What do Simon Cowell’s trousers and minimalism have in common? No, it’s not the start of a terrible joke, it’s all about decision fatigue.
If there is something that everyone knows about Simon Cowell it’s that he wear high-waisted jeans and t-shirts, the same principle goes for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who is rarely seen out of his grey t-shirt and Steve Jobs was well-known for his black polo necks.
The theory goes that these people are protecting themselves from decision fatigue by wearing the same thing every day.
Successful people make hundreds of decisions a day, and making decisions is tiring so you reduce the number you have to make by doing some things over and over again.
Basically, it’s a fancy way of saying: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I’m no Mark Zuckerberg but I can relate to decision fatigue on a smaller level.
In 2013 I took on the biggest project of my life; renovating our home. This project was the big one, the one that sets us up for the next 20 years. I had no real experience of renovation but how hard could it be?
The short answer is very hard! Everything had to be sorted out, from the roof and the floors to the plumbing and electrics. There were a million jobs to consider and for each job there were 10 decisions to make.
While I’m not an indecisive person, the sheer volume of decisions was exhausting and it made me crave a much simpler way of life and reducing the amount of decisions I have to make each day was a great place to start.
Following the footsteps of successful people saw me minimise my wardrobe so that it’s mostly made up of white t-shirts and jeans (who doesn’t look good in this combo, right?!)
Getting ready in the morning may only require small decisions to be made, whether I wear a black or a white t-shirt isn’t going to change the world, but those small decisions add up over the day.
Now, instead of worrying about what to wear, I can use the time and energy spent on that decision elsewhere. I’m stealing back time in my day to do things I care about and have started to realise that these decisions were actually distractions from living the life I want to have.