Many of today’s top executives are doing something odd in the morning. They are getting dressed in the same clothes every single day. I don’t mean they are wearing literally the same thing, without washing. I mean that they own 5 identical outfits and that’s what they wear every day. They will wear the same charcoal suit with the same color shirt and same color tie every day. They wear the same style socks and the same shoes. Same belt, same watch, all the way down the line. What they wear is just the start.
They have a highly structured morning routine that contains as much similarity from day to day as possible. That routine is designed to eliminate any choices they have to make each day. They eat the same thing, get up at the same time, do the same things in the same order, and yes, wear the same clothes every single day.
Why are today’s highest level performers standardizing as much of their morning as possible?
It’s been shown in studies repeatedly that the human brain has a harder time with each successive decision it has to make in a given day.
Basically you start the day with the ability to make a limited number of decisions well. Once you pass that number, your ability to make good, well thought out choices decreases with every decision. This is why at the end of many days you can’t even decide what you want for dinner let alone decide on anything of consequence. This phenomenon is known as decision fatigue.
The odd thing is that our brains don’t really distinguish between big decisions and small ones.
To our brains, deciding what to eat for breakfast is a decision. Deciding what to wear is a decision. Deciding what route to take to work is a decision. If those things aren’t standardized, by the time we get to work or school, we’ve already made too many withdrawals from our decision bank to be able to successfully make it through our day.
Decisions and Disc Golf
So what the heck does this have to do with disc golf? A lot. Disc golf is 18 holes of decision making. If you are playing in a tournament, it’s often 36 holes. Every shot requires you to decide on a disc, decide on a line, decide on a stance, and decide on many other variables that come into play.
I often look back at the mistakes in my rounds and can point at bad decision making as the culprit. I chose a shot I shouldn’t have thrown. I threw a disc I had no business throwing. It’s these bad decisions that often cost us the match.
On top of that, we then beat ourselves up because we realize we made bad choices. We know that we “knew better” but did the dumb things anyway. What we didn’t realize was that we made those bad decisions because we used up all of our ability to make good choices before we ever started playing. We are playing our rounds in the midst of a serious case of decision fatigue.
That leaves us with the obvious question of how to keep this from happening. It turns out that there is quite a bit you can do to avoid decision fatigue on the course. Here are 10 tips that will help make sure you hit the course with your brain’s decision bank as full as possible. Hopefully full enough to make it through that day’s play without choosing poorly.
10 Tips For Making Better Decisions
- Pack your disc golf bag the night before. Don’t spend the morning trying to figure out which discs you want to bring with you. If you carry 15-20 discs, that means that you have already spent 15-20 decisions just putting discs in your bag. (Here’s a checklist that might help with the other things you might want to have in the bag)
- Pack your car the night before. Get all your extra clothes, hats, sunscreen, bug spray, etc. loaded up before bed. Instead of running around in the morning trying to remember if you have everything, all you have to do is get in the car and go. (It’s also helpful to use checklists like this for your disc golf trips)
Pick out your clothes the night before. Yep, just like your Mom did for you in 3rd grade. Lay them out so all you have to do is put them on in the morning.
- Decide what you are going to have for breakfast the night before. Don’t spend the morning fumbling around the kitchen looking for the cereal you like and then change your mind and decide you want to eat out that morning. Wake up with the plan already made.
- If you are driving a distance to get to the course, map it out ahead of time. If you have GPS, make sure to use it. Let your smart phone or navigation device do the thinking for you.
- Check out the course before hand. Even if you do it on line. Try to decide on at least your tee shots for each hole. Remember to allow for different winds. It’s powerful when you can step up on each tee and automatically reach for the disc you decided on days ago. If at all possible, don’t play tournament rounds blind.
- Carry fewer discs in the first place. The less discs you have, the less of a chance that you are stuck between one of several. Get rid of all overlap in your bag. The shot you face should decide on the disc for you. What you throw in any situation should always be clear.
- Stick to the same warm up drills before your round(s). Always do the same stretches. Always do the same amount of putting with the same number of putters for the same amount of time. Do the same light field work and throw the same warm up shots each time.
- Try not to play any holes before your round. If you’ve properly scouted the course, then field work should be plenty before you start. Every hole you play before the round requires multiple decisions. If you do play a few holes, make sure they are worth their cost in decisions. Play the ones that you really need to practice.
- Practice. The more you practice, the more you take game time decisions out of the mix. The more you have practiced the more sure you are of what to do in any situation. If you can make your in game decisions more like automated responses, you’ll save your decision making power for the more important situations.
After compiling this list, it was surprising to me just how many decisions we can take off of our plate. Making good choices is a critical skill in playing great disc golf. It’s also critical in just about every other area of life you could think of. It makes good old common sense to do everything you can to make good choices in both disc golf and life. It works for those high level executives, it will work for you too!
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