Make everything convenient and declutter your mind!
You've probably heard of the term: 'decision fatigue' by now. Decision fatigue is refers to the deterioration in the quality of decisions an individual makes after a long period of decision making (thanks Wikipedia). The more choices you have to make, the less quality those choices will be over time. This is closely related to the now generally accepted belief that willpower is finite. The more of it you use, the less you have.
I read somewhere that highly disciplined people don't necessarily have or use more willpower than the rest of us, rather they avoid temptations. completely. It's easier not to have a piece of chocolate cake when there is no piece of chocolate cake in front of you (duh).
In light of what I've mentioned above I have decided to automate certain tasks and activities in my life. If I don't have to expend energy everyday thinking about what I should have for breakfast or supper, what time I should go to bed or get up, what time I should exercise or see friends or call my mother, then I'll have the mental capacity to be more creative, clear minded and strategic. I do this by setting up some time either on Sunday evenings or if I've failed on Monday morning first thing when I get up and plan. I plan by writing literally everything I want to do and achieve during that week. I find the "when and where" principle works wonders for me. Basically this is the concept that the easiest way to guarantee that you will do something is by deciding at the planning stage when and where you are going to do the said activity. For example, let's say you decide that at 5pm on Tuesday you will run 3km around the park. When the clock hits 5pm on Tuesday, you know it's 'run 3km around the park' time and not 'sit and watch Real housewives or the Goodwife' time. You know what to do, where to do it and you are more likely to follow through than if your plan was vague e.g this week I will run 3km (when, where,how?)
A lot of my friends have the perception that I have a lot of time on my hands, always asking "when do you get the time to do that?". The truth is I don't, sometimes I actually feel as though I stretch myself too thin but what helps me commit to activities I deem important is really just a matter of automating a lot of what is constant and writing when and where I plan to so the rest of the activities. I've also found that multi-tasking has been a huge help (I'm still sceptical of the notion of mono-tasking) I think you have to be careful which activities you pair together though, if they're not complementary then you're just wasting your time. What I do is that I use all my time in transit (moving from one place to another; say work to home, work to grab lunch, going to the shops etc.) to listen to all the podcasts I love and learn a lot from, I also use the time to listen to audio books and catch up on new music. I also try to get friends to join me on activities I consider meaningful and important, e.g instead of meeting for dinner or coffee I'll meet friends at the gym, at parks etc, this way I get to connect with people I love, doing the things I love. All of these tiny little tricks have such a huge impact on my time and my perception of time.
The last useful 'life-hack' I'm going to share is: make things convenient and declutter your mind. In order to focus my attention on whatever task I'm working on at the time I always carry a note book with me. If thoughts and to do's start to overpower my mind and threaten my focus, I write them down and revert to them at a later stage. This way I don't have this nagging feeling that I might be forgetting something and I don't have to worry about losing focus on the task at hand. By the way, people who never write anything down.....I don't know how you possibly remember everything you have to do....seriously, just write it down and free your mind to focus on more creative things.
Now, according to my planner it's time for me to get out of bed and start getting ready for my day, so this post ends here. I hope you can apply some of these small but super useful tricks into your own life. Now, go forth and be awesome!