Self-made millionaire Tucker Hughes wakes up every morning knowing exactly what he’s wearing to work and precisely what he’s eating for breakfast.
It helps the 22-year-old avoid decision fatigue, he explains on Entrepreneur: “Attention is a finite daily resource and can be a bottleneck on productivity. No matter the mental stamina developed over time, there is always going to be a threshold where you break down and your remaining efforts for the day become suboptimal.
“Conserve your mental power by making easily reversible decisions as quickly as possible and aggressively planning recurring actions so you can execute simple tasks on autopilot. I know what I am wearing to work and eating for breakfast each day next week.”
Hughes isn’t the only successful person eliminating mundane daily decisions. Striped or solid tie? Oatmeal or eggs?
Think: Mark Zuckerberg, who wears his signature grey tee-shirt day in and day out; billionaire John Paul DeJoria and his all-black ensemble; Barack Obama, always sporting a blue or grey suit. They all avoid the question, “What do I wear to work today?” — and there’s a scientific reason they do so.
As Roy F. Baumeister, a psychologist who studies decision fatigue and a co-author of “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength” explained to the New York Times:
“Making decisions uses the very same willpower that you use to say no to doughnuts, drugs, or illicit sex. It’s the same willpower that you use to be polite or to wait your turn or to drag yourself out of bed or to hold off going to the bathroom.
“Your ability to make the right investment or hiring decision may be reduced simply because you expended some of your willpower earlier when you held your tongue in response to someone’s offensive remark or when you exerted yourself to get to the meeting on time.”
As Obama told Vanity Fair in 2012, “You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. 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.”
Zuckerberg said something similar during a public Q&A session, when asked about wearing the same tee every day: “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community … I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.”