I was listening to Terry Gross's Fresh Air interview with Michael Lewis at the gym today. Michael Lewis (Moneyball, The Big Short
) has been following around President Obama for the past six months, fly-on-the-wall-of-Air-Force-One style, for a Vanity Fair profile
The President makes decisions all day long. He's "the decision-maker," in the immortal words of George W. Bush. Research has shown that everybody has a certain amount of decision juice -- varying levels, but when it runs out, it's a while before it comes back. Call in mana
, in the D&D sense. The more decisions you make in a day, the worse your decisions tend to be.
I found it interesting that the President has done a few things to reduce unnecessary decision-making. He threw out all his suits except for some identical grey and identical blue ones. (Shades of Steve Jobs.) He never gets involved in what's for dinner; whatever shows up, he eats.
That's probably the least interesting point in a fascinating profile, but it might be the most useful for screenwriters. Screenwriters, like all creative people, make decisions all day, too. Decisions about fictional people, sure, but every page is a page full of decisions.
So how do you avoid running out of go-juice?
I think that's where a lot of our procrastination comes from. Reading Nate Silver
obsessively during elections involves no decision making at all. Paying the bills involves no decision making.
Also, that's why I so fervently leave the negotiating to my agent. One of the many things agents do is remove much of the stress from negotiations by taking it on themselves.
But I wonder how many other unnecessary decisions I could remove from my life?