A fun, thoughtful post by Oliver Emberton, likening life to a game:
Every decision you have to make costs willpower, and decisions where you have to suppress an appealing option for a less appealing one (e.g. exercise instead of watch TV) require a lot of willpower.
There are various tricks to keep your behaviour in line:
- Keep your state high. If you’re hungry, exhausted, or utterly deprived of fun, your willpower will collapse. Ensure you take consistently good care of yourself.
- Don’t demand too much willpower from one day. Spread your most demanding tasks over multiple days, and mix them in with less demanding ones.
- Attempt the most important tasks first. This makes other tasks more difficult, but makes your top task more likely.
- Reduce the need to use willpower by reducing choices. If you’re trying to work on a computer that can access Facebook, you’ll need more willpower because you’re constantly choosing the hard task over the easy one. Eliminate such distractions.
A key part of playing the game is balancing your competing priorities with the state of your body. Just don’t leave yourself on autopilot, or you’ll never get anything done.
Worth clicking for the 8-bit character representations alone.