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For Obama, Jobs, and Zuckerberg, Boring Is Productive

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the your-prism-for-the-autism-spectrum dept.

Businesses 398

Hugh Pickens writes "Robert C. Pozen writes in the Harvard Business Review that while researching a behind-the-scenes article of President Obama's daily life, Michael Lewis asked President Obama about his practice of routinizing the routine. 'I eat essentially the same thing for breakfast each morning: a bowl of cold cereal and a banana. For lunch, I eat a chicken salad sandwich with a diet soda. Each morning, I dress in one of a small number of suits, each of which goes with particular shirts and ties.' Why does President Obama subject himself to such boring routines? Because making too many decisions about mundane details is a waste of your mental energy, a limited resource. If you want to be able to have more mental resources throughout the day, you should identify the aspects of your life that you consider mundane — and then "routinize" those aspects as much as possible. Obama's practice is echoed by Steve Jobs who decided to wear the same outfit every day, so that he didn't have to think about it and the recent disclosure that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is proud that he wears the same outfit every day adding that he owns 'maybe about 20' of the gray, scoop neck shirts he's become famous for. 'The point is that you should decide what you don't care about and that you should learn how to run those parts of your life on autopilot,' writes Pozen. 'Instead of wasting your mental energy on things that you consider unimportant, save it for those decisions, activities, and people that matter most to you.'"

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398 comments

it worries me (5, Insightful)

iamagloworm (816661) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548237)

it worries me how much mental energy they were putting into something as simple as getting dressed or what to have for breakfast. sounds like an anxiety disorder to me.

Re:it worries me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548265)

This is what I was thinking.
I have a whole closet full of clothes, and it takes me literally 1 second to decide what to wear.
Maybe it's different when you're president and everyone is reading into what kind of suit you're wearing.

What to have for breakfast? Whatever is in the kitchen.

Re:it worries me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548379)

Not really, as President he can't just throw on anything that might be in the closet. Imagine the uproar that would occur if he happened to throw on a dashiki.

Personally, I've been doing something like that for years. I only buy clothes that are green, blue or black. With a few exceptions for earth tone colors. It means that I don't walk out of the house ever looking like a slob, but that I don't have to spend any real time thinking about what to buy or what to wear.

It's one area where one can save a bit of time and energy for other things. And they do add up over time.

Re:it worries me (4, Informative)

Mister Transistor (259842) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548483)

Seems they have taken a clue from Albert Einstein, who supposedly owned 6 or 7 of the exact same brown suits for the same reason - so he wouldn't waste any mental energy with such useless minutiae such as what to wear that day.

Re:it worries me (1)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548579)

Seems they have taken a clue from Albert Einstein, who supposedly owned 6 or 7 of the exact same brown suits for the same reason - so he wouldn't waste any mental energy with such useless minutiae such as what to wear that day.

Einstein also didn't wear socks - because they took too much time to put on, and shoes already did the job well enough.

Re:it worries me (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548649)

This is actually false. He wore quite a wide range of clothes, typically picked out by his wife. When she died, he didn't care as much and while he owned more clothes, he tended to wear pretty drab similar looking stuff. This myth was perpatrated by the movie The Fly, and I used to believe it until someone showed me some pictures of him in different clothing, including a hoodie.

Re:it worries me (3, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548735)

Seems they have taken a clue from Albert Einstein, who supposedly owned 6 or 7 of the exact same brown suits for the same reason - so he wouldn't waste any mental energy with such useless minutiae such as what to wear that day.

If only they had invented GarAnimals [wikipedia.org] earlier....would have made it easier for poor Albert to match his clothes in the morning...and still have some variety.

Re:it worries me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548485)

Ok, I guess the reason I can decide what to wear is the same.
My clothes are almost all blue or green, with some black and brown in there.

Re:it worries me (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548389)

I use a wardrobe (as in the Lion, the Witch, etc) with different clothes separated on different shelves, folded and stacked. I grab a shirt and pants from the top of their respective stacks. If I don't like the combination, I put the shirt back and take the next one. The laundry randomizes which clothes are in which order each week, keeping pairings fresh. Every few weeks, if I have a pile of something (IE: t-shirts) that I never get to the bottom of, I'll flip the whole stack upside down.

