How an Overcomplicated Wardrobe Could Be Killing Your Productivity — And What You Can Do About It

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How an Overcomplicated Wardrobe Could Be Killing Your Productivity — And What You Can Do About It

By Aman Advani, Ministry of Supply - 01/10/2018

Ever wonder why Steve Jobs always seems to be wearing the same sleek, black turtleneck? Why you never see Mark Zuckerberg mixing things up beyond a T-shirt and a pair of jeans? Why people like Barack Obama always wear the same suit every single day?

You probably assumed it’s because they have better things to worry about than their wardrobe, right?

You’re not wrong, of course. But there’s more to that statement than you might think. See, there’s this little thing called decision fatigue ― and it impacts everyone in the world, from the lowest-level store clerk to the most high-powered CEO.

“Your willpower is like a muscle,” explains productivity expert James Clear. “And similar to the muscles in your body, your willpower can get fatigued when you use it over and over again. Every time you make a decision, it’s like doing another rep in the gym. And similar to how your muscles get tired at the end of a workout, the strength of your willpower fades as you make more decisions.”

In other words, if you’re standing in front of your closet every morning agonizing about what to wear, that takes a toll on you. A decision as seemingly insignificant as deciding which pair of socks you want to pull out of the drawer can mean you won’t have the energy to do important work later on.

It might sound rather absurd, but the philosophy of decision fatigue — and of cutting down on unnecessary decisions ― is one that some of the most successful people in the world follow.

And it’s one that you can follow as well. Easily, in fact. Just stop worrying about what you’re going to wear. Simplify your wardrobe. Eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day.

Pare things down to such a degree that the only decisions you need to make are those that are of critical importance to your business. Pick out a few outfits that you absolutely want to keep, and toss the rest — donate them to a thrift store or give them to a friend. You might be surprised at how refreshing that feels.

“We waste so much time worrying about things that have no substantial consequences, and don’t even realize how easily we could change this,” writes Elite Daily’s John Haltiwanger. “The vast majority of us are guilty of obsessing over material things … we might all consider simplifying our lives a bit more by reducing the amount of time we spend thinking about the pointless aspects of our day.”

Of course, if you enjoy having an extensive, sharp-looking wardrobe, I won’t judge. You can still simplify, even with a ton of clothes. Just spend some time each weekend to plan all your outfits for the coming week.

That way, you can simplify without sacrificing fashion ― though honestly, I’d say that’s cheating a bit.

Aman Advani is Co-Founder and CEO of Ministry of Supply.