A rule in sales is that life's most important decisions are made within 48 hours. Anything longer than that will likely result in the answer being, "no."
If you are like many Americans, you work all day long making decision after decision and rush home to stumble upon the decision of what to make for dinner. Sound familiar? There is a reason for this... Throughout the day, we acquire "Decision Making Fatigue." This is not a fancy, fan-dangled, fad. It is a real issue and it effects us in more ways than we know. The problem is that we just don't realize it. We rush from one place to the next and we churn out all these decisions. By the time we come to making our own life-decisions, we are tired.
Consider this, the average person makes over 35,000 decisions in a day. 90% of these decisions are subconscious based on the habits that we have formed. This means that our cognitive brain is still in charge of 3,500 decisions. (About 250 of these are food based decisions... where to go for lunch. Do we want white, wheat or rye bread? Mustard or mayo, etc.) Sometimes we transfer to "decision avoidance" just to spare ourselves the agony of having to make a decision at all.
Even judges in the courtroom are not exempt from this issue. Studies have shown that, if presented with three identical cases throughout the day, the judges are generally more lenient in the first case and more critical as the day progresses. What does this all mean? Other than avoiding the courtroom, it means we get tired and our minds are not as sharp as we make more decisions throughout the day.
Some people in distress have to make trade-off decisions before they even get into the office. They are tired before they even get there because they have already been making decisions toward their quota.
There are three things you can start today, however, that can help you make the most out of your decision-making practice:
1.) Make decisions and schedule meetings earlier in the morning when your mind is the freshest. If an issue arises at work, don't be a superhero and try to conquer it right away or at the end of the day. Put it on your evening 'to-do' list and tackle it in the morning if at all possible.
2.) Make a "to-do" list in the evening. This is a great storage bin for your decision avoidance tasks. All of the things you wanted to conquer today but couldn't, put them on tomorrow's list. If you wait until the morning to write your to-do list, you are using some of your decisions on what to add to your list and you will need those for later. Pay it forward and make your list the night before.
3.) Limit the number of decisions you need to make. Pare down your wardrobe. It is said that we only wear 20% of our wardrobe, anyway. Less decisions = less fatigue. Remember that less is more. The less choices to choose from, the more decisions that are on reserve for later. Take grocery shopping, for example. Big supermarket chains have millions of items. Heck, there are even dozens of flavors of Triscuits. Stores like Aldi, however, have the same products. The main difference? They have less sku numbers. Therefore, it is less overwhelming for many people because we are looking for the product, not the brand.
Bonus Tip: When sending those end of the day e-mails... if possible, type them and save them as a draft. Then, send them the next morning. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, you've already done the work in creating the e-mail. That is generally more time consuming. Second, when we allow at least half an hour to back away from an e-mail before editing it, we have fresh eyes. Drafting the e-mail is using the creative side of our brain and editing uses the analytical side of our brain. The less we have to switch back and forth quickly, the more we can avoid the fatigue of constantly switching gears.
Thanks for choosing to read my blog. Stay connect for more tips and techniques on life and communication.