When you run a business, you make decisions all the time, for example, how to complete client work, marketing, how to allocate resources etc. So, it is of no surprise that a lot of entrepreneurs suffer from decision fatigue.
Do you suffer from it? And do you know how to beat it?
What Is Decision Fatigue?
The brain is like a muscle. The more you work it, the more tired it will become and the less effective it will be at completing tasks, making decisions, etc.
Decision fatigue occurs when your mind becomes less effective because it has become overworked.
The trouble is, most people don’t realise that every day activities all contribute to decision fatigue. Everything from choosing what outfit to wear or what meal to eat, to whether you go to a business meeting or hold it virtually.
Every decision you make matters. This is where modern technology can often be the pain for us. Because it isn’t just about the number of decisions we make, but the options in those decisions we have.
Consider television for instance. Prior to Freeview, many people had just five channels to watch. That is just five programmes to choose between at any one time. Now with eighty channels plus, we have 16 times more choice. That doesn’t include DVDs, which have become more popular, or subscription services like Netflix.
The same can be said for shopping. Previously we were limited by what was in the shops. Now with the internet, we have an incomprehensible number of products. In the US, Amazon has 488 million products for sale through their website; Amazon UK has 261 million products.
The average brick and mortar store, there are just 47,000 products to choose from.
Technology has made it much harder for consumers to make decisions.
Decision Fatigue In Numbers
Consider how many decisions you’ve had to make since you started work. Try to think of that number and write it down.
Now let’s look at the research. The average person makes 226.7 decisions a day just about food. In total, you’ll make 35,000 decisions before you go to bed.
As the day goes on, your decisions will be less effective and likely consume more time. That is why some people start to have poor productivity in the early to mid-afternoon. By evening, your mind is not going to be effective at all, and you will begin to make poor decisions.
Combating Decision Fatigue
Decision fatigue can be hard to overcome, so here are some personal and business options to help you out.
1. Limit Your Clothing Options
Did you know Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg both have one thing in common? They both have one clothing style they wear most of the time. This isn’t one outfit, just several copies of it. It helps them reduce the decisions required over what to wear. They simply pull a new set of the item out of the cupboard and put it on.
Find a style that suits you and stick to it.
2. Limit Meal Choices
Reducing your choice of meals can reduce your decision making. Have a regular menu you rotate through, and you’ll never have to make a food decision again if you stick religiously to it. If you want take out, decide what meal you’ll order and never deviate.
This also helps with shopping as it reduces the number of choices you must make. If your menu is standardised, you know exactly what you should buy in the shop.
3. Make Big Decisions In The Morning
Because sleep helps us reset, you’ll be better at making decisions in the morning. Therefore, ensure all big and important decisions are made during the early period. This might be a good time to host meetings and conduct sales calls.
4. Stop Making Decisions
This refers to knowing your limits. We can only work and make decisions for so long and therefore, there is a time when you should stop. Work should be stopped no later than 7pm. The earlier you stop your work, the more time you have to rest and recharge ready for the next day.
You’ll notice if you leave it too late to stop work, deciding what to watch will be harder.
Are You Suffering From Decision Fatigue?
Decision fatigue is a challenge for all business leaders. It stops us making important decisions that can improve our business. But it isn’t just the decisions we make while we are working. From the moment we wake up we are contributing to our mental tiredness that can disrupt our effectiveness.
The only solution is simple: make fewer decisions and reduce the choices we have.
Do you suffer from decision fatigue? What is your solution?
Let us know in the comments below.