November 19, 2019
How To Defeat Your Productivity Headaches

How To Defeat Your Productivity Headaches


– Ever said to yourself, “I just don’t have enough
hours in the day!”? And of course guys we’ll never
have more hours in the day, no matter how much we
wish for them, right? – Yeah, but today, we’re gonna share with
you a step-by-step process to make it feel like you
have more hours in the day. You’re gonna gain more
control over your time, you’re gonna get more clarity of thought, and more piece of mind. (music) – What’s up, guys. We’re Demir and Carey, the
founders of Lifehack Bootcamp. We’re so excited to share
this special recording because it tackles three
of the most common, most hard to beat productivity issues, and these three issues are: decision fatigue, analysis
paralysis, and perfectionism. These issues are actually all related. So with this one recording, you’ll be able to tackle
all three of them. – Yeah, so first, let’s talk
about what decision fatigue is, and why it’s so important in your life. Decision fatigue is like
physical exhaustion, but with our brains. It’s when our mental
strength is running out and the quality of our
decisions starts to deteriorate. So if you ever reach the end of your day and you’re making good food
decisions the whole day long and then right there at eight p.m., break down and you eat a
piece of cake for dinner. So that shows how our willpower wears down throughout the day, especially when we’re
asking our brain to make a lot of tough decisions
throughout the day. – Exactly. No matter how rational and
high-minded you try to be, we know now that you can’t make decision after decision without paying a real biological price.
– Yes. – And it’s different from
ordinary physical fatigue in that you’re not
necessarily consciously aware of being tired.
– Yeah. – But you’re really low on mental energy. Studies show that we have a decision bank of about 200 decisions
we can make per day, after which decision fatigue kicks in, and this includes any and all
decisions: from what to wear, to what new product to
launch for your business, to what route to take
driving home from work. – So the more choices you
make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes in your brain. You’re drawing down on that decision bank and eventually our brain
kicks in to help us out and it looks for shortcuts, and so one shortcut is to become reckless. That’s right, reckless. You’re more likely to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to think through all the consequences. So we eat that candy bar, or we fail to work on our
side business in the evening and we just tell ourselves something like, “Oh, this is just a gimme,” or, “I’ll do it later. “I’m just too tired.” – Yeah, we start to make excuses. The other a shortcut is actually
the ultimate energy saver, which is do nothing. So instead of agonizing over decisions, we choose to avoid any choice whatsoever. But ducking a decision can often create bigger problems in the long run. In the moment, of course,
it eases that mental strain. – But this option can lead to analysis paralysis
– Yes. – That’s where we just
loop over and over again on decisions and we can’t
seem to make a choice. Have you ever found
yourself just thinking, “I don’t know which direction to go?,” maybe on a business decision. You’re just doing endless research on it, but you’re not reaching a decision point. So have you ever found yourself
researching a new plug-in for your email for hours and hours instead of just making a
decision and moving forward? – If you’re the type of person
who would rather research, then your brain is trying to avoid reaching that difficult decision. It’s trying to help you conserve the massive amount of energy that it takes to decisively
commit to one direction. Studies show that the
moment our decision and then the implementation of the decision is where most of your
cognitive energy is expended. The problem is, you’re also slowly
draining your mental power by flooding your brain with options. – Analysis paralysis
stems from our uncertainty over the choices that we’re facing and the uncertainty around whether we’re ready to do what we’re trying to do. So we’re afraid that we’re not qualified. We’re afraid that we’re
making the wrong choice. We’re afraid of failing, and these fears literally petrify us.
