I often talk about how a wardrobe of well-designed essentials can help you save time, so that you would have more of it for better things. Saving time on frivolous tasks is great, but when you look at it from a short term perspective, it might not seem all that much. But there is something even more important than the time you save on not needing to think about what you are going to wear today, and that is the energy you save from having one less thing to worry about.
Every morning when you spend time thinking about what you’re going to wear or what you’re going to eat, you use up your mental resources, which leads to what is called decision fatigue. So the more time you spend on seemingly insignificant decisions and choices, the less energy you have for more important tasks later on in the day.
The more your job involves some kind of creative thinking or problem solving, the more you will be affected by this energy drain.
As an example, a study done by Danziger et al. in 2010 looked at how judges made decisions in court. They found that when a judge suffered from decision fatigue, he was significantly more likely to rely less on facts and make a hasty decision. On the other hand, a judge who had more mental resources to spare, was much more likely to consider all the facts and often came to a better conclusion in similar cases.
The great news is that you do not need more of anything to make your day more productive. Actually, the opposite is true – you need less. By making actions like dressing up and eating breakfast more or less automatic, you will not only have more time to do better things, but you will actually make better use of it. Less, but better.
Banner image courtesy of Hilary Greenbaum.