Is decision fatigue setting you up to fail?

5 min read

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As a business owner, you’re constantly making decisions that have a direct impact on your livelihood. The current state of your business is an accumulation of the choices you’ve made thus far, good and bad. Being so critical to your future trajectory, how can you improve your decision-making ability?

Studies are now showing that “decision fatigue” is a real thing. Making decisions is mentally taxing and as the day wears on, we become less and less effective because, frankly, our brains are tired.

Think about your favourite store. Have you ever given into their “impulse purchases” near the till? Hello, Sephora! These products are strategically placed to catch us when we’ve already made bigger shopping decisions and are now more likely to just say yes to these smaller purchases.

Impulse purchases are damn hard to resist, so we may not be able to avoid the associated buyer’s remorse (did I really need that heated eyelash curler?), but what can we do to avoid entrepreneur’s remorse?

It’s common knowledge that high performers like Mark Zuckerberg and Obama limit the amount of decisions they make in a day, so that they can save their mental capacity for what matters. One way they do this is by owning multiples of the same clothes, completely eliminating the need to decide what to wear.

Here are a few other ways to harness your mental reserves:

SLOW YOUR SCROLL

Social media is not only a time suck, but a cognitive suck, as well. The constant scroll, like, scroll, like may seem mindless, but it requires micro decisions (whether to like, follow, share, etc.). Social media is a must for many businesses these days, so it’s difficult to avoid browsing especially if you want to engage with your followers, but it’s easy to get carried away. Limit your time and use it wisely, just like any other business activity.

EMPOWER YOUR EMPLOYEES

If you have employees, empower them to make decisions on your behalf. As Tim Ferriss recommends, set a monetary limit, say $100, and if the impact to your business is less than that amount, give them free reign.

SCHEDULE IMPORTANT DECISIONS FOR EARLIER IN THE DAY

It’s tempting to put off important decisions until later, but your decision-making capacity gets worse as the day goes on, so deal with important things first. Also, if you have a choice, book important meetings for earlier in the day, as well.

MEAL PREP

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in the front of the fridge wondering what the hell I’m going to eat. Prepping your meals a few days in advance solves this problem. Just heat up and eat up. This also helps you make healthier choices. Instead of reaching for processed convenience foods, you’ll have a healthy meal ready and waiting. Buh-bye gluten induced brain fog.

TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF

Speaking of health, get enough rest! As easy as it should be, this is a tough one for entrepreneurs on their hustle, but as you become fatigued, you settle and settling just isn’t acceptable. Keep your energy up by getting the rest your body needs. 

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business, most popularJenny Paul