Thinking Holistically

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue in Your Business

Last week, we discussed how decision fatigue can show up and affect your business. This week, we’re sharing some tips on how to avoid falling into decision fatigue and how to handle it when you see the signs.

Stick to a Routine

As soon as we wake up in the morning, we’re making decisions, such as when to start checking and responding to our emails and social media, whether to work out, what to eat for breakfast, and what to wear. These small decisions in the morning and throughout the day slowly erode our decision-making capabilities. Finding a routine that incorporates your own rituals and healthy habits throughout the day, and sticking with it, will leave you with more energy to make decisions throughout the day.

Limit Your Options

We live in a society where there seem to be limitless choices.  Just walk down the cereal aisle at a grocery store and look at all the options that are available to us. The sheer number of options for the simple things that we need to use every day can send us into the rabbit hole of doing lots of research and analysis, and even give us FOMO (fear of missing out) when we do make a decision on the simple things. So, consider limiting your options for some of your basic needs. A common example of this, which I like to use, is simplifying my wardrobe options by choosing from the same brand of shirt or sweater in different colors rather than having to create a whole new look every day.

Plan Your Day

As part of your daily routine set aside some time, either early in the morning or the night before, to plan your day. I recommend setting no more than three goals for the day and limiting your daily to-do list to the items that will help you accomplish those goals. That way, you know what you need to be working on throughout the day to meet those goals.  Also, consider blocking off time to work on those items, so that you don’t schedule meetings and other activities during the time you need to work on the business.

Enforce Boundaries

Despite having clear plans for the day, it’s not unusual for something to get thrown at you that might distract you from executing on that plan.  It may be a new opportunity to look at, a request to do something, or maybe even a complaint or issue that needs to be resolved. Unless it’s a burning issue that is going to have significant impact on your business, it’s important not to let those distractions interfere with your priorities. Consider setting those items aside to look at once you’ve accomplished your daily goals or put them on the list for the next day.

Stop Multitasking

Given the fast-paced nature of starting and growing a business, we’re often juggling many different things at one time and prone to multitasking. But, multitasking negatively affects concentration and focus. When we are multitasking, we split our decision-making ability between trying to get something done and making the little decisions associated with responding to emails, answering calls, checking social media, and other minor tasks. All of that contributes to our decision fatigue.

Delegate to Others

As business owners, we tend to think we have to make all the decisions in the business. But we don’t! Especially if we are working with other people who are employees or independent contractors. Think about your team and their roles, responsibilities, knowledge, and skillsets.  Are there areas of the business where you are making decisions instead of allowing them to step up and make those decisions? By allowing others to take on some decision-making in your business, you nurture the development of your team.

Step Back and Take a Break

Our decision-making capability is highest when we are well-rested and our energy is fresh. So, it’s important to create time during the day to refresh. When you plan your day, be sure to schedule breaks for yourself. And, when you take those breaks, make sure you don’t let that time get eaten up by work, checking social media, or reading the daily news. Instead, get out for a walk, take a nap, meditate, or do whatever helps you relax and restore your energy.