Re:it worries me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548457)

Put laundried/new items to bottom of pile.

Re:it worries me (4, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548611)

I use a wardrobe (as in the Lion, the Witch, etc)

Do you know a lot of people who don't know what a wardrobe is, and find yourself having to explain it to them in terms of classic literature?

Re:it worries me (4, Informative)

cslax (1215816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548687)

He was making the distinction between the furniture and referring to the contents of said furniture.

Re:it worries me (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548541)

This is what I was thinking. I have a whole closet full of clothes, and it takes me literally 1 second to decide what to wear. Maybe it's different when you're president and everyone is reading into what kind of suit you're wearing.

What to have for breakfast? Whatever is in the kitchen.

I always take the leftmost shirt without thinking about it. Someone once asked me if I wear the same shirt for several days in a row - and realised I that my obsessive habit of always taking the shirt on the left clashed with my wife's obsessive need to sort shirts by colour, with identical shirts together!

I Too, Suffer Under the Weight of My Own Genius (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548385)

it worries me how much mental energy they were putting into something as simple as getting dressed or what to have for breakfast. sounds like an anxiety disorder to me.

You'd be surprised. I mean, let's take myself for example. Even starting to think about shaving sets my mind abuzz with contours and shear strength equations dealing with each follicle of hair. Before applying the lather, it's a pain to model my face in a three dimensional image so as to optimize the amount of face covered per stroke versus a random walk pattern across the ... and I've already spent too much time on it so I don't shave.

Then there's the possibility of showering. However, to achieve the optimal temperature at which my body enjoys a shower requires me to measure the temperature of the water leaving the shower head. But wait, as my body enters this spray, the temperature adjusts based on the laws of cooling since my body is a colder object than the water or air inside the shower ... and I've already spent too much time on showering so I don't shower.

Then there's selecting an adequate living arrangement. First I start out walking about the city inspecting each apartment and judging the socioeconomic surroundings with an expected value weighted against my monthly payment combined with the ability and freedom to do whatever I want when I want. But that's a nebulous construct that requires set theory and a rigorous modeling of how I'll spend the coming year since the contract length is variable based on property ... and I've already spent too much time on selecting a suitable place to live so here I sit in my mom's basement.

Don't even get me started on employment or fornication. I need to conserve that brain power to be the indomitable force of genius that I am.

Re:I Too, Suffer Under the Weight of My Own Genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548439)

....awesome. Should be modded more amusing.

Re:I Too, Suffer Under the Weight of My Own Genius (3, Funny)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548505)

Hmmm...Funny or Insightful? Funny or... oh, shit. I posted. Never mind.

Damned choices!

Re:I Too, Suffer Under the Weight of My Own Genius (2)

dkf (304284) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548663)

Funny or Insightful?

Informative!

Re:I Too, Suffer Under the Weight of My Own Genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548537)

How are you doing Sheldon? Still rolling those dice for the trivial decisions that are required?

Re:I Too, Suffer Under the Weight of My Own Genius (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548561)

I sit in my mom's basement

After skimming through your post, I read that as "I shit in my mom's basement" - which, if you think about it, actually fits in with the rest.

My partner's teenage son refuses to shit in public restrooms and I can see him doing something like that; I suppose it's fortunate that his mother and I don't have a basement! :p

Re:it worries me (5, Insightful)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548401)

The amount of time some people can spend on trivial stuff like that is mindblowing people people like us. The reason we can't see the importance here is probably because we've already optimized these simple processes without even thinking about it. The weather is the most important variable factor in my clothing routine. I avoid eating the same thing two days in a row, but it follows a simple sandwich/salad + fruit/snack formula.

