How to Avoid Bad Business Ideas by Overcoming Decision Fatigue
You know that feeling you get after a really long day at work? It’s that feeling of dread when you think about answering one more phone call, or writing another email. We all get this feeling from time to time, but it can be particularly dangerous for entrepreneurs and startups who need to make conscientious decisions that positively affect their business.
The decision to invest in a new product, or even change the color on packaging could make or break your company. So, how do you avoid making decisions when your mind is hazy, and when contemplating choices feels like pushing a huge boulder up a hill?
The first step is to understand exactly what you’re experiencing.
What is Decision Fatigue?
There’s a term for the exhaustion that business owners face when they’re forced to make critical decisions for their company hour after hour, day after day. It’s called “decision fatigue,” and it’s something that entered the modern vernacular after a study was released in 2011.
That study found that Israel-based judges had a higher chance of giving favorable rulings during parole hearings that were heard towards the beginning of a court session, than they were at the end. Beyond the obvious problems this caused for the prisoners, the study offered a unique business insight. It told us that an executive’s ability to make decisions weakens every time he or she has to make a crucial choice.
Unfortunately, this means that by the time you’re chugging your third espresso, you could be ready to say yes to some bad business ideas. After all, if you flex your “decision” muscle too often, you’ll find that it eventually starts to fail you.
If you think about your personal life, you may spot decision fatigue everywhere you look. For instance, maybe you are better at writing a to-do list in the morning than you are at night.
The reason for decision fatigue is that we’re all constantly plagued with choices every day. As new technology emerges, and companies introduce a range of decisions into our day-to-day lives, it can be difficult for us to cope with all the options that are out there.
So, what’s the answer? How can you make sure you’re always deciding on the best business ideas?
Start by Getting some Rest
Generally, the best solution for any kind of fatigue – including decision fatigue, is getting some rest. Few things can beat the joy of a good night’s sleep when it comes to recharging your batteries. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the business decisions you need to make today, then it might be a good idea to put some of them on the back-burner, and sleep on it.
Letting someone know that you need to take a break and come back to them won’t necessarily mean the end of your business. Often, it will mean that you have more time to come back to the business ideas you’re considering feeling refreshed, and ready to give a well-informed, confident answer.
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Make Crucial Choices Early
If you know that you have to make an important business decision, schedule that decision at the beginning of your day. Front-load your day with the most important choices as this is when your mind is most refreshed. If you leave your decision-making to later, you will face the day’s stress, impairing your ability to distinguish a good idea from a bad one.
Reduce your Options
One of the biggest examples of decision fatigue is the numerous items on store shelves customers have to choose from. The many product choices leave you grabbing the first thing you see to avoid the complexity of a bigger decision.
If you have a lot of options in front of you, narrow them down into something more manageable before you make an overall decision. It’s far easier to work with a range of three choices, than a collection of 30 possible options.
Go Simple When You Can
When making decisions on business ideas, not all of your choices will be paramount. If some of your decisions aren’t quite as important, choose the simplest option available. Consider what makes you feel less overwhelmed in the moment, and decide based on that information.
Obviously, more complex decisions will require more planning and time to think, but for something more immediate, the path of least resistance is often the most appealing. Try to get past the idea that everything you decide needs to be perfect. You’ll make a few mistakes on the path to success. If most of those mistakes happen around small decisions, you’ll still survive.
Don’t be Distracted
To improve your chances of success, remove yourself from any places or situations that take your focus off the task at hand. For instance, close social media, put your phone to one side, and focus on the proposals in front of you.
If you find that you can focus better in certain places outside of your office, work wherever you feel most inspired and productive. Even the most successful business owners need to take a break from their typical environment and go for a walk so they can refresh their mind and prepare for a big decision.
Supporting the Right Business Ideas
When it comes to running a successful business, you will be presented with good and bad ideas. The best way to make your company a success, is to learn how to differentiate one from the other, and that means making some crucial decisions.
Though not all of the decisions you make will be right for you, sometimes the only way that you can learn is by making a mistake. Still, if you can avoid decision fatigue with the tips above, you should find that choices seem at least a little less overwhelming.