In a recent episode of Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," Seinfeld hilariously grills none other than President Obama on topics that would never be touched by a professional reporter.
Seinfeld's probes range from whether the apples in the Oval Office table bowl are washed (this one went unanswered) to whether Obama adjusts the thermostat himself when the White House is too warm or too cold (nope; "I call a guy").
But the exchange that was most revealing concerned underwear.
Seinfeld: "If I slid open your underwear drawer, one brand, or a number of brands?"
Obama: "You've gotta go with one brand. This is a critical concept"--to which Seinfeld implies that he strongly concurs.
So why do these two wildly productive individuals (even today, Seinfeld's routine, so to speak, includes a touring standup schedule as well as a lot less laurel-resting than you'd expect; Obama-you may have heard-has quite a few things on his plate as well) think this to not only be the right approach, but a "critical concept"?
Because it is a critical concept of personal productivity. Trivial decisions benefit from being made once, and then left alone. Powerful leaders rarely spend much time, for example, agonizing over the menu choices at a business lunch. The food isn't the point, and going with a tried and true standby saves time. It's why getting what needs to be done every day should be consigned to habit, rather than re-decided every day.
This isn't a matter of trying to turn ourselves into drudges. Quite the opposite. It's a technique for liberating the rest of your day (and all of your mind) to make the decision that matter and do the creative work that can make all the difference.