Think about when you’ve had a very busy day at work, you’ve made lots of decisions on strategy, resources, management issues, budgets etc. When you get home you are faced with even more decisions to make regarding the family, what to eat, where you might go on holiday, activities with the children. Sound familiar?
At some point you’re likely to get to the stage where enough is enough and some decisions will just have to wait for another day (or week!). If someone asks you to do something else and make a decision, you just stop. I know when I was at my most busy at work I would often say to my friends and family that “I don’t make decisions at home – I make decisions all day, so am not doing any more!! Please can someone else decide and I’ll just go with it!”
If you visualise your decision making capacity as a battery which is successively drained a little with each decision you make. Eventually, over the course of a day or week, the battery flattens and your ability to make difficult decisions (like whether to have a glass of wine or run a bath) will be depleted.
This could have considerable impact on your motivation to make decisions, especially in the workplace. This includes risk-taking, as you are more likely to not take a risk when you should, or you could take bad risks when you have no battery (as you also have lower willpower).
However, different people have different sizes of decision making battery (from one that would power a watch, to a laptop, to a car battery). And although you have felt this way, there is no limit, and you can actually upgrade the size of your battery and top it up with different techniques (YOURSELF).
Y – ahoo celebrations top up the battery
O – utdoors go outdoors and enjoy the moment
U – nstopabble if you believe your battery is limited, it will be, but is as big as you want it to be
R – eframe if decision seems difficult, find ways to look at them differently
S – ugar you only need to put it on the tip of your tongue for a few seconds!
E – xercise increases brain capacity, energy, space to think unconsciously
L – ie down sleep, even short naps will work
F – eedback get feedback on how you are doing – constructive and positive – also improves ability to make decisions in the future. Giving feedback helps increase other people’s batteries too.
Rather than suffer “decision fatigue”, try these techniques on yourself and with your team. It can help increase motivation and reduce stress, as well reducing the risk of bad or delayed decision making (and all the consequences that could bring).
To find out more about how executive coaching and understanding neuroscience can help in the workplace, please contact us for an initial discussion.