For me, the foundation of a simpler, streamlined life is built on good habits. In her new book, Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin asserts:
“A habit requires no decision from me, because I’ve already decided. Am I going to brush my teeth when I wake up? Am I going to take this pill? I decide, then I don’t decide; mindfully, then mindlessly. I shouldn’t worry about making healthy choices. I should make one healthy choice, and then stop choosing.”
I agree with this approach, and have had some success with using habits and routines to save my time and brainpower by eliminating some of the decision-making from my day.
When I eat the same healthy breakfast or lunch every day, I have one less thing to agonize over during the course of my day.
Dressing in the same basic work “uniform” saves so much time — no more staring into the closet trying to figure out what to wear every morning!
My friend Norm starts every day by going for a run, without fail. It’s as much a part of his morning routine as showering and brushing his teeth.
Why reinvent the wheel every day when there are so many aspects of our lives that we can put on autopilot? By eliminating some of these mundane decisions, we can free up our minds, and our time, to focus on more interesting choices and opportunities.
Honestly, though, the only downside I’ve found to this method is that I do get bored sometimes. A soothing routine can start to feel like a rut after a while. I crave variety in my diet. I get sick of wearing the same old clothes all the time. So once in a while, I make the conscious decision to mix it up, at least for a day or two.
But after I get it out of my system, I usually return to my same comforting routines and good habits. What can I say? When you know what works for you, you stick with it!