On the other hand, I did some field maintenance in a modelling agency (not as glamourous as you might think - an office of 15 women all with sync'd up periods, BAAAD place to be one week of the month) and it took me about as long to purchase, eat and digest my lunch as it did for a small group of these people to decide what they all wanted. It wasn't like they were trying to decide to go somewhere as a group, they all went off individually to get food from different places. I eavesdropped on their conversation while progress bars were doing their thing, they seemed to consider lunch to be some kind of personal expression that had to be absolutely perfect or face ridicule from everyone in the street for the rest of their lives. I could feel my inner feminine side trying to scream "It's just lunch! Get over it!" at them. I can't imagine what the damage to their productivity was. Maybe if they spent more time concentrating on work and less time mulling over the minutae of office life they wouldn't have had to work late every night.

Re:it worries me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548517)

"Maybe if they spent more time concentrating on work and less time mulling over the minutae of office life they wouldn't have had to work late every night."

Have you considered the possibility that lunch was the only time during their entire working day they actually were allowed to think about and decide something?

Most office jobs are about as mentally demanding as stacking shelves...

Re:it worries me (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548629)

This place is far removed from the stereotypical oaf-ice job - a modelling agency, photo/video production house and makeup studio rolled into one. I'd have thought keeping lunch simple would have been a nice weight off their minds.

Re:it worries me (1, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548469)

Besides...isn't that what your woman is for? before any ladies start throwing shit at me the average guy knows we have no taste especially when it comes to clothes and since most women want their men not to look...well like bachelor slobs, are happy to do that task. The same thing at least to me when it comes to food, my GF likes to cook and likes variety, and she knows i can burn water and my idea of breakfast is pizza from the night before so she decides what we are gonna have and i'm happy to go along with it.

So if you have a partner why not actually...well...have a partnership on such things? She gets to be in charge of things she does better than me, food and clothes and what the place looks like as far as decoration, i get to be in charge of things she doesn't care about like tech, and we agree to disagree when it comes to things like music. Works great for us and I don't have to worry about wasting time with things i don't care about and she doesn't have to go "You aren't seriously going out looking like THAT are you?" so its a win/win in my book.

Re:it worries me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548641)

Yeah guys don't know how to dress bla bla bla. I agree with that.
But not being able to cook is just stupid. It's like not being able to swim, or ride a bike.
If you have a cookout, does your wife do the grilling too?

Maybe my family was abnormal, but both my parents enjoy cooking.

Re:it worries me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548673)

Awww, she likes Coldplay eh? Bad luck.

Apart from the fact that I like to cook, that's how I am. Clothes? What's on top of the pile? So she buys clothes for me now.

Re:it worries me (-1, Flamebait)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548669)

Obama needs all his mental energy to just speak without a teleprompter, which clearly shows his mental capacity. It's no wonder he has trouble deciding anything else.

Is this really that uncommon? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548243)

Don't most people eat the same thing (or about the same thing) for breakfast and lunch every day? I have for years and years, but I guess I didn't realize it was noteworthy to do so.

Re:Is this really that uncommon? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548297)

Extroverts are stimulated by new things; as often as possible. Quite often they tend not to consider that introverts don't, and instead find the constant novelty draining.

Re:Is this really that uncommon? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548523)

I don't, for lunch anyway... but that's because I usually buy lunch at work so it's either a hot dish or some kind of sandwich or some kind of salad with variation within each of those three. Even if I make lunch packs myself I usually rotate what's on them as I empty packages. Can't really comment on breakfast since I usually skip it.

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548255)

yeah because, thinking "what should I wear today" is a really complicated endeavor, so much that it affects the rest of my day. *sigh*

Re:wow (4, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548289)

Obligitory Dilbert [dilbert.com]

Re:wow (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548589)

Ya know that is something I have NEVER understood...what is it with women and shoes? my GF has a closet full of the things but if it covers my feet and doesn't have holes? i'm a happy camper. I'll never forget soon after we got together we were gonna spend a nice weekend afternoon hitting the little flea markets, she likes looking for decorations and i like finding cool tech junk like flight sticks cheap, when she practically came unglued when i came out of my apt because my shoes had velcro tops. I just thought they were comfortable and didn't care but she was like "My BF is NOT wearing grandpa shoes!" and the next thing i know we are at the shoe store for a good hour while she found me a pair of "weekend shoes" as she called them...okay.

