Presidential Productivity: Efficiency Tips From Barack Obama
President Barack Obama wears two types of suits -- gray and blue. This little tidbit is how he's able to get so much done. Since he has to make so many hard decisions every day, he tries to decrease the amount of decisions he has to make in other aspects of life, like if his tie matches his suit.
"You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits," Obama told Vanity Fair. "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."
Basically, he's trying to battle decision fatigue, which is what happens when your brain gets too tired from having to make so many decisions. This theory explains why judges tend to make harsher rulings toward the end of the day, and why grocery shopping can be so taxing.
"You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can't be going through the day distracted by trivia," Obama said.
Back in 2012, an article by Ryan Lizza for the New Yorker exposed some of Obama's workflow techniques. One of which is what they call "decision memos." These memos are delivered to the President's desk with three checkboxes attached to the bottom: agree, disagree, let's discuss. This method brings in a sense of simplicity into what is otherwise complicated and helps to speed up the process of feedback and overall decision-making.
Between being the POTUS and making time for his family, Obama uses being a natural night owl to his advantage. After his family has gone to bed, he works on major tasks as he finally has uninterrupted time to really delve into his work. Then, when he awakes at 7 AM, he's already got a handle on his day.
Lastly, Obama makes his health a priority.
"You have to exercise," he said. "Or at some point you'll just break down."
To avoid that breakdown, Obama exercises at the his personal gym for an hour each day, alternating between cardio and weights. He also participates in regular pickup basketball games.