Arrows designed by Juan Pablo Bravo from the Noun Project

Arrows designed by Juan Pablo Bravo from the Noun Project

In an average supermarket, there are nearly 40,000 things that you have to ignore just to get to what you want. That’s 40,000 more things you have to ignore if you want to be productive, according to Daniel Levitin, whose book “The Organized Mind” Shane Parrish covers at Farnam Street blog:

‘Neuroscientists have discovered that unproductivity and loss of drive can result from decision overload…’ We have a limited number of decisions. There are only so many we can make in a day. Once we’ve hit that limit it doesn’t matter how important they are… ‘We can have trouble separating the trivial from the important, and all this information processing makes us tired.’

You’re likely familiar with the feeling of fatigue after facing a seemingly overwhelming number of decisions throughout the day. Between hundreds of tweets, Facebook status updates, emails, texts, requests from friends and co-workers, etc., mental fatigue is common for many of us.

Fortunately there’s a way to calm the storm and re-energize our brains. As Parrish explains from Levitin’s research, the more we understand about where we allow our attention to go, and what we deem as important in our daily routine, the more our ability to control our decision-making strengthens. To avoid mental fatigue, we need to prioritize our values, relying on our own mental abilities to ignore what simply doesn’t matter. Writing down a daily goal, taking time to meditate on what’s important, or even keeping a journal, are all examples of what we can do to ensure we stay mentally fit.


  • Emily Merkle

    timely. this is always timely. thank you.

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