How I save time and mental energy

I can never have enough of two things: time, and mental energy.
I’ve learned to value these so much that I have a mental checklist I go through to decide whether I want to spend them on something.
Here are some of the things that helped me save my mental energy, and as a by-product my time:

Default answer is No

I’ve thought myself to say No. It’s a skill I had to learn on my own, and I can write more about it, but a quick recommendation would be The Power of No by James Altucher. It was a good starting point for me.

Renegotiate terms of engagement

This is another lesson I needed to learn. If you agree to do something under certain terms but later find out they’re not working in your favor, you can always return to the negotiation table. More often than not, there’s an outcome that benefits everyone involved.
This may sound obvious to you, and I knew it too, but allowing myself to do it was another story.

Eliminate choices and micro-decisions

I’ve noticed that it seems my brain is more sensitive to the number of decision it makes rather than how big they are. \n Making 100 micro-decisions that don’t matter tires me more than making 5 big ones. Eliminate these micro-decisions by:

  1. Redesigning the process or environment to remove them completely
  2. Pre-deciding them: Create a routine or a “package” where all these micro-decisions are made in advance, then reuse the same package
  3. Outsourcing them to someone or something else

Overreacting kills my mental battery

The title says it - whenever I overreact or overthink, my mental battery goes flashing red pretty quickly. Meditating has helped me a lot with this one,

Complaining is draining

Complaining, whether by myself or hearing others complain, drains me.
Complaining is different from bringing up issues; the latter is usually done with a solution-oriented mindset, whereas complaining puts you in a victim mindset where you feel powerless and unable to change the situation. It’s also different from venting, which is about expressing and processing emotions.

This is not a complete list of the things I cut out, or all the mental models I use, but I believe these 5 have the highest ROI for most people.