In modern society we often feel bogged down; like we don’t have time to get everything done. The thing is: You can fix this. Want to know how to have the best working day of your life? The team from Air-IT share their thoughts.
Avoiding Decision Fatigue
Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual, after a long session of decision making (Wikipedia).
It leads to poor choices and irrational decision making.
Fact: judges are known to make less favourable decisions later in the day.
So how do we go about beating decision fatigue and making the space to do the best work of your life?
Follow Your Circadian Rhythm
Although managers expect their employees to be at their best at all hours of the workday, it’s an unrealistic expectation.
Employees may want to be their best at all hours, but their natural circadian rhythms will not always align with this desire.
On average, after the workday begins, employees take a few hours to reach their peak levels of alertness and energy — and that peak does not last long.
Not long after lunch, those levels begin to decline, hitting a low at around 3pm. We often blame this on lunch, but in reality this is just a natural part of the circadian process.
After the 3pm dip, alertness tends to increase again until hitting a second peak at approximately 6pm. Following this, alertness tends to then decline for the rest of the evening and throughout the early morning hours until hitting the very lowest point at approximately 3:30am.
After hitting that all-time low, alertness tends to increase for the rest of the morning until hitting the first peak shortly after noon the next day.
From Zuckerberg to Picasso to Obama there are people that take day to day decisions out of their own hands by removing choice on everyday decisions:
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” Obama said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
Steve Jobs wore the same turtleneck and jeans combo everyday.
Mark Zuckerberg pretty much wears the same grey t-shirt, black hoodie and jeans combo whenever you see him.
Even Picasso and Einstein have been reported to have monotonous wardrobes to reduce wasted time of non-important decisions.
Go to extremes
- Steve Jobs would often eat only one type of food for weeks on end – once eating so many carrots his skin turned orange (unconfirmed).
- Hire someone to slap you in the face – that’s what Maneesh Sethi did!
- Create a “not to do list” rather than a “to do list” – determine what you can’t do can create positive habits.
Obama uses “decision memos” – each has one of three checkboxes at the bottom:
- Let’s Discuss
- Get started the night before – know what you are going to work on before you sit down in the morning
- Set out a timetable
- Work in a mini tasks
- Make your lunch in batches at the start of your week
- Block out your time before others do it for you
- Don’t use the 1 hour default meetings in calendars
- Do meetings standing up
- Optimise your sleep
- Turn off phone notifications
- Batch process your emails
- Set times times of the day for certain activities
- Learn keyboard shortcuts
- Listen to ambient sounds rather than pop music
- Agatha Christie never owned a desk yet created 80 novels and 19 plays wherever she could find a seat.
- Hemingway wrote standing up.
- Bill Gates disconnects and moves into a cabin in the woods for a week a year
Do What Others Don’t
- Get up early
- Take chances
- Don’t complain
- Dream big
- Always be learning
- Do it today not tomorrow
- Make your own serendipity
- Do the work – don’t just talk about it
Don’t believe us? Look at the stats
- The average worker spends 76 hours per year looking for stuff they lost
- 87% of workers say they feel less productive when they work space is disorganised
- Losing sleep can reduce alertness by 32%
- Avoiding junk food can improve productivity by 20%
- Ambient music improves productivity by 35%
- Typists in Japan made 54% fewer errors when they could smell lemon, 33% less with jasmine and 20% fewer when they could smell lavender
- All day healthy eating leads to a 25% higher job performance
- Ditch multitasking – only 2% of people can do it effectively
- Get rid of meetings – they take up 15% of an orginisations collective time