Boost Productivity by Removing Decisions

When you remove a decision from your life, you allow more time and energy for something else. We are often creatures of habit. This article explores areas we can embrace that trait and boost productivity. Dig in and find ways to save mental power for the decisions that matter most.

I talked in a previous article about removing things to boost creativity. This is more aimed at being productive. So while some material is covered twice, I think it is a different and deserving angle.

Attire

As mentioned in my last article, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, had an infamous outfit. New Balance sneakers, blue jeans, and a black mock turtleneck shirt. Every day it was the same thing. This was a purposeful choice, as it removed a decision from his life. As expected, the head of the most profitable technology company had a busy schedule. While you may not want to wear the same thing every day, there are systems you can put in place. The one that I find most helpful is to create a queue of outfits. As you wash items, put them at the rear. Then the next day, just pick whatever is at the front. It removes a decision, and ensures your outfits get even wear.

Food

Variety is the spice of life. Trying new foods is a great way to add flavor to your day. But again, it is another decision point. A predictable meal will often help you move through the day without expending as much energy. I imagine the easiest meal to “outsource” would be breakfast. By eating the same first meal of the day, you allow yourself to focus on your upcoming agenda. You might want to do the same for lunch, but office life might prevent this. But if you do head out to eat, keep the list of places small. This will of course allow your team to not spend countless minutes deciding where to eat. Plus, becoming a regular customer allows you to develop a relationship with the staff.

Music

I like to listen to music while I work. I prefer instrumental music, or at least lyrics that blend into the background. Radio stations may not be as popular as the once were. We now have digital music players that hold our entire collection of music. But what should we listen to? I suggest using a service such as Pandora or FocusAtWill that selects music for you. They often ask you a few up-front questions about your preferences. But they then take the decision about what to listen to next out of your hands.

Other Ideas

Another decision could be where you park. You can pick a spot at toward the back of the church’s lot. This ensures you always have it, and you get a little exercise. Speaking of exercise, variety in your training will serve you well. But that does not mean you need to think about it. Use a personal trainer, or similar service, to dictate what your routine should be for the day. A final piece of advice would be to use templates. Create a standard format for meeting notes, weekly reports, and external inquiry responses. There are few deliverables that are special enough to warrant creating something from scratch. Create and share templates so everyone can enjoy this time-saving technique.

Action Item

Find spaces in your life where you can remove decisions and boost productivity. Perhaps you can use one of the items I mentioned here. Or use several of them. Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, park your car, and listen to music without making a choice. That saves plenty of brainpower for the first few decisions of your work day. And, if you find others, please share them in the comments or on our social media channels.

Note: This article was inspired by several sources; the primary being my own life. Wearing sandals to work every day removes a decision. Plus it decreased the amount of laundry I had to do on weekends.

Photo courtesy of Zsuzsa N.K.

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