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My day to day decisions are mostly automated - what to eat for breakfast? what clothes to wear any given day of the week? when to walk my dog and for how long? When to leave work and which back roads route to take to get back home? Lunch options? When to call the folks? Exercise schedule? All automated.

It gets a little repetitive and boring at times but I'm able to save so much time and energy this way to focus on what's important to me.

This reminds me of a quote from Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynmann!.

When you're young, you have all these things to worry about - should you go there, what about your mother. And you worry, and try to decide, but then something else comes up. It's much easier to just plain decide. Never mind - nothing is going to change your mind. I did that once when I was a student at MIT. I got sick and tired of having to decide what kind of dessert I was going to have at the restaurant, so I decided it would always be chocolate ice cream, and never worried about it again - I had the solution to that problem.

I've started to adopt a similar practice, although a somewhat more flexible one.

Whenever I'm at a restaurant, or ordering food for whatever reason, I will check the menu for an item that prominently contains mushrooms. If such an item exists (and it doesn't sound awful or ridiculously expensive), then that's what I'm getting. Decision made.

I started doing this mainly because I like mushrooms, enough that it felt like a really easy way to hand off decision making. It's also good in that, unlike the above, I don't get just the exact same thing every time (although mushroom burgers are starting to seem pretty same-y).

One thing I like to do, especially when I'm too tired or fuzzy to spend my limited energy on a large number of choices, is to wait and see what others are ordering and then pick from those options which you like best.

Also reduces the odds that you'll be looking at someone else's plate thinking "I wish I'd have ordered that instead" :)

What about trying new things, experimenting with life?

I think the idea is to remove decision making from things you personally don't care too much for to give you more time to focus on those decisions you do care a lot about.

Decide that you will always try something different from last time.

I always try to identify items I wouldn't be able to get elsewhere. For instance, if I want to order a beer I go for those that are in limited stock or from a local microbrewery. Spice of life and what not.

Um yes, go for it? :)

It would be very interesting to know how you've gone about automating those things.

How do you automate these?

For breakfast, I decided to stop trying different cereals and stick to oatmeal. Been a horse for about 2 years now. Same with lunch - find 5 reasonable choices in the office caf, repeat.

For work clothes, I have 5 decent combos which I repeat M-F. Doesn't bother me to repeat. Helps that I'm a dev so I'm always Feynman-ing myself away from unnecessary meetings and face time with business side clients.

For commute routes, I watched my phone's gps for a few weeks, tried different routes, seeded new ideas for routes and detours by brute forcing options into the backend and now I can consistently get home within 50 mins of leaving work which includes driving down a few floors of parking at 10-15 mph. I used to take anywhere between 45-90 minutes before. Plus my mpg is usually at a respectable 26-28 mpg for a midsize sedan.

Hope this helps.

Habit probably.

Nice change of focus - automating mental tasks, rather than just computer tasks.

When you don't have to spend mental energy on it, it's automated. I think that's the real benefit of Steve Jobs's standard outfit: don't have to choose, don't have to shop, just wear clothes and get on with the interesting stuff.

For the clothes it's as simple as creating a LIFO system of some sort... for example putting the clean laundry at the bottom of the drawer (underneath what's in there), or the end of the closet rack.. and pulling the day's clothes from the top of the stack or the other end of the closet rack.

And of course, there's the "buy a full set of interchangeable socks" approach. I did this a few years ago and it's great. Pairing socks seems trivial but saving 10-20 minutes a week, every week, for minimal investment (I needed socks anyway) is a huge win.

One caveat, though - if you do this, commit to it. Don't do what I did and keep one or two pairs of non-conforming socks just because I liked them. Because now they just recirculate through my sock drawer, gumming up my otherwise perfect system. :P

Sounds like you need a second container. I went for a full set of black socks and black underwear, and all anomalous socks/underwear that survived the QC process sit on the other side of a piece of cardboard I blu-tac'd to the draw. It works, and I find myself a fruitful object of comedy.

It can be more complicated than that. The next shirt in line is on the ironing board, not in the closet. I have to wear a tie today! I'm pulling a shirt from down the line. Can I also have a reminder of which pants go best with that shirt? I didn't do laundry yet so half my pants aren't available. Now I did do laundry, so half my pants have only one wear left in them and half have two.

Here's a <a href="http://i.imgur.com/VNJ08Ra.png">screenshot</a> of the thing I made in Flask to keep track. Orange needs to be washed next time I wear it, red needs to be washed now.

Maybe you're overcomplicating it? Pulling the next shirt in line is a suggestion, not a requirement. Maybe you want the second or third shirt in the queue. A small amount of common sense is required, but less than if you were looking at your entire wardrobe at once with no other information about it, and trying to make a decision.

I just wear the same thing thing each day, or close enough. Being married Middle Aged male Dev nobody cares as long as I don't smell and I'm reasonably neat. I certainly don't care, nobody to impress.

Having five sets of the same clothes certainly makes life easier. And when I finally do change my attire the office gets a laugh out of the fact I actually went into a clothes shop.

just wear one outfit. I measured 3 different shirts against same jeans, and shoes for six weeks, counted which got the most complements, and wear just that now.

I never thought about automate those things. That's a cool idea! I can use the yelp api for lunch, some rfid chips for my clothes,...


please share!

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