078: D is for Decisions

078: D is for Decisions

If you did something 35,000 times in one day, do you think it might fatigue you a little bit?

According to some sources, that’s how many conscious decisions we make each day.

Seems ridiculous at first. Because I think we tend to group decisions somehow and we only recognize decisions that are in a certain group.

For example, we made the decision of where to go for lunch. We decided what to wear today. We decided to punch it through the yellow light instead of trying to stop. We bought that thing on Amazon. We decided to move a deadline until Thursday, to let someone go, to accept a new client, to send that text.

You get it, right. If I asked you what decisions you made today, those are the types of ones that would tend to come to your mind.

But meanwhile, under the surface, there are thousands of decisions we make that don’t even cross our mind. I think some of them we make out of habit or out of common sense. Like, we didn’t run that red light or we brushed our teeth or we said hi to someone at the store. There are tons more like these that happen and that our brains have to deal with even if they make the decision rather effortlessly.

Either way, decision fatigue can become a real thing. When we find that we need to be able to make a really big decision, our brains might just be so worn out from all the other decisions that they have trouble processing or carrying that load.

I think this shows up in our workplaces as well. And certainly there are decisions that your people will have to make every day that there’s just no getting around.

But I believe there are plenty of areas where we can help reduce decision making in order to help our team be mentally ready to make wiser bigger decisions.

One way can be to make sure that work flows and processes have all the information needed and are eliminating as much ambiguity as possible. It starts at the question, basically. If something is clear enough, it reduces or eliminates the questions and thus does the same for the decisions.

If you think about all the micro decisions that we may be asking the people in our organizations to make without thinking about it, we’re adding to this decision fatigue, leading to slow downs in projects and lack of efficiency as brains just get overloaded.

So the easiest way you can start to dig into this is to sit down with some people on your team and begin to brainstorm on this idea. What clarity could you add to instructions or what choices could be taken away that wouldn’t have a negative impact but could little by little reduce the number of decisions your people have to make each day.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. You can shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com

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