– Yup. – So we’re gonna share a process for dodging these fears as well. – Our desire to be successful
and gain approval from others is also at the root of our
need to make things perfect. Perfection is a tricky
tricky productivity issue, and actually closely related
to analysis paralysis. I’m a perfectionist, so I know this feeling very very well. You know that you’re spending
too long on something, but your need to get it
just right is overwhelming. So you put in extra hours,
and spend extra money, and you end up avoiding
delegating tasks to other people because you want it done just right. But at the end of the day, if you ask yourself, “Why
it needs to be so perfect?,” it’s actually because your
ego is afraid of being told the work isn’t good enough,
that you aren’t good enough. – Totally, that’s so true. So the problem, of course, is that perfect is actually
the enemy of good enough. So today we’re gonna revise
that mindset around perfection, and we’re gonna guide you to
a much more empowered belief. If you know you wanna
prevent decision fatigue, dodge analysis paralysis,
and overcome perfectionism, then next we’re gonna share
with you our hacks and tips for overcoming that basic
ingrained psychology. – So first we’re gonna
share some things you can do in advance to circumvent
these issues altogether, and then we’ll share things
you can do in the moment to help your brain make
more powerful decisions. So if you use these tools consistently, you’ll become the type of
person who loves taking decisive action and uses
psychology in their favor to make the best decisions possible. Let’s start with five
things you can do in advance to stave off decision fatigue. – Okay, number one, and write this down: plan the night before,
or even the week before, or the month ahead of time. We are huge believers in
the power of pre-planning. Guys, the further you can
plan ahead of something, the more likely you are to
optimize it in your favor. Guys, when you plan ahead of things, get more perceived and real control. And when you have perceived and
real control over your life, your stress levels goes
down, your anxiety goes down, and your enjoyment of
your work goes way out. Sure, life is always gonna
throw you some curve balls. That’s just part of the deal. But for the things you can plan, the things you can predict, planning ahead will reduce your decision fatigue massively. – Totally. For example, plan what you’re gonna eat and what you’re gonna
wear the night before. Even plan your hairstyle and your makeup. Pack your bag for work. Plan the kids’ after-school snack. Schedule in time to work
on your side business, and definitely do not schedule yourself with back-to-back meetings all day long. So this way when you wake up tomorrow, your cognitive energy
is freed up to use on high-value decisions
instead of these minutia. – Number two: make the big
decisions in your morning, and don’t make any big
decisions after four p.m. Guys, our brains make our best decisions in the first three hours after we wake up, and these are the best hours
for other folks around you too. So you wanna schedule your
important meetings in the morning before the afternoon lull
hits everyone in the office. Not all the do you become
more cranky and fatigued, your manager becomes
more cranky and fatigue, and your coworkers. – Totally. There’s an often referenced
study about judges who were hearing parolees
appeals for reduced sentences. This study revealed
that as the day wore on and as the judges got
more decision fatigue, they’re tired and hungry, they subconsciously started
changing their verdicts. They were much more likely to reject the appeals from the parolees, and this makes sense
because if you remember, this is an energy-saving shortcut. The judges would much rather
maintain status quo instead of agonizing over a decision
to reduce their parole. Remember that forfeiting a decision often creates bigger
problems in the long run, but for the moment, it
eases your mental strain. – All right, so that’s number two. Make your big decisions in the morning when your brain is fresh. – Number three: do the most
important things first. So not only the most
important things in your day, but even front load your
entire week with the most important tasks that really
move the ball forward so you can plan on your
brain power decreasing throughout the day and
throughout the week. So front loading your most
important work is crucial to make sure your aren’t wasting your peak energy on low-value tasks. – Yeah. When are you more likely
to eat that piece of cake? Monday eight p.m. or Friday at eight p.m.? You get that domino
effect through your week where you’re a little tired on Monday, more on Tuesday, more on
Wednesday more on Thursday, and by Friday your cognitive
load is blown out of the water. – All right, number four:
close your back doors. This is where you get
committed, you set deadlines, and you gotta close off your escape routes.
(Demir laughing) If you know you take too
long making decisions or you face analysis paralysis, remember, taking massive imperfect action is better than taking no action at all, and we just talked with
Amy about leveraging accountability to create
this kind of positive action in your life.
