Some wonder, how others can achieve more with less effort in less time. They wonder how others can be truly successful and live their dreams. Are you such kind of dreamer? Well, here is the place to turn your dreams into reality!

It all starts with you! I didn’t recognize this until last year. I got into Self-Development, after the break-up with my ex. At this point, I thought that progress is a matter of time, but it isn’t. Progress is a choice. Self-Development is a choice. Becoming a better version of yourself is a process you have to invest in! These investments are high, but your outcome will be even higher! With this post, I will give you the first shares for an investment in your future! Overcome procrastination, decision-fatigue and lack of motivation, with knowing what your mental bandwidth is and how you can use it. Why knowing it is essential, to become an achiever!

Do you know your mental bandwidth?
Or better asked: Do you even know what mental bandwidth is? No?

Mental bandwidth is the calculation power our brains have in a specific time frame. Unlike a CPU in a computer our mental bandwidth needs time to recover. If we kill a process on our PCs we get the CPUs power, which this process has used, back. In comparison, if we stop doing something we can’t instantly get back the mental bandwidth we have used.

In the past, I often had the problem that I felt out of mental energy. It felt like I had no power to think about something. Every time I tried to imagine something or wanted to find a solution, there was…nothing. Only white space. My brain hadn’t any power to start thinking. Every decision felt like a hard one…even if it was obviously one of the easiest.

I tried to think, but there was only white space

Having no idea what was going on, I tried different things like sleeping longer and distract myself with partying. Nothing helped. It felt like I was stuck in quicksand at this point. I wanted to change, but I didn’t. Then, as mentioned, last year, things got worse and I was single again. At this point I decided to change things and begun to read books about self-improvement, personal development and the state of mind. One of these books was Scarcity.

With this book, I was introduced in mental bandwidth. In the importance of every day decisions and setting priorities. The authors explained that mental bandwidth is something you need in order to avoid scarcity thinking. They highlighted that the lack of mental bandwidth harms you and your environment.

Start your (cognitive) engines!

I recognized that I had wasted my mental bandwidth in easy decisions. In setting wrong priorities. Procrastinating throughout the day, while achieving nothing. But, in order to become an achiever, we need to set up a base. A base of cognitive power. Power to think about our plans, to recognize opportunities and avoid self-harm.

Attention, please!

The authors showed with the help of an example what correlates with the lack of mental bandwidth.
Baba Shiv, a Stanford University professor made an experiment to show how fleeting willpower can be. He divided 165 undergraduate students into two groups and asked them to memorize either a two-digit or a seven-digit number. Both tasks were well within the average person’s cognitive abilities, and they could take as much time as they needed. When they were ready, students would then go to another room where they would recall the number. Along the way, they were offered a snack for participating in the study. The two choices were chocolate cake or a bowl of fruit salad. Students asked to memorize the seven-digit number were nearly twice as likely to choose chocolate cake. This tiny extra cognitive load was enough to prevent a prudent choice, because it lowered the amount of mental bandwidth.

What does that mean?

This experiment showed that we automatically lose willpower when our mental bandwidth is in use. And with less willpower we will more likely make bad decisions – in this case choosing a piece of chocolate cake over a bowl of fruit salad.

There is a link between mental bandwidth and willpower!

A lack of willpower correlates with a lack of mental bandwidth. This means your amount of willpower isn’t the deal here. Your mental bandwidth is! We all know such a chocolate cake over fruit salad choice. We had an embarrassing day at work and don’t have the mood to cook. So, we will take the next best fast-food restaurant and get a burger there.

Here we are, the lack of willpower.

Willpower, to say no to fast-food and other harming decisions. Willpower, to say no to procrastination and feeling unhappy. You see, with a lack of mental bandwidth, we can’t think about the consequences of our decisions. We are stuck in the moment and can’t think about what could happen next. We take short-term benefits over (maybe) better long-time rewards. Because we don’t have enough mental bandwidth to imagine these long-term rewards.

With me, it was the same.

I wasn’t aware of the importance of mental bandwidth and looked for quick satisfactions, trying to distract myself. Afterwards, I felt miserable. It felt like I was doing nothing.

Lack of mental bandwidth -> doing nothing -> feeling useless -> depression?!

Stop it, right here! You have the power to choose not to fall victim to this vicious circle! Although it might sound easier that in it will be, you can create consciousness.

Consciousness about your daily decisions and priorities

To avoid unnecessary loss of our mental bandwidth we should make sure to stop wasting it for things, we don’t like to do. The best option is using our mental bandwidth for important things which need the most of our brains capacity, first. Whether it is learning for an exam, getting important office work done, or focussing on our One Thing. We have to make sure to get our full brains capacity while doing these things.

First things first!

Get the important stuff done at the beginning. Set clear priorities and develop a consciousness for your personal task force. There are days, you can’t and won’t be productive as usual. Accept it, and act accordingly.

Productivity alone, isn’t the key indicator here.

But it is not all about productivity. There are also other things to decide in life, which can’t be tagged as productive. Even everyday life decisions need some mental bandwidth. Most of them aren’t productive. Productivity isn’t the problem, here. But, a lack of mental bandwidth can be.

Try, to avoid running out of your mental bandwidth

While taking care of your mental bandwidth, you avoid decision-fatigue and the start of a vicious circle. Consider it as taking care of your mental well-being and building the bedrock to become an achiever.

What about you?

You surely want to get things done, too. But sometimes, probably you don’t have the necessary drive to work on these things. Maybe you feel like me, white-spaced in your brain. Feel like you are doing nothing to achieve your dreams & goals and start feeling useless. Stop this vicious circle! Stop starting to think badly about yourself!

Instead, start taking care of your mental bandwidth!

Your takeaways from this post are:
– mental bandwidth represents your brains processing power
– you can run out of it, which can lead to decision-fatigue, lack of motivation and a vicious circle
– set clear priorities, take breaks, single task and, avoid distractions to maintain a healthy level

Treat your mental bandwidth like it should be treated: a limited but renewable resource. Use the most of it on most important tasks, and the small rest on things you have to do. Make sure you give yourself the right time to recover your mental bandwidth and repeat this cycle.

Now, I want to know from you, what you do in order to become an achiever!