“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you…”
– Steve Jobs
The definition of decision fatigue is a state of mental overload that impedes your ability to make [good] decisions. I throw “good” in here because when I’m overwhelmed with decisions i find myself either agreeing or just blurting out the first thing I think of so I can get it off my plate. I think a lot of us get into this situation and are later questioned on why we made that particular decision. In retrospect, the decision is clearly wrong and it’s tough to admit it to ourselves much less the organization we’re supporting.
Here’s how I deal with it. I block an hour in the morning and an thirty minutes in the afternoon. The hour is to review my schedule, look at the agendas for all upcoming meetings and review any materials in advance of that meeting. You may find it difficult to block the time but it’s worth the effort, you’ll show up prepared and not just trying to look like you’re keeping up. Once you’re comfortable with this, push it to your teams and protect that hour for them. You may need to get consensus in the company that all meetings must have an agenda but well run meetings pay off for everyone.
The last thirty minutes of the day are for review. What do I think of each of the topics in the meetings during the day.
Give yourself and your teams that essential prep time for their day. Any meeting where they’re making decisions must be given adequate time to understand where they want to go and why, and what decisions are necessary to get there. You will find that the quality of the decisions will go up, you may even find the morale of the team going up as well.