– Yeah. – So make sure you create at least two forms of accountability. Accountability is the
fastest way to increase your personal willpower
and your commitment levels. So it actually helps us ward off decision fatigue and
analysis paralysis too. – Number five: simplify,
simplify, simplify. Cut decisions from your life. Reduce the number of
decisions you have to make. This is a huge hack for
reducing your decision fatigue, and relieving your mental strain, and it gives you an excuse to say no a little bit in your life. So here are some examples. One is just to have the same uniform or a set of uniforms
that you take to work. People like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, even people like Sheryl
Sandberg institute this policy because they know that their decision-making bank gets drained easily. They don’t wanna waste
that on stupid decisions. If you want to be the
Lebron James of your life, you wanna create routines
throughout your day that you do always, no
matter what, same way: same route to work, automate
your grocery orders, eat the same thing for lunch, pre-pack your food on Sundays. – Yeah, and for you ladies, decide on two different hairstyles and alternate them every day. I would even simplify your
makeup routine as much as you can and make a checklist for applying makeup that you’re gonna follow every morning. I even take photos for all my outfits so it’s easy to pick one out. – We like to say that the arc of lifehacking bends toward minimalism, which is just a fancy way
of saying that you can take simplification to an extreme
level and get extreme benefit. So we downsized our three-bedroom
house in Los Angeles to just owning three bags that we cart along with us wherever
we are in the world. So that feeling of having
no clutter, no extra stuff, it creates massive mental relief. But if you don’t wanna get rid
of your house, I understand. Here’s some things you can do right away. – Yeah, declutter your space ruthlessly. I recommend checking
out Marie Kondo’s book, The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and then taking action on her advice. I mean even delete your mental clutter. You can do things like
deleting apps from your phone. Yes, seriously, like just
delete all your apps, and download them back one by
one, as you actually need it. – Yeah, Cal Newport,
the author of Deep Work, takes a similar approach. He reduces all of his
social media and news, and cut it all out, and just
adds it back in as needed. Guys you’re not gonna miss these apps and media outlets when
you’re wasting time. All right. So that’s five ways you
can optimize your life to prevent decision fatigue
and analysis paralysis. But what about when you’re
in the middle of your week? What about when that
mental fog hits you hard, is there any defense? – Yeah, there definitely is. So next we’re gonna share five techniques for how to regain clarity
and power in the moment. So you realize that your
mental power is tapped out. You know you’re in trouble. So what do you do? Number one: ask yourself these questions, there’s gonna be four questions, to help understand what’s really important about the decision you’re trying to make or the problem you’re trying to solve. These questions are designed
to help you stay connected to the vision or shortcut
you to the end goal. – So write these down,
put ’em on a sticky note, put it in front of you. First, how important is this decision
to the final outcome, really? I mean, if you’re starting a new business, it’s incredibly important to understand your target market.
– Yeah. – That’s important.
(Carey laughing) It’s not as important to choose the fonts in your website.
– Right. – So don’t agonize over these decisions that just don’t have a huge impact on the final goal you’re shooting for. – All right, second question: what’s the number one metric
I need to understand here? So this is an exercise to help
you evaluate your option set. If you’re trying to decide between web-hosting services, for example, what really matters? Is it the customer service or is it the load time of your website? Decide what’s most important to you. – Number three: which option would I be more
motivated to make succeed? So this is great for all you analysis-paralysis experts out there when sometimes we’re
faced with the decision, and we truly don’t know
which direction to go, and both options seem great. But which one inspires us
more to make it successful? I mean which one do we wanna
throw our best work into? So instead of getting stuck
over analyzing the problem, just go ahead and find
a solution, pick it, and use your time and all of
your energy and cognitive load coming up with a real actionable plan to create some success in your life. – Yeah, and to make that
decision actually succeed. So here’s the fourth question: am I the best person
to make this decision, right?
– Yeah. – Like I love it when I
realize I can actually outsource a decision to somebody else. Surrounding yourself with experts who can just help you make decisions
is a fantastic hack. For example, if you aren’t a
highly trained UX designer, you probably shouldn’t be making decisions about user experience. The best decision-makers out there know when to outsource
a decision to someone who can make the best decision. – So that was the first hack, the four questions you can ask that reduce your cognitive
load and get you into action. Here’s your second hack and this one’s quick,
but it’s really powerful: eat something. Glucose is proven to spike your willpower, even if it’s temporary. So if you’re up against a big decision, you’re just feeling depleted
or hungry, depressed, anxious. Grab a snack. Eat something before you
react to make a decision. – Totally. All right, third hack: aim for 90% perfection. So all you perfectionists, make sure you write this
one down right here. So this is what startups use to iterate quickly.
