Making decisions is a necessary and frequent part of any businessperson’s day. The decisions they make can have a significant and fundamental impact on their company’s future. However, making those decisions can have a profound effect on the entrepreneur as well. Having to consider each facet of a problem to come up with a viable solution takes significant mental energy — especially when it happens multiple times a day.
To help ease some of that decision fatigue, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council examine the following question:
Decision fatigue is a real issue for busy entrepreneurs. What’s one strategy you have for making good decisions while avoiding the mental exhaustion that comes with them?
Implement one of these strategies to take control of your energy and make better decisions.
1. Step Outside Your Perspective
I step outside of my own perspective. I imagine I am advising someone else. This limits my emotional attachment to the situation. We often find it easier to advise than decide rightly. So, I visualize a great friend, someone I care about, sitting across from me faced with my problem. I advise them. Then I take that advice. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
2. Consider Your Top Priorities
Entrepreneurs need to hone their decision-making skills to avoid burnout. To make good decisions, I prioritize. I think about what things on my to-do list are an absolute must, and then I am able to easily make a decision based on the top priorities. I can always block out time for other things later, but I think about my priorities first so I know they are taken care of before making other decisions. – John Rampton, Calendar
3. Implement Positive Habits
The only way to truly avoid decision fatigue is to implement positive habits. You need to automate as much as possible and embrace the simplicity of routine. Every morning is the same for me: wake up, coffee, workout, get ready, work. I’ve even limited my wardrobe to a uniform of neutral colors only to avoid having to decide what to wear. When my habits kick in, my brain is freed up for work. – Ashley Sharp, Dwell with Dignity
4. Block Out Time for Critical Thinking
Block out time for critical thinking in your calendar. As founders, when we experience burnout, we rarely count clear and critical thinking time as time “at work.” This is problematic. Thinking time is not free time and not self-care. Assign it independently in your calendar and use this time for your thinking. Find ways to use this time to really facilitate critical thinking skills. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
5. Weigh Decisions Against a Big Metric
What I’ve observed that works really well is to pick one big metric or key performance indicator that you can use to make trade-off decisions against, preferably a metric that is focused on creating value for your customers (such as increasing revenue). You can cascade this metric to your team so everyone can ask themselves, “Does doing this help us get our customer more revenue?” before executing. – Joe Stolte, The Tractionology Group
6. Outsource Your Choice Generation
The best way to avoid decision fatigue is to outsource your choice generation. Ideally, you shouldn’t be the one thinking of all the possible variables that help decide between a “yes” and “no.” Take your trusted people and ask them to rationalize from their perspective on what to do. Listen to their opinion. Then just layer your perspective to see if anything changes as a result and decide. – Asim Rais Siddiqui, Tekrevol
7. Batch Your Tasks Together
To overcome decision fatigue, it helps to batch your tasks together so you can tackle multiple things at once and work smarter instead of harder. Batching works in different ways, but one thing you can do is set aside one day for menial tasks, another day for more arduous tasks, another day for admin tasks, etc. That way, you can prepare for what’s ahead and there are no surprises. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
8. Talk to People Who Can Help
Talk to people who can help you make better decisions. Sometimes it can be difficult to make important decisions all by yourself. Discussing with others can be super helpful at such times. Also, before jumping to conclusions right away, take time to think over your decision again. Take a day to analyze whether it is the best decision or not. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite
9. Eliminate Some of Your Options
Decision fatigue can be avoided if you reduce the number of options you have available to you. The fewer choices you have, the less strain it will be on your mind. So, when posed with a problem, start by eliminating as many options as you can. When you’re down to just two or three options, you can really focus and work on making a decision more easily. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
10. Get Enough Sleep
Being a successful entrepreneur means you need to be good at making difficult decisions. Getting eight or nine hours of quality sleep every night is a major contributor to having the correct emotional state and mental capacity to thoroughly think through complex situations and make the correct decision. I personally feel very equipped to handle tough situations when I regularly get nine or more hours of sleep. – Colin McGuire, Boomn
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
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