What is the impact of cognitive load on your wellbeing? How can you be less stressed by your routine? In an assembly line you usually break it into steps, attempting to optimise each of the steps to be the most efficient they can be. Dropping the time spent on a step by 20% can have huge impacts on the output.
No matter how much more efficient you can make a step, it will always be more efficient for it… to just not exist. Removing a step in a process is a 100% optimisation on that step. It’s why businesses “cutting out the middlemen” are able to absorb those juicy margins (Airbnb with no booking staff, Tesla not using a dealership network, Amazon against brick-and-mortar retailers).
It’s something I am trying to do with this blog. Cut the fat and only include the words that add value.
Often it is not possible to completely delete a process from your life. And deleting complexity is incredibly emotionally difficult. We cling to complexity in an attempt to hide the reality beneath it. Hard to see through a forest of excuses and find that we are unhappy with our life situation.
Stripping it back layer by layer can be just what we need. Like when we find out that we have a food allergy they put you on an exclusion diet. The process of removing all allergens from your diet, and reintroducing them to see their individual effects. It can be really hard to figure out the effect of removing something from your life before you do it. So let’s attempt an exclusion diet in reverse on your whole life.
They say you don’t know what you had until it is gone…
So let’s take it away from you.
- First “Delete” something you have been stressing about optimising in your life, your online dating profile, your SEO marketing investments, your current budget…
- Continue your life and see if it really ever mattered. At the end of the month, reevaluate.
Every one of these things you add in are stressors, adding to the base mental intensity required to function in your life. It will be disruptive, that’s the whole point.
This forces us to employ “First Principles” thinking. If you remove the entire process you can start fresh to solve the problem.
Maybe you’ve made invalid assumptions as the basis of your whole plan.
And you can’t inspect the foundations while the building still stands.
- I deleted any active marketing of this blog.
- Automated transactions to make my investments from my income so I didn’t need to actively budget.
- Deleted one of the dating apps I was using.
- Readership dropped a bit, but not that much. Far less than I expected. Turns out consistency is more important than marketing.
- My mental fatigue when making any transactions dropped to 0, I didn’t catch myself worrying if I was dipping into my savings, and in turn I became happier.
- Checking that app daily was deleterious so I deleted it. I lent more into my personal relationships because the availability of new ones decreased. Quality improved. Net gain. Will not be reinstalling.
Let’s pursue minimalism, and if you fail that’s fine. This is not a meta-optimisation, it’s the opposite… anything worth doing is worth doing badly.
Even one unnecessary stressor and distraction deleted is a win.