Blue and gray suits
Life is filled with decisions. Work and family life are so busy that there is now a health concern surrounding “decision fatigue”.
As I write, my mind is bouncing around with possible decisions – should I get some coffee (it is 5:30 a.m.), is this the right time to be writing, will what I write make sense to anyone but me.
A decision that everyone can relate to is “what should we have for dinner”? I get in food ruts because of decision fatigue. Is it healthy, will it upset my stomach, is it too much money, will it take too much time?
There are decisions we make without realizing they are decisions. What direction you drive to work, where you park, do you park farther away to get more steps on your fitbit?
At times, we make semi-permanent decisions now so we don’t have to make them in the future. Go to the same stall in the bathroom, stand in the same place in Zumba class, park in the same section of the parking lot.
I admire President Obama for many reasons; one is his approach to automated decision making. He wears blue or gray suits. On an episode of Comedians in Cars Drinking Coffee, he admitted to Jerry Seinfeld that he only has one kind and color of underwear.
Along those lines, I read a life hack that suggested adopting a wardrobe style. Their example was Kerry Washington on Scandal – pants suits. Also adopted by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Steve Jobs wore black turtlenecks and jeans. These approaches are the same as President Obama’s closet of blue and gray suits. Dressing for the day should involve as few decisions as possible. Your mind is needed for more important decisions throughout the day. I take the same approach for my son’s wardrobe so he doesn’t have to make decisions in the morning. Track pants and a superhero or neon-colored dry fit shirt.
I have embraced the pre-determined wardrobe idea. See “The Ideal Morning”. Now I can say I have a similar behavior to the president. I have 3 pairs of shoes I wear to work and they are all black. I wear black dress shoes, casual boots or casual shoes. This saves me hours of decision fatigue in the morning.
David Allen’s Getting Things Done® 2 minute or less system embraces the elimination of decision fatigue. If a task comes in that you can do in 2 minutes – do it.
Take a page from POTUS's playbook and adopt the blue or gray suit method. We all have decisions to make every day that are unavoidable parts of life. Pre-determine certain decisions for the week (e.g. Wednesday nights are always taco nights). It will free your mind from the mundane and creates space for important and influential decisions.