Photo Courtesy of Jarvis Davis
Decision fatigue: difficulty in making a good decision experienced as a result of the number of decisions one needs to take.
Decision fatigue is no joke. It's science. We wake up with a bucket of willpower, which I like to envision is filled with monkeys. Every decision we make is a monkey jumping out of the bucket. At the end of the day, there are fewer monkeys left, and they certainly aren't the smartest ones. The more we can automate our decisions to open up brain space, the more effective and efficient we will be at getting tasks done and eliminating overload.
I'm hyper-aware of what gives me decision fatigue:
- menus that are like books (hello Cheesecake Factory!)
- department stores
- websites that I can't filter
- clothes in my closet
Too many choices can contribute to decision-fatigue. Excessive options can also water down our efficiency because we're half-assing what we are doing or we are just trying to keep up. If we have three things we are working on at the same time (switchtasking), our brain is having to do a 180 each time we do the switch.
When you are driving to three different places, you have to stop and start. You don't begin and immediately hit the road at 55, you have to ramp up from 5, 25, 45, to 55. Your brain does the same thing. We just think that we are fast at it.
When I was talking about switchtasking with a Vistage group in Asheville, NC, Tal Frankfurt, CEO of Cloud For Good, stated that he reduced projects for their consultants from 6-7 down to 2-3 (Gasp!). In 2017, before the switch, they hit 80% of their goal. In 2018, they hit 105%! HOLY FRIJOLES!
“The fewer projects and task switching people had to handle, the more productive they became.” Tal Frankfurt
In case you think that you couldn't possibly do this or that Tal must have a company of three, Cloud for Good is the fastest growing Salesforce consulting firm for nonprofit and educational organizations, a certified B-Corp, 4-time Inc. 5000 honoree, and 3-time Great Place to Work. They aren't small beans.
Yes, it's true! You can even increase decision making and productivity by reducing your workload! I limit myself to a specific number of clients and last year had a wait list until it was time for clients to roll off. A couple of other coaches thought I was crazy for having a wait list and said they would just suck it up and not have a life for a month or two because people may not be willing to wait. If I'm beaten down, tired, and ineffective from working with five clients that day, how is it for client number six? It's not helpful for them or me, and it could result in poor feedback, the wrong advice, or even worse, the client no longer wants to work with me.
Decision fatigue: the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making.
Are you part of a company that could experiment with reducing the number of calls, clients, accounts, or tasks in a day for your employees?
Are you able to decrease your own meetings, clients, tasks, in a day to increase your decision-making?
It can even start with breakfast. There's no need to change it up every day. If you have something healthy going for you, stick with it. It's not about doing more, it's about being more effective with less…decisions.
Tal Frankfurt is a champion for this concept. I challenge you to find something in your life or company that you can decrease the decisions and watch your productivity soar.
This post originally published on LinkedIn on April 2, 2019