9 Ways Ops Bosses™ Avoid Decision Fatigue

One of the magazines I like to read when I travel is Harper’s Bazaar. It’s a fashion magazine and they have a column called “A Day in The Life” (originally called “My List – 24 Hours With . . .”). The subject of the article is usually a fashion designer – think Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Donna Karan. After reading the column for a while, I realized these successful entrepreneurs had SO much in common:

Set routines (think time blocking). They often describe themselves as “boring”.

Accomplishing their most important things first thing in the morning (sound familiar? #theonething)

Eating healthy – usually the same thing frequently. Christian Louboutin says “I have lunch in two places.”

Regular exercise.

Some sort of daily uniform (just like Gary Keller – haha!) Armani has 42 navy t-shirts. Donna Karan has 60 black bodysuits, and wears skinny jeans & a black leather jacket daily.

It’s said we make 35,000 conscious decisions a day. Gosh no wonder we are tired by day’s end! There’s even a term for why we feel tired – it’s called “decision fatigue”.

As I’ve gotten older (and hopefully wiser!), I’ve made the move to simplify my daily life. I know now that I only have so much room in my head on a daily basis, so I want to make sure I use my brain power on the things that matter most.

HERE ARE 9 WAYS OPS BOSSES™ AVOID DECISION FATIGUE:

HAVE A DAILY UNIFORM

Don’t get me wrong, I am part of the KW Fashionista Facebook Group. I love expressing myself through fashion. But on a daily basis, I live more like the fashion designers above – with a (less expensive) uniform. This time of year (winter) – it’s black leggings, black over the knee boots, a tunic length sweater or top, and lots of bling. I keep the same color palette most of the year – black, white and pink. This makes getting dressed easy. It makes packing to travel easy. And it’s one less decision every day.

EAT THE SAME THING DAILY OR HAVE A WEEKLY MENU

I’m an empty nester. So we eat out daily. It’s Cafe Kindred for lunch. And Artie’s Restaurant for dinner. When I arrive for lunch, they already know what I want. (Turkey avocado BLT and a cappuccino). The same thing happens at dinner. (Every other night we share a salad and a filet. We just switch up the vegetable. Every other night, hubs chooses.)

This also comes in handy when I have business meetings. No worries about “Where should we meet?“. I always invite people to meet me at Cafe Kindred.

If you bring your lunch to work and cook dinner at home, do what my Mom did. Lunch was a sandwich and a piece of fruit. Dinner was a revolving menu, but the same things each week: tacos, spaghetti, hamburgers, fried chicken, enchiladas, roast beef. You get the idea. Doesn’t matter what you choose (if it’s healthy!). Just set a recurring theme and stick to it. (Better yet, have your teenagers do it!) One less decision to make. (Actually it’s more than one, because you can set up the same shopping list when you know what you’ll be eating regularly.)

HAVE THINGS AUTOMATICALLY DELIVERED

Set up a regular Peapod (or Instacart, Amazon, etc) delivery for your groceries, pet supplies, prescriptions and other “usuals”.

TIMEBLOCK

If you don’t timeblock, then you spend your entire day deciding what to do next. Ask yourself on Friday what your priorities are for the next week, then timeblock them. This includes your personal schedule. When our kids were small, my husband and I used to meet for 15 mins every Sunday to coordinate schedules for the week so we knew who needed to be where.

Then each day, ask yourself “What is the one thing I need to accomplish to win the day?” Don’t put your feet on the floor until you know the answer.

And when you are “in” your timeblocks, turn OFF your email and alerts. Because every time one pops up, you will have to make a decision whether to read it or not, and whether to act upon it or not. As Bob Newhart would say, just STOP it!

HAVE A MORNING & EVENING ROUTINE

Get up at the same time. Do the same things. In the same order. Wind your day down with a routine. And teach your family the same thing. Kids are great accountability partners for this. They LOVE routine.

KEEP A BAG PACKED

Don’t switch professional bags daily. Keep one awesome bag. Have it stocked with everything you need. I do the same thing with my travel bag. It stays packed year-round with the essentials. All I add is my actual outfit for teaching.

HAVE A SIGNATURE GIFT

One of my BFFs loves Glassy Babys. If you know her, she’s probably sent you one. (I LOVE mine!). They are personal and unique. And a general enough gift that you can send them for almost any occasion. Having a go-to gift cuts down on shopping time and decision fatigue.

STOP BEING A CONTROL FREAK

Let other people make decisions. Let your family decide where to go on vacation. Let your friends choose the restaurant or bar you’ll meet at. Set a budget and let your team choose what your team closing gift will be.

And everything does not need to be perfect. I am guilty of this. The first year we planned the Ops Boss™ Leader Retreat, I was OBSESSED with every detail. And exhausted from analyzing every single decision. The best thing I ever did was to hire an Ops Boss™ (I love you Sheila!) who could take my vision and execute, without me having to think about every little thing. (And she did it WAY better than I would have!)

SET RULES

Even small decisions add up. I have set rules for myself that cover some of these small decisions. Example: Elevator or stairs? My rule is “Always take the stairs.” Another rule I have is “Always choose the line to the left.” This comes in handy at places like Disneyworld or airport bathrooms with multiple entrances. At the grocery store, my rule is “Don’t debate the pennies.” I used to compare brands to save money. Only to realize I was spending my very valuable brain power just to save pennies.

Bottom Line: There are lots more things you can do. These ideas will get you started. What else are you doing to avoid decision fatigue? We’d love to know! Because true Ops Bosses™ ensure they avoid decision fatigue so they can focus on decisions that are TRULY impactful.

Christy Belt Grossman, CEO, Ops Boss Coaching™

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