Advertising
Advertising

Why Most Highly Productive And Successful People Are Minimalists

Why Most Highly Productive And Successful People Are Minimalists

It’s really easy to get bogged down in pointless decision-making.

Nowadays, we’re faced with a barrage of pointless decisions merely by turning on our computers. They cause us stress and they only serve to waste our time.

Have you ever been late to meet someone because you were stressing at home about things that, on the surface, are actually pretty superficial? Or ever stopped working on an important project because you were distracted by something that wasn’t worth your time?

Well, there are some pretty successful people out there who serve as an example for the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalism Reduces Decision Fatigue

As Charles Chu of Marketmeditations.com puts it, “The Zuckerbergs, Bransons, hedge fund managers of the world are wearing the same few things, eating the same few things and trying to work in the same few places.”[1]

Advertising

Look at old videos of Steve Jobs and he was always wearing the same black turtleneck. Minimalism seems to be a trait of many tech leaders. Famous singers and artists have the time to look flash, CEO’s of massive companies often don’t.

It’s not simply a matter of not having time, though; a minimalist lifestyle allows more time to be spent on the important decisions. Want some proof? Have a look at Mark Zuckerberg’s wardrobe, posted on his Facebook page:

    Facebook/ Mark Zuckerberg

    Slightly crazy, yes, but effective nonetheless.

    Zuckerberg has actually elaborated on his gray t-shirt wearing, which on the surface might simply come across as an unhealthy proclivity for mundane colors. There’s more to it, though. In a 2014 interview[2] Zuckerberg said,

    “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.

    Advertising

    I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.”

    As Chu emphasizes, we should be saving energy on choices about material things and using that energy to do great work instead.

    Caring About Less Will Give You More

    It may sound counterintuitive but again it comes down to how much energy you’re wasting on things that aren’t important.

    Mark Manson wrote a bestseller on this very subject, called, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

    “The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.”

    Advertising

    Manson writes in an acerbic, and frankly profane, style. But hey, recent research has shown that there is a correlation between profanity and honesty[3] so we’ll take him at his word!

    An excerpt from his book, available on his website[4], contains the following advice:

    “[When] we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that’s when life fucks us.”

    As Manson makes sure to emphasize, it’s the “fucks not given” that make the real difference. Again it comes down to taking a minimalistic approach that will save us from caring too much about things that simply aren’t worth our time and energy.

    Caring about things less makes failure a less terrifying prospect, rejection less painful and unpleasant necessities more pleasant.

    Advertising

    This doesn’t mean that one should simply not care about anything, though. Manson isn’t preaching indifference or nihilism. As he puts it, “not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.”

    So don’t care so much what people think, don’t stress about things that simply aren’t important, but are just a huge waste of time. Only good things will come of it.

    Featured photo credit: Flickr/ Alessio Jacona via flickr.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Christopher Young

    Freelance Blogger, Writer and Journalist

    To Be More Productive, Never Do This To Start Your Morning If You Play Any Musical Instruments, Your Brain Is Very Different From Others’ Workout Your Brain By Learning A New Word Every Day, You Will Get Smarter Why Most Highly Productive And Successful People Are Minimalists This Amazing Animated Film Reminds Us To Stop Wanting To Have Everything In Control, But Be Present

    Trending in Productivity

    1 How to Stop Being Passive and Start Getting What You Want 2 How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement 3 5 Less-Known Reasons Why Less is More 4 10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance 5 How to Take Good Notes at Work: 6 Effective Ways

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

    How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

    What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

    When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

    In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

    While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

    As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

    Advertising

      Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

      Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

      The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

      But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

      However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

      This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

      Advertising

      Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

      We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

      Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

      Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

      The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

      When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

      When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

      How to Make Decision Effectively

      Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

      Advertising

      1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

      You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

      Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

      Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

      2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

      You don’t have to choose all the time.

      Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

      Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

      Advertising

      3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

      You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

      The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

      Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

      Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

      So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

      More Tips About Decision Making

      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next