I'll just never understand why anyone would care about what covers their feet as long as they are comfortable. A couple of my guy friends were like "Yo bro, you should have said you were keepin them velcros!" and I was like...why? Why would I give a rat's ass one way or another what kind of fucking shoe is on my feet if they are comfortable? If she is trying to drag me to see some Notebook style chick flick THAT is when to say "Oh HELL no!" but footwear? Who gives a crap?

Re:wow (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548821)

Hairyfeet said:

I'll just never understand why anyone would care about what covers their feet as long as they are comfortable.

Perhaps your feet have different requirements to others?

You are constantly followed by journalists? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548373)

I assume that you, too, are constantly followed by journalists and photographers, appear in television essentially daily, constantly meet important people from other cultures, etc...?

What, none of that applies to you? Perhaps that might affect the fact that appearance might be more important factor for him than it is for you?

Error in the summary (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548263)

English isn't my first language (so correct me if I'm wrong) but from TFA

The president first touted the necessity of daily exercise — a habit that I endorse wholeheartedly. But what he said next was even more interesting: "You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits. 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."

I share President Obama's practice of "routinizing the routine." I eat essentially the same thing for breakfast each morning: a bowl of cold cereal and a banana. For lunch, I eat a chicken salad sandwich with a diet soda. Each morning, I dress in one of a small number of suits, each of which goes with particular shirts and ties.

I don't think that the quoted part means that Obama always eats that breakfast, etc. as the summary seems to imply.

Misquote (5, Informative)

MisterPuddles (1090583) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548269)

If I'm reading the article correctly, the President did not say "'I eat essentially the same thing for breakfast each morning: a bowl of cold cereal and a banana. For lunch, I eat a chicken salad sandwich with a diet soda. Each morning, I dress in one of a small number of suits, each of which goes with particular shirts and ties". The author said that about himself.

Re:Misquote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548331)

Yeap. What the hell is going on with /.?

Re:Misquote (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548573)

Business as usual?

Re:Misquote (1)

happy_place (632005) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548671)

It's clearly a conspiracy. Someone's trying to slander the president by making him look like a monkey that eats bananas. Don't fall for it!

Re:Misquote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548787)

You know, this is Slashdot. Incorrect summaries are the norm. If anything, incorrect summaries should be regarded as a puzzle to make us think. Although, in reality, it's probably just shock headlines and lazy reading on the editors.

Cartoon characters dress the same all the time. So why not real life people? Sometimes simplicity is the best.

is that why he uses the same boring cliches? (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548277)

I'm voting for the man (again) but he's like a deer in the headlights without his teleprompter.

Re:is that why he uses the same boring cliches? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548313)

This has been the case for every president since the teleprompter was invented.

Re:is that why he uses the same boring cliches? (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548701)

This has been the case for every president since the teleprompter was invented.

The first time I ever saw those glass-panel teleprompters they were surrounding Saint Reagan. One on each side, so he could turn and spontaneously address the audience.

The way some people carry on, you'd think that teleprompters had had to be specially invented just for Obama.

Re:is that why he uses the same boring cliches? (1, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548833)

The way some people carry on, you'd think that teleprompters had had to be specially invented just for Obama.

I thought they were invented by Steve Jobs.

For me it is about lazyness (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548283)

I don't put forth any effort in to dressing my self. For work I have a few pairs of black and grey pants and some dress shirts that go with either color pant. I just grab one of each and put them on. For weekend cloths all my t shirts go with my jeans so I just grab what ever is on top in the drawer. For me it is pure laziness, while it seems like my wife frets over every thign she wears.

Re:For me it is about lazyness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548307)

Lazy or just naturally efficient?

Are you employed? In IT? If so, I assure you that you are NOT lazy.

This is here why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548285)

Why is this on slashdot? Trying to obfuscate Obama getting trounced in debate? Perhaps he eats the same thing for breakfast because he's got no imagination.

Re:This is here why? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548397)

You must be new here. The debate happened today. The earliest that Slashdot could get to obfuscating it would be next Sunday.

