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What your boss needs most: Simplicity

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in Dealing with Bosses,Office Management

Whether it’s deciding what to eat or what to wear, making decisions drains mental energy, writes Robert C. Pozen.

Assistants who free their bosses from having to constantly decide on things can easily be­­come indispensable.  

Making too many decisions about mundane details is a waste of a ­person’s mental energy, research suggests.

In the late 1990s, Roy Baumeister, a professor at Florida State Uni­ver­sity, and his colleagues performed several experiments showing that certain types of conscious mental actions gradually diminish our ability to make smart decisions throughout the day.

This is why some men only wear blue and gray suits and why they only eat a chicken salad sandwich for lunch every day.

Keep your boss’s decision-making skills at peak levels by taking care of the small stuff. Learn what to order for lunch and what snacks to keep on hand.

Simplify the schedule by taking some of the planning into your own hands, especially on small events. Keep a good stock of all necessary materials and office supplies when traveling so there’s no reason to panic about preparing for meetings.

— Adapted from “Boring Is Productive,” Robert C. Pozen, HBR Blog Network.

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