When you were learning how to walk as a child, it was difficult. After your body learned what to do, as your muscles got stronger, and you did it over and over again, it became automatic. Today, you don’t think about putting one foot in front of the other anymore.
Your mind actually works very much the same way.
The first time you do something, it’s a lot of work for your brain. There is a lot of conscious effort involved. Just like a person walking through a forest for the first time, you are forging new territory, and creating a brand new path. When the same route is taken over and over, a clear path forms. Similarly, when you do something over and over, you create a habit.
The Easy Way or the Hard Way?
Your brain can process information automatically (the easy way) or it can think in a controlled manner (the hard way). When you go about your day using your mind the hard way, you are wasting precious mental resources. As a result, at the end of your day, you might feel exhausted and incapable of making even easy decisions. To avoid this, you want to use effortful processing as infrequently as possible. The more activities you can automate, the less they exhaust your precious mental resources. That means you have enough brain power to get the more important things done.
Automate the things you know you need to do
Create strong habits so you can take the guesswork out of the equation for your necessary tasks. Make your own predictable processes around the mundane tasks you must do, so you can do them automatically, without wasting your mental energy. We have a finite amount of energy to get things done each day.
Are you optimizing your energy or wasting it mindlessly? Once you have this down, help others around you do the same.