It’s a new year, and you’ve brought your A-game to the table. You’re committed to saying good-bye to habits that don’t work. You’re ready to tackle challenges. You’re stimulated and excited for change. Problem is, you’re exhausted from the daily grind, hungry (where’d that Snickers bar go?), and can’t decide where to begin. That’s Decision Fatigue, folks. And it’s followed you into the new year.
In my last post in a series on Decision Fatigue – the brain drain you feel after having made too many decisions – I left you with this NoBS lesson: don’t let Decision Fatigue get you down. So stay with me, because I want to see you stick to your resolutions. Follow these 5 tried and true insights for keeping that stealthy cat known as Decision Fatigue off of your front lawn:
- Plan ahead: May sound simple, but planning what you’ll wear is exceptionally powerful. Why? Because too many of us lose precious time each morning staring into our closets, fuzzily trying to decide what to wear. It ends now, people. Take a cue from the late, great Steve Jobs, who famously donned a black turtleneck each day. When you’re designing world-changing technology, you need to focus on the task at hand. Stop deliberating about your dress shirts.
- Throw out the need for perfection: Businessman, author, Dallas Mavericks owner and Pittsburgh native Mark Cuban said it best: “Perfectionism is the enemy of profitability.” He’s right. The desire to be perfect slows you down and leads you to think that you need to make more decisions than are necessary. Which is a drag on your business, your clients and, ultimately, your bottom line. You want to remain fleet-footed and fast. Strive for action, not perfection, and you’ll stay the course.
- Choose when you WILL and WON’T look at your phone: Our mobile devices have all but become an extension of our physical selves. We never leave home without them. We rarely do anything unless they’re within arm’s reach. But you know what? They’re distracting. And instead of focusing on the task at hand – the budget that needs to be reviewed, the sales call that needs to be made – you end up facing an unwanted crop of decisions to make. Decisions such as “should I like this Facebook post of my neighbor’s new lawn ornaments?” The answer is no. Put down your phone. Stay focused.
- KISS: That’s right. Keep It Simple Stupid. Make a deliberate choice to take the easy route. While this approach doesn’t apply to the complex choices in our lives (like who we’ll marry), it does apply to many of the day-day decisions we have to make. Don’t overcomplicate. Whether it’s what you’ll eat for lunch, the title of your presentation, or how you’ll introduce yourself to the new CEO, less is more.
- Do what works for YOU: All of us have our own strategies for staying focused. We often just don’t know it. But now that you’re aware of how Decision Fatigue operates, take a moment to think about the choices you’ve made that allow you to perform at your best. Is it making your biggest decisions by 9:00am every day? Limiting your to-do list to no more than 10 items? Only looking at one page of a menu, so that you’re not overwhelmed in restaurants? Figure out what’s worked for you and commit to doing more of it.
Now stop pondering your next move. Get back to work. And keep reading my blog.