How to Build an Automatic Decision System to Minimise Time Spent Thinking, Save Mental Energy & Leave More Time for Actual Important Work

Reading time: 3 min

Every decision we make contributes to decision fatigue.

This is why choosing what to buy, choosing a route home, and choosing actions is tiring. We make an uncountable number of decisions every day. By eliminating these choices, we can:

  • Save time by thinking and planning less

  • Free up mental bandwidth for more important decisions

  • Spend more time on goal-oriented action.

This is where a Decision Autopilot System comes in handy.

It's a personal system that allows you to bypass decision-making by making the choice automatic, unnecessary, or random.

For example, here are 4 modules in my Decision Autopilot System:

1. Pre-planned daily post-work activities.

I never have to choose or plan what to do when I get home. Less time spent thinking, more time spend working towards my goals.

I derive these activities from my Direction → Goal → Project/Habit system.

I want to be healthy → Hence my goal is to work out most days of the week → And my daily action is to perform 1 workout session (or rest) per day.

I have a pharmacy board examination coming up → Hence my goal is to understand & memorise everything a pharmacist should know → And my daily action is to finish my flash card queue for the day and test myself with a past paper.

This system applies to: home cleaning, laundry, visiting others, daily meals, daily writing, when I can completely chill & relax, etc.

2. Mix & matchable daily work clothes.

I never have to choose what to wear to work.

My clothes are chosen with just a few complementary colour palettes and designs that can be matched at random and still look respectable.

This is a good choice if you're not ready to go all in and buy 5 of the same set of clothes and wear the same thing every day.

And no one will ever question whether you wash your clothes.

3. Have pre-defined actions for idle time and common goals.

If I'm idle: Anki always have flash cards ready on my phone, front and center in my home screen. Social media is kept off my home screen.

If I want to study: Anki is always there on my phone and laptop, and my lecture slides are always accessible on cloud.

If I want to draft my daily writing: Standard Notes is my go-to app for capture. Typeshare is my next go-to for publishing.

No thinking required when I'm not doing anything useful.

4. Leave meal choices to random-number generators (RNG).

Yes, I do this.

I often take too long to choose what to eat, and it's a massive thought process.

What have I eaten recently? What's my healthy-to-junk-food ratio right now? Have I eaten enough protein and fibre today? What can I not eat? What do I like eating? How's this gonna appear/taste after I cook it / after I order it? Is it hard to eat/prepare? What's my calorie count right now?

Get that out of my head. Keep foods that you like and are reasonably healthy on an RNG app. Press a button, and my RNG answer is there. Keeps your diet balanced (because it's random).

Any decisions that I make should be relatively unique. Any common decision is either: automatised, made irrelevant, or chosen by chance.

Save time and mental energy for work and decisions that actually matter.


You'll only receive email when they publish something new.

More from Memory Repository 🧠
All posts