This shouldn't need pointing out (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548303)

Any virtue can be taken to a fault. Asimov grew his sideburns because he realized he could save much more time just shaving his chin. Taking it to an extreme, we'll have:

I bathe every other day because I don't smell that bad.

I pee in my empty soda bottle so I don't have go get up from my chair during a raid.

I eat other people's lunches out of the fridge at work because it saves time on making my own.

With any of this stuff, if you can live your life without adverse impact it's a quirk or an idiosyncracy. If it has an adverse affect on yourself or those around you, we're talking a disorder.

Re:This shouldn't need pointing out (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548615)

Asimov's sideburns weren't a fault. As somebody described him in the introduction to The Hugo Winners:
"The person qualifying as editor for such an anthology would naturally have to be someone who had not himself received a Hugo*, so that he could approach the job with the proper detachment. At the same time, he would have to be a person of note, sane and rational, fearless and intrepid, witty and forceful, and, above all, devilishly handsome."
* At the time he wrote it, Asimov had not actually won a Hugo.

So there you have it: Sideburns = devilishly handsome. Of course, some might dispute my source as being somewhat biased in his evaluation.

Been doing this for a while (1)

mikael_j (106439) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548309)

I realized somewhere along the line that there were a lot of little everyday decisions that really didn't matter to me. Choosing what to have for lunch every day is a great example of one of these things. Lunch on a weekday is still "just lunch" to me, I have no wish to go out and eat some extravagant delicious meal, I just want to eat something relatively tasty and get back to work so over time I've resorted to having a fairly small number of "standard" lunches that I prepare for myself. This way I know I'm getting something I like and I don't have to put time and effort into picking what I'm going to eat every day.

Of course, you can take this too far and I always make sure to get a little more inventive with food, clothes and other routine things on weekends to make sure I don't get stuck in a rut.

But overall I think it's a good approach to those little boring and inefficient things in life. I used to never understand how some people could spend 20-30 minutes in the morning just picking out what to wear, then it dawned on me that they actually had no idea at all what to wear until they got out of the shower and it was time to get dressed, so at this point they'd actually start out trying to pick the "right" underwear, and socks, and pants, and shirt. Finally when they were done they'd take a few minutes to try to figure out what they should have for breakfast...

Just like Sheldon (4, Insightful)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548315)

There was an episode on The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon started using dice rolls to make mundane decisions, thereby freeing up his mind to work on more complex problems.

I never really thought about it, but I gravitate towards that kind of behavior. I too tend to eat the same things for breakfast and lunch, and have a limited set of wardrobe choices.

IIRC there was a recent study that indicated that multitasking was not such a good idea. It tends to make one mediocre at all tasks rather than making one good at any single task. This seems to tie in to the thesis of this article.

Weird (2)

Orp (6583) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548339)

I had no idea getting dressed was so mentally taxing to some people.

The president, I can understand (he's always in the public eye) but the others? Whatever, dudes, you have/had more money than God, if you want to wear the same clothes every day, knock yourself out, but don't give me this bullshit about expending energy on deciding what socks to put on in the morning.

Re:Weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548465)

That's because you don't have to worry about the color of your tie and if your shoes are scuffed exactly the right amount. There are companies that do research to see how many votes you lose if your shoes are too shiny.

Re:Weird (2)

DogDude (805747) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548657)

It's not bullshit. Some people, myself included, have completely all-encompassing careers that demand a tremendous amount of time. Sure, I waste some time (like posting here), but it's *my* time, and it's precious to me. I don't waste time on things like clothes, food, transportation, housing, etc. All of that shit needs to be simple, and out of my way so I can focus on what I want to focus on.

Set washer to SPIN MODE (-1, Troll)

CajunArson (465943) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548345)

Don't worry, if this exact same story were written about Romney all we'd hear about is how uncreative, unfeeling, and un-individualistic Romney is, and how he wants to enslave all of us to his evil conformity. He'd be compared (in a condescending and insulting way) to some back-woods evangelical that wears the same clothes all the time instead of Saint Jobs, even though both people act the same way.

