How to Make Precision Decisions

Decision Fatigue.

You know it. You feel it.

It’s that moment when you walk in the door and your spouse asks what you want for dinner…and you freeze. With all of the choices in the world, you can pick anything and yet, you refuse to choose.

You’ve been making decisions all day long; from the time you got out of bed and decided what to wear, to decisions at work, to the route you decided to take home to avoid the traffic. Your brain is fried and there is just no way you are going to make another decision until you can recharge. So, you think you’re smart and you say, “whatever you want.” Of course, the non-decision is not a great strategy because your spouse has also had a day of heavy decision making and he or she says in a much louder and not as welcoming tone, “WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR DINNER?” So, you blurt out the first thing that comes to mind and say, chicken, but that was a bad move because you had chicken last night and how could you possibly forget that? So, after a 10 minute stand-off, you settle on pizza. But, of course, which pizza? Umbertos has fantastic grandma pizza, but Gino’s has the better crust and more garlic on their garlic knots. Of course if we go with Sicilian, it has to be Little Vincent’s. So, another 10 minutes to decide which kind of pizza. Of course, after you call and place the order for delivery you realize you gave up pizza because white flour plays havoc with your insides, but at this point, you don’t care because it’s done and you don’t have to decide anything else for the night. You’ll just deal with the consequences later.

Of course, there is a reason for this behavior. Decision fatigue is defined as the deteriorating quality of decisions after a long session of decision making. Making a decision when you are tired actually enhances your odds of making a wrong decision. So, how do we make more precise, consistent decisions that will have a greater chance for positive outcomes in the short and long term for ourselves, families, teams and companies?

You are a brand, and great brands limit their options by making commitments, not choices. Commitments are proactively planned choices that remove all other options. Decide. The root word in decide is “cide,” which originates from the Latin word caedere meaning “to kill or cut off.” So, when you decide, you kill or cut off all other options. One choice. A commitment.  

In your work and life, your personal brand will be defined by the quality of the decisions you make and the actions you take based on those choices. So, a few suggestions to help you make better, more precise decisions in your life to strengthen your brand and your reputation:

1) Make your most important personal and professional decisions in the morning while your brain is still open to all possibilities.
2) Approach your decisions, not as making the perfect choice, but more like “killing off” options until you have only one left. A good decision today is better than a perfect decision a month from now.
3) Make commitments instead of choices. Choices are influenced by emotions, and emotions aren’t always the best decision drivers. If they were, I’d be eating pizza every night.

Stand for Your Brand,

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