Every time you make a decision — which candidate to hire, whether to delegate a task, even what to eat for lunch — you create mental tension. Our energy to make decisions is limited; stress and fatigue can keep us from making good ones. Use routines to reduce the number of decisions you have to make: If there’s something you need to do daily, try doing it at the same time every day. For example, establish a ritual for preparing for work in the morning. That might begin with checking e-mails and voice mails and responding to the urgent ones first to make it easier to move more quickly to important projects.
Set up a similar routine for packing up to go home at night. Once you’ve put less-important decisions on autopilot, you’ll free up your energy for things that matter more.
Adapted from the HBR Guide to Managing Stress at Work.