When Obama does it though, it's yet another sign of his greatness and how he is literally better than all of us and deserves our worship now that we've abandoned those irrational "religions" of the past.

Thank Obama that Slashdot only focuses on the vital issues of our day like how Obama is superior because of how he dresses and not on those stupid puff-pieces that Faux News is pushing about what was said at some so-called "debate" last night. Obviously Obama won in a landslide because Romney is a stupid Christian, so we won't go into a rational discussion about what they actually said because only right-wing science hating nazis question the Word of Obama..

Re:Set washer to SPIN MODE (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548443)

I wouldn't say it was an Obama/Jobs/Zucker thing, it's more likely the audience that dictates the spin. Try selling this story in a positive light to Grazia, Vogue or... that other fashion one, see what kind of reaction you get there.

Re:Set washer to SPIN MODE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548539)

How could you suspect that the illustrious Slashdot gods would attempt such petty and obvious tactics to make their candidate appear more intelligent? You sir are a bitter, jaded, and racist person who is just jealous of all that Obama has achieved.

Re:Set washer to SPIN MODE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548795)

"Don't worry, if this exact same story were written about Romney all we'd hear about is how uncreative, unfeeling, and un-individualistic Romney is..."

His man-servant, personal shopper, fashion counselor and wardrobe assistant make these decisions for him.

That's why I'm I skip the small talk (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548347)

I've routinized phone calls from friends. I just give bland answers while I'm also on the computer, until they go away. That way they don't distract me from what I really love, which is my computer and phone, for work and play. I also skip birthday gifts and cards, and even routine courtesies like saying please and thank-you -- you know, manners. By routinizing them, I can check my eight favorite websites 10 times a day.

Re:That's why I'm I skip the small talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548497)

get an rss feed. You can ignore the websites too...

Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park (5, Interesting)

WankersRevenge (452399) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548419)

If you haven't read Jurassic Park, check it out. I picked up recently and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. The article made me think of this passage
----
"But don't you find it boring to wear only two colors?"

"Not at all. I find it liberating. I believe my life has value, and I don't want to waste it thinking about clothing," Malcolm said. "I don't want to think about what I will wear in the morning. Truly, can you imagine anything more boring than fashion? Professional sports, perhaps. Grown men swatting little balls, while the rest of the world pays money to applaud. But, on the whole, I find fashion even more tedious than sports

Re:Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548559)

yeah having a wardrobe that all works together (bonus points if you have somebody with Color Sense set things up for you) prevents looking more ridiculous than you have to.

part of the trick of not panicking is to "predecide" things as much as possible.

Re:Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548681)

This, a thousand times this.

I first read the book in the wake of the movie and being the young lad that I was, the endless dialog sections bored me to tears. That particular bit may have left an impression though, because almost twenty years later, it still neatly summarizes the attitude towards clothing I've held most of my adult life.

Re:Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park (5, Interesting)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548805)

While many of the things I've done over my life resulted in disapproval or derision from my grandmother, everything paled in comparison when I made the mistake of giving her an honest opinion of why I didn't pay much attention to sports. Specifically, the Chicago White Sox and Bears. Her being a lifelong, rabid fan of both.

All she asked was "Why didn't you watch the game last night?" and I answered honestly.

"Because I have better things to do. Honestly grandma, it is nothing more than grown men playing a children's game of advanced catch. Its not like they're curing cancer or doing anything useful with their lives. What's the point?"

It was like a small thermonuclear device was set off in the living room. Two different neighbors came over to survey the wreckage -- one from a couple houses down. Someone had even called the police. One said that after 50 years of living next door, she couldn't remember anything like it. She wanted to know if grandma finally snapped and killed grandpa.

Nothing so trivial. I had blasphemed not only the beloved Sox, but called into question the very game of baseball itself.

It was three months before she'd speak to me again. Hell, when my cousin came out of the closet not only as a lesbian but also a registered Democrat, she only got two months of the silent treatment.

At least I didn't tell her I was a Cubs fan. I probably wouldn't be here today if I did that.

