This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Leadership is mentally and emotionally demanding. Not only will you need to temper your emotions to keep your team inspired, but you’ll also be the point person for almost every hard decision your business makes.
Try using these tactics the next time you’re forced to make a hard decision.
Decision fatigue is a documented phenomenon that sets in when you make too many successive decisions. Even small decisions, like picking what to wear or ordering a meal, can accumulate the stress of decision-making and make approaching bigger decisions more stressful.
You can reduce decision fatigue by spending less time on small-scale decisions. Build habits that are repeatable, and let other people (like your assistants or coworkers) decide things that don’t have much impact on you or your business.
According to the New York Times, one of the best ways to make decisions is to remove yourself from the picture altogether. Imagine that this isn’t your company: Instead, pretend that it belongs to a friend, and you’re advising him or her on what to do.
Describe the situation, out loud, as if the people and organizations involved were total strangers. If your friend came to you with this story, what would you advise? Oftentimes, it’s easier to see the answer when we’re removed from the situation, because the stakes are lower — but the answer is just as good.
A big problem many entrepreneurs have with decision-making is being decisive in a timely manner; in other words, they procrastinate. This calls to mind Parkinson’s Law: Essentially, the amount of time it takes to do a task swells to fill the amount of time allotted for it.
If you give yourself a month to make a decision, you’re going to take a month. If you give yourself a day, you’re going to take a day. Obviously, you don’t want to rush decisions with major consequences, but you’ll also want to set a strict timetable so you don’t procrastinate too long, wasting time and mental resources in the process.
The paradox of choice is a perplexing case of human psychology. The more options you have to consider, the harder it is to make a choice- — and the less satisfied you are with that choice once you make it.
You can compensate for this by limiting the number of options you have to choose from, and the number of variables you consider when choosing between them. For example, you could narrow your choice down to two vendors, and decide to make your decision based on cost only, or only on the quality of the working relationship.
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