Every morning before we head to work, we get out of bed, brush our teeth, fix our hair (sometimes…), put our face on (sometimes…), then sit in front of our closest contemplating our #OOTD.
The average woman will contemplate this decision 16 minutes every weekday – spending about a year of her life, or 287 days to be exact, rifling through her wardrobe. Even though we’ll only end up putting 20% of our clothes to use, for many, it’s one of the longest and hardest decisions we’ll make all day.
Within those 16 minutes, we are expending willpower. Creative willpower. In Roy F. Baumiesters book, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, he explains that willpower, like a muscle, becomes fatigued from overuse.
“Your ability to make the right investment or hiring decision may be reduced simply because you expended some of your willpower earlier when you held your tongue in response to someone’s offensive remark or when you exerted yourself to get to the meeting on time.”
The daunting decision of what outfit to wear is exhausting willpower that can be utilized elsewhere. Once you remove the decision of outfit picking from your daily routine, you free up more time and and mental energy to focus on the success of your work.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Steve Jobs, President Obama, Mark Zuckerburg, and even Albert Einstein eliminated the process of outfit picking from their daily routines. They all adopted the idea of a work uniform. Steve Jobs in his black turtle necks, blue jeans, and white New Balances; and you may have noticed Obama seems to only have two colors in his wardrobe.
“You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits,” the president told Vanity Fair in 2012. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
Although we may not be in charge of running a free country, we do have a lot of important decisions to make in a day. The 16 minutes we expend creating an outfit can be used for something a little more productive, more beneficial, and more creative.