CT scan (4, Funny)

TheP4st (1164315) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548421)

If selecting what to wear and/or what to have for breakfeast impair you to the degree that it affects your actions for the remainder of the day then you probably seriously should consider a CT scan.

Diet soda? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548427)

I wouldn't drink soda everyday, not even diet. I would think the president of all people would have a nutritionist helping him plan out healthy meals.

Re:Diet soda? (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548567)

Personally, the idea of someone in charge of a country having to need a nutritionist follow him around and tell him what to eat just harks back to the Victorian eras where the Queen was told what was wrong with her because she had a pile of lackey doctors following her about.

I don't think I'd trust someone who needed a nutritionist to eat healthily. It suggests incompetence, ignorance, and a lack of personal will.

And, personally, stick me in charge of a country and I'd not change my diet if the entire cabinet was asking me too.

Seriously, this is like saying that Winston Churchill shouldn't have smoked cigars. I can just imagine what his response would have been to that.

Get a president with some balls, who lives his life how he pleases (notice: but NOT necessarily his job) and who doesn't surround themselves with sycophants.

P.S. I drink 2+ litres of Coke a day. It's yet to have a significant health effect after nearly 15 years and, if it does, I have only myself to blame after doing it through choice, as an informed adult - not on the advice of a expensive and unnecessary nutritionist.

According to my research I risk tooth decay (but who doesn't?) and if I drink the Diet version, a leeching of calcium leading to a weakening of the bones. Compared to the effects of, say, a mouthful of sports "energy" drink, it's positively inert.

In other news... (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548447)

Sociopaths are obsessive-compulsive about what they eat and wear. Who would have figured?!

Obama double plus smart. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548473)

Its so obvious now, why didn't I see it before? Obama is just like Einstein and all of these other smart and wealthy people who wear the same clothes all the time. Obama is so smart. Now I'll vote for him for sure!

Other Examples (1)

tunabomber (259585) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548475)

Dean Kamen is also know for wearing the same outfit every day.

This also kinda reminds me of how Buckminster Fuller defended his sterile architecture by suggesting that its mass-produced homogeny would encourage people to differentiate themselves by what they do rather than where they live.

It's a vaguely communist-sounding notion that bland equality can make us more free. Perhaps this is why most public schools in the U.S. don't require uniforms.

Solution looking for a problem (4, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548521)

For guys like Obama, Jobs or Zuckerberg, they could easily afford a butler who would make those kinds of decisions for them, lay out their clothes for the day, prepare varied breakfasts and lunches, set out diary appointments etc. For normal guys there's always the wife, and mom for the basement dwelling types.

Obama seems to need (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548543)

a lot of propping-up.

Daily pizza in the basement (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548545)

I guess that's why nobody here washes or eats anything besides pizza.

So Obama is in the same catagory as (-1, Flamebait)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548599)

Jobs, and Zuckerberg? Like this article is trying to compare the Guinness's of this century? Am I missing something, because usually smart people like Jobs, and Zuckerberg use their brains to create magnificent things, what is Obama great creation? The deficit?

Re:So Obama is in the same catagory as (0)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548667)

Obama has done a great job continuing the Bush-Cheney agenda while fooling some into thinking he's some kind of "liberal progressive" (the U.S. meaning of the words, not the rest of the world's)

Not true for women (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548645)

My wife would like to point out that this is not true for women - my social mores they are bound to dress in different outfits each day.A woman that wears the same dress or blouse every day is seen as inferior. She would not be honored by society for her simplicity.

Unless she could bury you under 1000 megaton-range (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548727)

...warheads.

When you're the president of the United States, you get a bit of a pass on fashion. Basic, functional, professional is going to be enough when you know the launch codes.

Simplify. (2)

saltire sable (1197695) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548651)

People are always drawing their own conclusions about why I wear all black all the time, but this is the real reason... I just can't be bothered to match colours in the morning, and it narrows down my options greatly when buying new clothes. (Plus black fabric is a lot more forgiving with stains.)

