital is to factor in routines, thereby limiting the need for daily decision-making in unimportant tasks. For instance, meal planning, scheduling exercise blocks, and setting up a general wardrobe scheme are all examples. Rather than waking up and thinking, “What will I eat?”, already knowing let’s you push your brain into its next steps.
Imagine a whole morning where you:
- Wake up
- Eat (the same thing as yesterday, and you’ll have the same thing tomorrow)
- Do your morning practice (work out, make the bed, meditate, write, etc.)
- Put on your clothes (Maybe you’ll have Mon-Fri outfits, or a set weekend go-to. Steve Jobs liked jeans and turtlenecks. President Obama had two suit colors, and would alternate each working day)
And there you have it. Two hours of your morning, and not a single ounce of choice capital expended.