Catalyst: What are you making time for?

In today's catalyst, Senior Coach Jo Dale has flagged up this intriguing article from Leo Babutua of Zen Habits. In it, Leo shares his rigorous principles for ensuring his focus stays strictly on the things that matters to him. He doesn't waste a second on making extraneous decisions - right down to eating the same thing every day:

"I reserve [eating out and cooking gourmet meals] for special days, and the rest of the time I just eat the same exact meals almost every day. The specific meals change over time, but I’ll generally eat the same meal for lunch and dinner for about 6 months or longer."

Extreme? Maybe, especially if you believe that food is one of life's great pleasures. But cutting down the number of decisions we have to make in a day is a great way of saving time and energy. It brings to mind Barack Obama's Vanity Fair interview, when he described his work "uniform":

"You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits," [Obama] said. "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."

In both these examples, we see radical versions of strategies we probably all use to an extent. Maybe you have a go-to interview outfit, a day-to-day capsule wardrobe, or you grab the same takeaway sandwich every Friday? Perhaps it's at certain crucial times - the first few months in a new post, for example, or when a big deadline's looming - that you intentionally laser in on only what's highest priority?  Like many of the senior leaders we work with, you're saving your brain power for more important things.

So what are they?

If we choose not to focus on the choices right in front of us, at this moment, is it because we're conjuring up grand concepts? Big visions and great ideas? Or are we saving brain power for worries, judgments, and all the other "noise" that distracts us from our main goals?

Dig deeper

What reaction does Leo Babutua's article provoke in you? What could you gain, in business, from applying his principles of simplifying and making fewer decisions every day? 

Got you thinking?

That was Jo's intention when sharing this article. If time is on your mind right now because you've got a new role or project coming up, then we have a package designed specifically to maximise those crucial first months. Take a look at First 100 Days. An in-depth programme for leaders stepping into a new phase, who are savvy enough to know that how you start a role sets the tone for the impact you make long term. Ready to get off on the right foot? Click here to find out more.

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