Every non-metrosexual already knows this (4, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548685)

Every non-metrosexual already knows this. Here's how we dress when we go to work:

1) First socks and underwear we see in the drawer
2) Top pair of pants on the pile (or on the rack, but I wear jeans these days)
3) Warm? First non-threadbare shirt on the rack. Otherwise, first shirt with non-ratty collar, followed by first sweater in the pile.

Takes about a minute. Heck, the time it took me to write this is probably the longest sustained period I've ever thought about what to wear in the morning.

Richard Feynman (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548689)

In the book "Surely your joking, Mr Feynman", Richard Feynman talks about how he decided that he didn't want to waste time deciding on what to eat for desert - so he standardized on chocolate pudding.
 
Given that humans can't really multi-task there is a lot to be said for eliminating mundane decisions.

Autopilot: how a hacker navigates the un-exciting (1)

concealment (2447304) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548691)

I think extreme lack of variation in lifestyle is one of the hallmarks of a hacker; at least it was in the 1980s. You don't spend mental energy on things unrelated to what you actually want to do. Clothes are there to cover the body, and serve no other purpose. Food is there to nourish. You don't immerse yourself in these things because they're distracting.

This comes from a desire to be on autopilot in all the necessary but uninteresting aspects of life. Hackers never want to put thought into dressing, because that's irrelevant. It is functional and nothing more, so good enough is the best it gets. In the same way, a lot of successful people cut corners on aspects of personal appearance or home maintenance. It's just not part of the mission.

Absolutely (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548703)

All you nay-sayers in the comments should read about the phenomenon of decision fatigue [wikipedia.org].

I do the same thing as Obama and Steve Jobs -- I keep the "routine" parts of my life as routine and predictable as possible, so I don't have to waste any energy on them. I've been doing this instinctively for at least ten years, but I only found out about decision fatigue [nytimes.com] a few months ago. It makes perfect sense; I have to make decisions all day long to do my day job as a programmer, and the quality of those decisions definitely starts to decline after 4 or 6 hours of work effort. And any effort spent on pointless decisions (what color shirt to wear to work, what restaurant to go to at lunch) just saps your energy that you need for making actual decisions that matter. Somehow my subconscious discovered that it had to protect this limited resource and started pushing me to stop caring about all the little shit.

Preselect your options (1)

thereitis (2355426) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548717)

Instead of wearing the same thing every day, have a variety of preselected options to choose from. If you know each one looks good on you, who cares which option you pick? If that's considered too much mental energy to spend then I think you're fooling yourself about how much work that same amount of mental energy will accomplish elsewhere. Hell, you could wear option #1 on Monday, option#2 on Tuesday, etc. to reduce the effort even further. Reduce it to a lookup table. :) Same goes for food.

I call Bullsh!# (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548719)

Where's the research? I think those people do those things so that others will think they're like Albert Einstein. If you find it taxing to pick a shirt or a breakfast, you've got problems.

Not Jobs again sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548783)

Another bent out of shape attribution to Steve "He who invented everything and nothing" Jobs ... there was talk of Einstein doing this, and plenty of others during the last 100 years to pick through ... looks to me that Jobs is plucked out of the air whenever someone wants to waffle about innovation or trend-setting.

Entropy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41548791)

I feel like there's a limited number of arbitrary decisions I can make in a day. I wonder if I'm limited by an internal entropy generation rate. As an experiment, I've made a random number generator that flashes 4 random digits at an interval controlled by a dial ranging from 3/second to once every 30 seconds. I'm not sure if it helps, but it's a nifty trinket any way.

Another reason. (1)

DiscountBorg(TM) (1262102) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548807)

I do all of the above because I'm a cheap bastard and only have a few pairs of clothes.. and am too lazy to go down to the local Target. Simplify.

Confusing laziness... (-1, Troll)

DougInNavarre (2736877) | about a year and a half ago | (#41548827)

for genius. How is it genius to not have the mental capacity to take 30 seconds to figure out what to wear in the morning? With Steve Jobs I would say it was a smart cultist fanboy advertising gimmick that worked well. Same thing for Zuck in a more relaxed generational thing. Obama? If he can't figure out what to wear to make himself look presidential I'm not sure he's qualified to make decisions of national interest.
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