President Obama: Limit Your Decisions

In an interview with Vanity Fair‘s Michael Lewis, President Obama talks about how he has consciously limited the number of menial decisions he makes in a given day:

“‘You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,’ [President Obama] said. ‘I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.’ He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions. It’s why shopping is so exhausting. ‘You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.'”

Exert from Work Rules, by Laszlo Bock

This idea of pairing down your daily decisions can be seen in a number of high achieving people. Consider Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie, or Steve Jobs’ jeans and black turtleneck. Making your day as routine as possible allows you to preserve your limited decision-making ability on the things that really matter. Treat your mental capital as such and remove those trivial elements of your life that might impede you reaching your maximum mental potential.

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