Tim Ferris’ Six Principles for A Choice-Minimal Lifestyle

Save your mental energy for the decisions that matter.

Charlotte Grysolle
5 min readNov 14, 2021


I’m in a store, trying to pick a gift for my friend’s birthday. This should’ve been a quick errand, yet I’ve been walking through the aisles for the past 45 minutes, growing increasingly frustrated with myself. Just. pick. something! I end up walking out empty-handed.

Our days are one long chain of micro-decisions — when to wake up, what to wear, when to leave the house, how to structure your day, what to have for lunch, and so on. This usually goes quite well, but sometimes, after a long day of choices, decision fatigue creeps in. A seemingly simple task, like choosing a gift, can suddenly feel impossible.

Making choices isn’t to be avoided — that’s not the problem. It’s the time we spend thinking about them, going back and forth in our mind— that’s the energy sapper. We have limited mental resources, and the cost of making a decision is more than time.

So how can we make this easier?

Tim Ferris’ advice is to become minimalist with your decision-making. Cut back on decisions that don’t matter and save your energy to focus on the essentials. The simplification of even one decision, like picking your outfit in the morning, can leave you with more mental space and better productivity throughout the day.

Here are Tim’s six formulas for a choice-minimal lifestyle.

1. Set rules for yourself, so you can automate as much decision-making as possible

‘Rules’ may sound robotic, but the idea is that you make one decision in advance, which allows you to remove tens of follow-up decisions.

“Every Tuesday after work, I go to yoga.”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re not in the mood or your friend just proposed to go for dinner. The decision is made in advance, so there’s no deliberation necessary.

Investor and entrepreneur Ray Dalio, also talks about this in his book, Principles:

I believe one of the most valuable things you can do to improve your decision making is to think through your principles for making decisions…



Charlotte Grysolle

Exploring the neuroscience and psychology behind focus, motivation and mental resilience. 🤸‍♀️ More on https://www.charlottegrysolle.com/newsletter/