As you may already know, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t sweat the daily choice of what to wear for a single second. Dude’s got a closet full of the same gray t-shirt. The “why” is simple: he knows it’s not worth spending precious creative energy on such an insignificant choice. He’s saving his brainpower for figuring out new ways to connect the world. So really, it makes sense that he’s become known for taking low-stakes choices like fashion out of the equation. Sure, his closet has sort of a creepy Stephen King vibe to it, but I am not one to question the wisdom of the guy who keeps inching ever closer to being the richest person in the universe.
Still with me? Super. This much is clear: your decision-making fuel is too precious to waste on choices that aren’t worthy ones. In the spirit of Zuck and Jobs, here are a few more trivial daily decisions you can simplify with relative ease:
What to eat. When I was in college, I ate at the same food truck for lunch every single day. It was dirt cheap and the food was insanely delicious. And just look at me now; I am clearly among the greatest success stories of our time. Really, though, this helped streamline my day by leaps and bounds. It got to the point where the lady who operated the food truck would have my meal prepared before I got there, saving me precious time. You don’t have to be as hardcore as I am–I’m a freak who could eat the same thing every day and not get sick of it–but the lesson is that it really does make a difference to have a quick go-to menu of easy-to-prepare meals.
What to do. Ever arrive at work in the morning, sit down at your desk, check your email, and then stare blankly at your computer screen for a full 15 minutes as you try to decide which of your pressing tasks you should try to tackle first? Yeah, it might be time to prioritize. Have a running list going of your high yield, high visibility tasks. Some people need to have this in writing somewhere; some can manage it inside their heads. Whatever you do, don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re sitting there spinning your wheels.
What to stress over. Oh, did you make the mistake of pulling up the news? Are you now convinced you have the Zika virus? Does everything suddenly itch? Cut it out. Let me give you some tough love here for a second; you can’t afford to have a precious sliver of your mental pie chart occupied by Crazy Shit. Breathe in; as you breathe out, visualize yourself breathing out all the worry. Now, continue your day.
How to decompress. The other night I found myself with a rare three-hour stretch of glorious free time, and I blew it. Oh no, what am I gonna do? Finish the book I started reading two months ago? Catch up on Downton Abbey? Pay my overdue blood debt to the elliptical machine gods? By the time I’d sorted that mess out, it was too damn late to do anything. Make it easy for yourself: go with the first thing you thought of. In other words, I should’ve finished my book. Hooray for hindsight!
Liberating yourself from these deceptively small choices will free you up to think about the ones that really matter. You’ll thank me when you invent the next Facebook.