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What’s for dinner tonight? Can I go to my friends house on Friday?  What do I need to get from the grocery store? Who will take kids to activity on Wednesday evening when I’m working late? Do I want toast for breakfast?

The number of decisions working parents make daily is overwhelming.  It’s no wonder we are mentally fatigued.

Whilst the majority of focus is often placed on your physical energy, ensuring adequate sleep, food and exercise.  The mental energy you consume plays an equally important role in your daily thriving.

There are 6 types of decision-making strategies:

  1. Quick – make an impulsive decision to get it done and you don’t need to think about it
  2. Easy Street – what decision will create the least amount of resistance from children or others
  3. Off load – delegating or passing the decision to a trusted person
  4. Head in sand – avoiding or ignoring the decision
  5. Weighing up –  balancing the various perspectives before making a decision.
  6. First things first – prioritising decisions that have the most impact.

When it comes to parenting and working, addressing first things first enables you to create mental availability for children, relationship, work and time for yourself. The more we can focus on the the decisions with the most impact the better our productivity and daily quality of life.  Stephen Covey talks about this concept in his
book, First Things First. He says for long term success, organise and execute around your most important

It’s estimated, adults make an average of 35,000 decisions per day and children 3,000. A recent study by Cornell University estimates we make 226.7 decision per day on food alone.

“I’m all for being a parent and feeding them and stuff, but planning dinner every night for 18 years seems a little excessive” ~Momming

This gives us a hint on how to free up some mental space:

Consider outsourcing food at least a few days a week – planning, shopping and making your own food consumes time and energy. Today there are many meal options available delivered to your door – complete cooked food (reheat and eat), menus and ingredients (cook and eat) or groceries delivered (plan, cook and eat). Whilst the monetary cost may be slightly higher (although we find we buy less because we aren’t walking through supermarket aisles purchasing items we don’t need!) the overall benefit to a daily quality of life is well worth considering.

Consider getting a cleaner. Again, this may seem like an unnecessary expense or one that you simply cannot afford. Again it’s a question of priorities, where is your energy best spent?

Getting intentional about decisions is level 5 on the Parent as Leader scale.

Where can you free up more mental space?

Parent as Leader Scale