Decide Early and Often

In my last piece on how to limit decision fatigue, we saw that decision fatigue leads to irritation, frustration, and generally poorer decision-making. I’d like to place the focus this piece on the individual executive’s ability to limit her own decision fatigue.

The simplest way to avoid the cumulative effects of decision fatigue (after addressing the systemic factors that are causing the decision fatigue) is to decide early and often. Rather than letting the list of decisions pile up and become too convoluted, make a decision as soon as you can and move on, especially on the simple decisions.

For instance, if you already know what your decision is upon reading an email, go ahead and relay the decision and get it off your plate. It’s unlikely that your decision is going to change, or, if it’s a decision that will change, it’ll likely come from a constructive conversation that happens after you make your decision.

As I mentioned in the last piece, strong visions and well-articulated strategies actually make it a lot easier for you to make the right spur-of-the-moment decisions because most of the major decisions have already been made. It’s when you have to make every decision on the fly that you get worn out; by not doing the thinking and deciding in a structured, constructive way ahead of time, you have to do a lot of thinking and deciding in a unstructured, often-destructive way in the spur of the moment.

Another practice that can help you decide early and often is to keep a list of all the more difficult decisions that need to be made and schedule time to make those decisions. Thirty minutes a day spent working through the key issues affecting your business is the best thirty minutes you can spend since it’s often the case that no one else can make those decisions. If you’re not making the decisions that only you can make, no one is, and if they are the crucial issues that are facing your business, you’ll eventually be forced to make a sub-optimal decision down the line.

There’s a big difference between a hasty decision and a decision that’s made promptly. I’m not advocating hasty decision-making, but, rather, proactively and promptly addressing the challenges you face in your business. The sooner you come to a solution or resolution, the sooner it can be solved or resolved.

But not only will you be able to work the resolution or solution sooner, you’ll also not face a pile of key decisions to be made and be able to limit decision fatigue. In the short-term, it may seem harder to decide early and often, but, in the long-term, it pays off in spades.

Over to you: what key decisions need to be made in your business? What information do you need or who do you need to talk to help make those decisions? Lastly, when are you going to make the decisions that need to be made?

About Charlie Gilkey

Charlie Gilkey is the go-to guy for changemakers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners for figuring out how to get the right things done. His blog, Productive Flourishing, is one of the top productivity and business blogs on the web. His forthcoming book, Beyond Bootstrapping, helps entrepreneurs and small business owners become better executives and build better businesses from the business they’ve already built.