Decision fatigue causing you frustration, stress, and brain fog?
Chances are very good it is. We are faced with hundreds if not thousands of decisions every day around everything from what to wear and what to eat. To where to live and vacation. To what to watch or which podcast to listen to. Our brains are constantly in some sort of decision making mode. And frankly, it can get to be pretty exhausting. But is there a way cut down or cut back on decision fatigue without losing productivity. Or eating the same thing 3 meals a day? Actually there is. And that is what we are discussing today.
Making a conscious effort, dare I call it a decision, to redirect your decision-making energy can help you reclaim and redirect that energy in both your work and home life. When you utilize one or more of the 5 tips I’m giving you today help protect yourself from decision fatigue, you will free up energy and time to focus on bigger, more important decision that can impact how your business grows, how much money you make, and how you spend time with your family.
Before now, you may not have given much thought to how many decisions you make in a day or how it could affect your energy. You may even be thinking “It really doesn’t bother me that much”.
But let me ask you this…do you ever feel totally drained when your kids ask you what’s for dinner? Like unnecessarily irritated? Or do you struggle with what to do first when you sit down to work? Maybe you wish that someone would just give you one choice so you didn’t have to spend so much time researching all those options? If any of this sounds familiar, you may be suffering from decision fatigue.
Benefits of Curbing Decision Fatigue
When you make a conscious effort to streamline the less important decisions, you see a major impact on larger decisions you face. Mostly because you transfer your focus, effort, and energy to those larger, impact-driven tasks and activities.
You’ll no longer waste energy deciding what to wear or what to eat because you create a routine or system to offload that decision. You arrive at your desk fresh and ready to tackle your work or decide what needs to be done.
And not to mention…humans actually love the comfort of routine. So while the thought of a routine like Taco Tuesday may seem boring to a mom who loves to cook…There is comfort in knowing exactly what you need to get from the grocery store. And your kids knowing exactly what will be on their plates.
Easy Ways to Protect Yourself from Decision Fatigue
Reducing your decisions is easier than you might think. Here are 5 easy ways you can start today to help cut back on decision fatigue.
- Decrease your options. Sometimes more just means more stress or information overload. And I don’t have to tell you that a tired mom entrepreneur doesn’t need more stress. Often, having too many options actually makes the decision harder. A study at Stanford found that when grocery shoppers were offered six different flavors of jams, 30% of shoppers purchased a jar of jam. In contrast, when shoppers were given 24 different flavors of jam, only 3% of shoppers purchased a jar. Reduce the number of options your choosing between to help you make a decision faster and easier.
- Limit Your Distractions. As we’ve talked about in previous episodes, any way you can improve your focus will improve your productivity. And as entrepreneurs, so much of our day is making decisions. What we are going to sell in our shop. How we are going to promote our offers. What we should blog about this week. Distractions like cell phone notifications, email pop ups, or even noisy kids can pull us away from our decisions. And increase the time it takes to work AND the stress around the decisions we are making. While eliminating all distractions may be impossible, look for places you can make a change to help you focus. This can help you make decisions faster and easier.
- Make Your Important Decisions First. There are lots of numbers thrown around on the interweb about how many decisions we make during the day. And while I couldn’t find a definitive source or number, it’s safe to say we are faced with LOTS of choices every day. Let’s make a little analogy. Say you’re going to work out. You start by running 3 miles on the treadmill. Followed by 30 minutes on the bike. And another 20 on the elliptical trainer. After over an hour of cardio, you decide to try to bench press twice your body weight. Chances are, it may have been easier to start with the bench press when your energy sources weren’t tapped. And the same is true of your decisions. If you know you have a big day making big decisions, schedule decision-making time first thing. Rather than waiting until you’re tapped later in the day.
- Create Routines. So routines are a specific pattern of behavior in a specific sequence. Like my morning routine: wake up, let the dog out, go to the bathroom, let the dog in, feed the dog and cat, get lemon water, meditate, and gratitude journal before I start my work. Every weekday morning the same thing. Most mornings, I am up for 60-90 minutes before I make my first big decision. Because I’ve got a bit of autopilot action going on.
- Create Systems. In the same vein, creating systems helps you create a pattern of repeated actions for a specific outcome. Like my podcast publication system. I have a specific checklist for each episode that contains all the necessary steps. From writing the episode to recording and editing to graphics for various social media platforms. I do have to make some decisions within the system like topics or photos. But I don’t have to recreate the wheel and decide what steps I need to take to publish each episode. I have already decided the steps, I just need to act.
And speaking of acting, your action step to help you protect yourself from decision fatigue is to employ one of the decision curbing tactics we discussed today. Decrease the number of options you research or create. Limit distractions so you can stay focused. Make important decision making your first priority in when you start to work. Create a routine so your mornings or evenings or meal planning can run on autopilot. Or create a recorded system for regular activities. Then don’t have to decide what to do each time you publish a blog post, post a new item in your shop, or create a sales email for your community.