Many years ago as a new salesman, I sat in the morning meeting attentively listening to the senior manager preparing us for a great day in the field. Today we were hitting doors in Oslo and it was my first time in this great city. On this particular day, the manager was preaching on a subject that perked my ears up and left an impression on me for life. It was one of those “lessons” that tickled my fancy and forced me to mull over ideas that had not previously frequented my brain.
During this particular meeting he talked about the scientist Albert Einstein and how his entire wardrobe was virtually identical. If you look back at Steve Jobs, he also wore pretty much the exact same clothes every time he was seen in public. As a young 22 year old I was keen to impress not only my counterparts and colleagues but also the opposite sex, so clothes and fashion were subjects I gave at least a little consideration and credence to. Here I was being told that great minds refused to spend mental energy on such trivial pursuit and instead saved their brain cells for more creative and productive thinking.
I liked the idea and loathed it simultaneously. I could certainly see the benefit of not wasting mental energy first thing in the morning on thinking that could be accomplished at less critical points in the week.. (a bubble began to emerge from the side of my head here..). So I chose to use a modified version of Einsteins’ “Decision Fatigue Avoidance Strategy” and simply make sure that every night I took out the clothes that I would wear the next day, made sure my shoes were polished and that my neckwear showed no signs of DNA affiliated with recent plates of food and shirts were ironed and socks matching!
The benefits of this new phase of organisation immediately showed themselves. I simply had more time to focus my mind on my crew of salespeople and the daily goals at hand. My appearance was always as it should be and the example I wanted to set in this area was each day successfully set.
In a work environment in which we’re expected to accomplish more and more each day, life is complicated enough and there are more than enough decisions that require our attention. So if we can remove a few from the work day, particularly from the morning section that sets a critical tone and pattern for the rest of the day, we should be more than happy to do so.
I’ve also found that, at 50, my memory is not quite as sharp as it used to be, so anything I can do to alleviate its burden is only going to be a positive!