“Automaticity is the ability to do things without occupying the mind with the low-level details required, allowing it to become an automatic response pattern or habit. It is usually the result of learning, repetition, and practice” – Wikipedia
Automaticity saves energy because it does not require the use of your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain that consumes 25% of your total energy. So putting things that do not serve you on automatic will save you energy, but how does it save you time?
Taking the decision-making out of the mundane and repetitive tasks in life ensures that you have more energy for the bigger tasks. There are many celebrities who wear the same clothes every day with the most famous being Steve Jobs. He wore the same black turtleneck, jeans, and sneakers every day, but why? Decision fatigue. Our brains are only capable of making so many decisions in a day before it begins to wear out. We are often beat after a long day of meetings, not because you were sitting all day, but because you were having to make thousands upon thousands of decisions. Automaticity will help you with that.
By something as simple as wearing the same clothing every day, Steve Jobs had removed about a dozen different decisions from his morning routine, no to mention saved himself a couple minutes of time.
He didn’t have to sift through hundreds of shirts to decide what to put on, or what pants to match up with that shirt. Then to decide what socks should go on with what shoes. It is this small attention to decision-making detail that gave him more time and more energy later in the day when he needed it.
Automaticity doesn’t have to be major life-altering changes, it is a habit of continual minor changes that add up to saving you hours and thousands of decisions. By taking the decisions out of the small stuff, you will find that at the end of the day, you will still have some energy and time left to do the things that give you joy.
Think about something small that you can automate in your day. Perhaps only wear black socks, or always eat the same lunch every workday or eat the same breakfast (one that includes all of the healthy elements that you need to start your day). Take action and automate! Your brain will thank you!
ACTIVITY – Take the decision making out of your routine tomorrow morning. Lay out all of your clothes the night before and have them ready for the morning rush. If you eat breakfast at home, have as much prepared the night before with dishes etc ready for your use. Have your keys, wallet/purse and anything else you need to take to work ready to be grabbed when you go out the door. Your morning will be that much easier!
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Yves Doucet, CEO and Culture Coach Dovico
Blog co-author Jeff Nagle
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