Your brain consumes energy as it carries out any task. To make a decision, the brain uses the prefrontal cortex which performs the function of self-control and willpower. If you spend more energy on making an unimportant decision, the control functions are weakened. Hence, you should automate your daily routine activities in order to save energy and have strong self-control.
Kelly McGonigal, a neuroscientist from Stanford University, describes a study that has showed that choosing food requires you to make about 400 decisions per day. No, it’s not a misprint. You aren’t able to notice the multiplicity of such small decisions that drain power from the prefrontal cortex. Your brain loses its energy towards the end of the day and gets tired. By the end of the day, you often have to force yourself to do something that you need to do, and you can barely resist any temptations.
Good habits will save your energy that, otherwise, your brain will have needed to make those conscious choices. This approach will provide you with additional energy to make important quality decisions. For example, Mark Zuckerberg wears uniform gray shirts every day. He believes that the process of clothing selection takes too much precious time and is useless. He doesn’t want to pay attention to minor things and so he has eliminated the choice of his clothing attire from his life.
You should scrutinize the multiplicity of your daily decisions and try to exclude making decisions on minor issues in order to minimize time wasting. Train yourself, analyze a decision that you are making at the moment, then ask yourself “Why are you making this decision?” Is this really important to you? Can you avoid making this this decision? For example, you can make a daily plan that will define your clothes and lunch and dinner menu for every day of the week. By automating your daily activities and developing useful habits, you are not only able to keep energy to use for the more important decisions and exhibit self-control but also improve the quality of your decisions which in turn determines your own development.
The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal
Svetlana Stroganova, Nikolai Shmelev