Last month, I decided to track my decisions.
I know. That sounds fascinating, right?
Readers: it is! I can't fully describe how much insight I got from simply paying attention to (and sometimes writing down) my decisions.
Before paying closer attention to my decisions, I would have said I suffer from analysis paralysis at times but generally make few decisions each day, given the simplicity of my life.
Hahahahaha. Bless my heart.
From the time I wake up until I literally fall asleep, I am in the heated, confused, mottled throws of decisions making. I lie in bed upon first waking and decide: should I get up now or wait five minutes? I should get up now. But the kids already have their lunches packed, so I can afford five minutes. No. Get up now. But it's cold, and if I lie here a few more minutes maybe my husband will make breakfast? No. 5-4-3-2-1....get up.
From there, the day continues in much the same way. I decide what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, whether or not to save the leftovers, what it says about me if I don't save the leftovers, on...and on.....and on.
After tracking all of this, I've concluded I spend a shocking amount of time on some basic daily decisions that should be auto-pilot by now. These include:
1. What to eat for every single meal except breakfast (which is coffee & a ThinkThin bar).
2. What time I should eat and how to space my meals throughout the day.
3. What workout I should do that day (cardio, strength, stretching, dog walking).
4. What I should do with my time (write, clean, errands, workout, read/study).
5. What the rules are for the kids. Seriously, I am constantly trying to decide on rules, reactions, punishments, rewards, etc. related to our children.
6. How to manage my time. Each day, thanks to the beauty of the internet and my ability to work from home, my day is fully up-in-the-air. I can write in the morning or the afternoon. I can workout whenever I like. I can do whatever I want, structurally, so long as I get it all done. But how to manage that, how to structure my time? I am entirely on-the-fly.
7. What to wear. Every single day, I struggle with what to wear given what I'll be doing that day. Every single day, it's yoga pants. Still, I spend a good deal of time thinking about it, agonizing over what it says about me when I wear yoga pants, what people will think if they see me again in the same outfit, etc.
These are just the main decisions I'm making. I make tons of others as well. I must decide which store to shop at. I've got to decide which route to take to get to that store. I decide how best to organize my shopping and errands to be efficient (which somehow always fails). I decide whether to listen to the radio or Audible while driving. I decide which Audible book to listen to. I decide whether to take a bath or shower, whether to use floss pickers or actual old-school floss, which face soap to use that night, whether or not to use a mask.....ugh. It goes on....and on.
After realizing just what kind of decision making fatigue I feel every day, I began to consider how I could help myself. What could I do to limit all of this mental chaos, which is no doubt distracting me and using up mental bandwidth.
I came up with three solid ways I can streamline some of this decision making madness:
1. Make a to-do list each day and keep an on-going, long-term to-do list for bigger projects.
2. Based on my to-do list, schedule my day before I begin. In this way, I'll make most of my decisions early-on, freeing up my brain to focus on the tasks at hand.
3. Make weekly menus and workout schedules. I eat roughly the same foods, so I'm not sure why it's always a 5-minute decision about what to eat, but writing out a menu should help both in terms of deciding ahead of time what to eat and also enabling me to have the food on hand, limiting trips to the store.
I'm hoping this can free up some brain space so that I can focus better on in-depth projects and so that I don't feel so frazzled by the day's end.
What decisions do you routinely make that could possibly be streamlined?
Once I've got some of these decisions handled better, I'll tackle parenting. Do you all like how I leave that for the foggy future? :)
This month I'm tracking my groceries. I've tracked my spending before, and I have a grocery budget, but it's been a long time since I've looked at exactly what I buy in terms of food.
A few weeks ago, in a Facebook forum, a woman asked how to lower her grocery budget. Many people suggested meat, and there was a time when I would have gotten behind that call. Meat seems like the most expensive food item I buy, so it made sense that by cutting meat, I'd be cutting our grocery budget. That is...until I looked at the numbers. Turns out canned/processed foods were the biggest part of our grocery budget, not meat. I was shocked.
I'm curious to see where we're at now, with older kids who eat full-sized meals and with our hectic schedule, which I'm afraid to admit probably includes more pre-packed foods than ever before.
For now, I'm going to just save up the receipts and let the chips fall where they may at the end of the month.
I'm off to clean this house and plan my day and figure out ahead of time what to action for dinner. Flying by the seat of my pants all the time is exhausting.
I hope everyone has had a beautiful week. I've been hanging out with Sandy and pulling weeds like crazy in this gorgeous sunshine.