Clear your mind for what’s important
Make fewer decisions to make better decisions. Last year in The Organized Executive newsletter, we wrote about the problem of “decision fatigue,” and recently we’ve seen several articles that mention how people limit the decisions they must make daily.
That includes a winning football coach who eats the same salad for lunch every day and the president of the United States, who has limited his wardrobe to suits that are either blue or gray.
“You need to focus your decision-making energy,” President Obama explained in a Vanity Fair article by Michael Lewis. “You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”
Here are three ways to eliminate unnecessary decisions from your day:
- Pare the choices. Simply restricting your options can save you time and free your attention for more important things. Unclutterer.com creator Erin Doland recently explained how limiting her wardrobe has saved her time shopping. Set boundaries for the options you will consider, and you will have fewer choices to weigh even for important decisions.
- Batch actions. Instead of eating or wearing the same thing every day, I make all those decisions for the week at once. In the morning, I don’t have to think about what to wear, and in the evening, when I’m worn out from all the other decisions I’ve made, I already know what my family will have for dinner.If you know you have a set of common decisions to make over the next week, month or quarter, sit down and make those selections now. More important decisions can benefit from the batch approach too. For example, I’ll soon be drafting an editorial calendar that will outline the major topics we will cover every month in 2013 in our newsletters, websites and e-letters. (Send me an email if there’s a topic you’d like us to write about.)
- Delegate the decision. Focus on the decisions that you are best suited to make, and delegate the rest. Defer to team members who have greater expertise in the area involved, or train employees to make decisions within parameters that you set.
Finally, take the pressure off yourself to always make the “best” decision. Learn how to become satisfied with your choices, in the Oct. 27, 2011, issue of The Organized Executive’s Priority One. (Read past issues online at OrganizedExecutive.com.)
Our Readers Tell Us!
To-do list advice
In our last issue, we asked you to share your tips for writing an effective to-do list. Lynette told us that she paces her day by adding tasks to her phone calendar and setting alerts.
Bill, a software quality assurance engineering manager in Maynard, Mass., recommended Asana (www.asana.com), which is available as a Web-based or mobile app. It allows you to create projects and break them down into simple tasks, he explained. “You can even give other Asana users access to your projects and assign tasks to them. A comments field for each task allows you to keep track of the status.”
We love hearing from our readers, whether you are sharing a tip or asking a question, so keep them coming!
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