In today’s fast-paced business environment, leaders and executives are making an unprecedented number of decisions.
As a leader, your decision-making skills are key in helping the rest of your team thrive. However, making these decisions can quickly become mentally exhausting and lead to decision fatigue.
This condition can be particularly challenging in a business climate of uncertainty in which new challenges arise constantly.
Here, we’re sharing three tips that can help you streamline the decision-making process and improve the outcomes of the decisions you make.
What Is Decision Fatigue?
Decision fatigue is a psychological phenomenon that impairs your ability to make decisions. Decision fatigue often occurs after you’ve had to make a large number of decisions within a short period of time. If you think of your brain as a muscle, decision fatigue is equivalent to the soreness you experience after intense exercise. Making too many decisions in a short period of time can weaken your mental stamina, just like lifting weights can make your muscles sore.
Decision fatigue is both a mental and emotional condition that is often compounded with each new decision you have to make in both your professional and personal life. It can be especially challenging and disruptive for leaders and managers who are often unable to take time off to recover due to their demanding job requirements.
This is why some high-profile businesspeople and politicians have taken steps to reduce the number of decisions they make in a day. For example, Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg purposefully wear the same outfit each day.
Decision fatigue can also impact your self-control. In an experiment conducted by Jean Twenge at the Baumeister laboratory, researchers found that students who weren’t asked to make many decisions were able to endure holding their hand in ice water for over twice as long as the students who had to make many decisions.
These results demonstrate the impact decision fatigue can have on discipline and impulsive behavior.
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3 Tips to Avoid Decision Fatigue
It’s essential leaders maintain their mental sharpness to help avoid decision fatigue. When your decision-making abilities suffer, it can negatively impact your team’s performance.
Here are three effective strategies you can use to avoid decision fatigue:
1. Delegate lower-priority decisions
Focus on important decisions and delegate lower-priority ones to others on your team. Avoid wasting your valuable time on small decisions, such as choosing the color scheme for a presentation deck or scheduling meetings. By delegating such decisions, you can better concentrate on items that have a more significant impact on your job and the company.
2. Adopt a decision-making framework
Streamline your process by adopting a decision-making framework. A decision-making framework eliminates the time-consuming process of deciding how to make a decision every time you need to make one.
By having an effective framework in place, you can significantly reduce the time you spend making decisions while ensuring that you overcome cognitive biases and other challenges in the decision-making process.
3. Implement decision-making technology
Leverage technology to reduce the mental load of making decisions. You can turn to reliable decision-making tools, such as Arootah’s Decision Manager app, to help you make informed, bias-free decisions quickly.
This approach can significantly reduce the mental energy you need to apply to your decisions while also ensuring that you have a reliable process to make the best decision possible.
We created the Arootah Decision Manager app to assist leaders, teams, and organizations in navigating complex decisions and achieving better outcomes. The app provides users with a structured decision-making process based on a set of predetermined, weighted criteria. It’s a simple, but effective way to ensure you’re making the highest quality decisions possible.
The Bottom Line
Effective decision making is a critical skill for leaders — but it can also be mentally taxing. And decision fatigue can impact your ability to make sound judgments and harm the performance of your team.
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to manage the emotional and cognitive load of your decision making to keep yourself mentally sharp. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to do that. Delegating lower-priority decisions, adopting a decision-making process, and leveraging technology can all equip you to make better decisions more efficiently.
If you want to learn more about these techniques and how to apply them in your own work or life, consider attending our upcoming decision-making workshop on March 30. It’s a valuable opportunity to hone your skills as a leader, which can, in turn, help your team achieve its goals. Register here.