– Yeah. – They approach problems
with this iterative mindset, meaning they deliberately try not to make it perfect right away. They actually create
minimum viable products, and then send them out to the market, get feedback from consumers, and then improve on the product, and test it again again again. – Yeah. So you can approach your
projects in the same way. Instead of asking, “Is this perfect?,” get a draft out there, get it 90% done, and then iterate from success. – Okay, fourth hack: stop trying to feel prepared. Take a cue from Richard Branson and start actually before you feel ready. Branson has started so many businesses, that it’s simply not
possible for him to have felt prepared, or qualified,
and ready to start all of them. – Yeah. He probably wasn’t even
prepared for any of them. He never flew a plane before
he started Virgin Airlines, and he started an airline company anyway. So he’s a great example
of how the chosen ones really choose themselves and
they sort out the rest later. – Totally. So if you’re struggling to
make a decision because you’re feeling inadequate, or untrained,
or just simply not ready, then this is a great
technique to remember. Act before you feel ready. You might feel uncertain or
unprepared or unqualified, but you definitely have enough to start. And in the end, action is what decides
our success or failure. So the next time you’re
stuck in analysis mode, remember, successful people start before they feel ready and figure
the rest out on the way. – Okay, here’s your fifth hack: relax your mind, and relaxing your mind is the
only way to refresh yourself. So you can do this through sleep, or you can do it through
meditation or mindfulness. I just like to sometimes take a five-minute vacation from thinking. (Carey chuckles) So what’s funny is that simply relaxing your body isn’t enough. As we all know that you
watch 10 hours of Netflix, and you’re not gonna feel better. You actually feel more tired. You feel more anxious because it really does very little for our mind. So relaxing your mind, even five minutes, is transformative. – We like to spend five to 10
minutes at a time meditating, followed by a series of
positive affirmations that are designed to rewire
our existing negative mindsets. For example: I am confident,
I am capable, I am successful, and I am excited to bring
this work to other people. – And guys, we’re gonna
throw a bonus hack your way. This is number six bonus hack! – And that is to time-box
your decision-making. So although this is a super
advanced way to think about it, it’s actually really simple to do. So just decide how much time
you need to decide something and force yourself to decide
on it in that timeline. Play a game with yourself. You probably heard about the
Paradox of Choice, right? – Yeah, and remember when we walked
into Blockbuster Video and you’re thinking you’re just gonna grab a movie for the night and you end up walking
out two hours later. You’re upset, you’re tired, you’re hungry, and you’re totally unhappy
with the videos you chose. That’s the Paradox of Choice. – Yeah, the longer we
take deciding something, the less happy we are with the outcome. – Again, it’s because
when we get exhausted, we wanna avoid making
decisions so we end up going down that massive rabbit hole. But when you time box the
decision, for example, just walking into the
video store and saying I have only 15 minutes
to make a choice here, you short-circuit that from happening. – So funny story. When we got married, we actually decided to make every decision about our wedding in 15 minutes, and we had a blast planning our wedding because we didn’t allow
the Paradox Of Choice to set in and ruin our mindset. – I can’t believe she let me do that. – (laughs) All right, so those are five techniques
you can use in the moment to reduce your decision fatigue and improve your mental clarity, plus one bonus technique. – Guys save this recording somewhere where you can watch it again,
reference it later, and go to our website right now and sign up for more
information like this. We’re at lifehackbootcamp.com. That’s www.lifehackbootcamp.com. You can enter your email
address and we will send you weekly hacks delivered
straight to your inbox. – Once again, we’re Demir and Carey, the founders of Lifehack Bootcamp. Thanks so much for listening, guys. (music)

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