Kwik Brain 124
June 11, 2019     |   532 VIEWS
How to Fight Mental Fatigue with Dr. Oz

"I don’t want to work hard alone, I want to work smart and hard."
Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz, a two-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning host of the three-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning The Dr. Oz Show, is Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University. He directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Previously, Dr. Oz was a featured health expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show for over five seasons, spanning 55 episodes. In addition to regular appearances on the Today show, he has also been featured on Good Morning America, Larry King Live, The View, Piers Morgan Tonight, guest-hosted the Charlie Rose show and appeared on all the evening news broadcasts. He also served as medical director of Denzel Washington's "John Q" and participated in several other feature films.

Today’s question is: how can we keep our mind sharp and reduce mental fatigue? Modern life is incredibly busy and we’ve all experienced a situation where we’re overloaded and overwhelmed, without the mental fortitude and energy to get through the day.

I couldn’t be happier to have an extraordinary guest, Dr. Mehmet Oz, with us today. Dr. Oz has 9 Daytime Emmy Awards for The Dr. Oz Show, authored over 400 original publications, book chapters, and medical books, received several patents, and performs several dozen heart surgeries per year. Between his show, podcast, traveling, speaking, seeing his patients, and completing heart surgeries, Dr. Oz maintains a hectic schedule—so how does he do it all?

In this conversation, we talk about what causes mental fatigue, and how you can reduce decision fatigue in your life.  Dr. Oz will take us through his daily routine and the strategies he uses to keep his mind sharp and share his thoughts with us on relationships, failure, and success.

Show Notes


  • Anybody who has to work their mind gets fatigued
  • Dr. Oz is very measured about the time he lets his brain go and avoids mental work
  • Try not to make decisions in the morning, except ones that are important
  • Basic principles behind mental fatigue are that we tire in the afternoon
  • Incidence of parole being granted by judges—less paroles are granted in the afternoon. This is a decision that requires a lot of effort, as it involves releasing someone who has done something bad back into the community
  • We can do well throughout the day and then reach for anything nearby to eat in the afternoon, especially carbs
  • Eating sugar turns your brain on and allows your brain to continue processing when it is beyond exhausted



  • Get up at the same time every day, harness the power of circadian rhythms, helps to ensure he gets the same amount of sleep each night
  • “I don’t want to work hard alone: I want to work smart and hard”
  • Poor sleep takes away creativity
  • Avoids eating first thing in the morning as we aren’t hungry when we first wake up. The first thing he might have a water & lemon juice
  • 2-3 hours into your morning you might want a coffee, have breakfast—generally, you’ll get hungry a few hours into your day after you’ve arrived at work and done a few things
  • For breakfast will eat something with rich antioxidant levels, with natural colors e.g. berries



  • Ideally, you can build relationships with trustworthy teammates
  • Tactics to reserve your limited amount of brainpower: “I want to let other people do what they’re good at, so I can do what I’m good at”
  • Dr. Oz micromanages but doesn’t want to have to decide in the moment
  • The routine of doing a post-mortem after every show with his team, thinking of 3 things he would have done differently
  • Avoid friction: well-oiled machines are streamlined, athletes avoid wasting movement in the moment of competition
  • Not conflict-averse, but it is important to get conflict out of way to fix the problem, and after that don’t want to keep returning to the conflict day after day
  • Careful about relationships: wanted to have lifelong partners, forgive mistakes



  • The most powerful word in the English language is no
  • Many of us take on opportunities that are not “on-brand”
  • Meaning of on-brand: you do it, it works and you’re happy you did it
  • How you do anything is how you do everything
  • Opportunity stress: more opportunities being passed to you creates conflict
  • Have a not-to-do list
  • Habits build on themselves as you create routines that allow you to elevate your game



  • Too many of us are failure averse, we hate failure because we think people won’t love us anymore, but we need to embrace the opportunity to be wrong once in a while
  • E.g. during medical training the data for appendicitis was that they needed to operate 15% of the time inappropriately to get to all the cases (and prevent deaths and permanent damage)
  • Any seasoned surgeon is going to have bad things happen—if you’re in the game you’re not going to get every shot
  • The same theme is reflected by people who succeed: you can’t make the shots you don’t take


Please note, this episode is educational only and not intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.


Related Kwik Brain Episodes You Might Enjoy

Episode 56: How To Keep Your Brain Ageless

Episode 64: Work Smart – Not Hard

Episode 75: Understanding Habit Triggers with James Clear

Episode 89: 10X Your Mental Performance with Salim Ismail



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