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Decision Fatigue Ep: 037


Episode 37: What Is Decision Fatigue And How To Avoid It.

Hi there, I’m so glad you’re here and Welcome to this episode of She Coaches Coaches.

Let me ask you if this sounds familiar? 

Do you spin in your thoughts? Do you decide and then reconsider and change your mind…? only to go back to what you chose the first time????

It could sound something like this.

Nervous and excited as you get ready for a practice coaching call. What do I say if someone asks me how much I charge for coaching? Ummmmm, well she charges $500 an hour and he charges $ 50…so I could charge $100, after all I am new…oh no, don’t I need a package. Oooh how many sessions maybe 6? 

Ok I charge $600 for 6 sessions. That’s it.   that’s what I’ll tell them.

But I am new, maybe I should give a discount, after all I’ll get to practice coaching and I’m really just a baby coach.  Oh, that seems like a lot of money maybe it should be $500 for 6 sessions ok yup $500 for 6 sessions that’s a good number. 

Indecision, back and forth, deciding and then changing your mind. Spending a ton of time and energy on this one decision.

I’ve seen coaches second guess their decisions repeatedly and they are spending way more time on making decisions than they are in actually creating coaching clients.

Decision making is a skill, and it feels like there’s a lot on the line. We want it to be the “right” decision even though you’ve never been a coach before, you’re in a new chapter of your life or you’re doing something completely different. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about decision making skills lately and I know that it can be uncomfortable. So, over the next few episodes we’ll touch more on decisioning. In the meantime, this episode let’s talk about decision fatigue. It’s very common and negatively affects many of us so it’s worth learning about so you can grow and learn how to manage it. 

Today the topic is decision fatigue. I have to tell you that I experienced some of this decision fatigue when I was deciding the topic for this episode.  It’s actually one of the reasons I settled on it.

I was back and forth, I started, reconsidered, and then switched focus.

Enough already – I figure since I’m still learning to make better decisions, then maybe you are too! So, let’s talk more about decision fatigue.

We’re going to talk about: What it is and how it shows up in your life. How you experience it and the result of living with decision fatigue. Then we’ll cover 6 ways you can avoid (or at least minimize) decision fatigue.

Let’s get started. 

What is this decision fatigue? 

We make hundreds of choices every day. Which show do you want to watch? Do you want pizza or sushi? If you want pizza, where do you want to order it from? Delivery or pick up? What toppings?  What size?

It’s true the choices are endless.

Decision fatigue suggests that we have a finite amount of effective decision-making ability before this resource is depleted for the day.

Think about how many decisions you make even before your day starts:

Should I have another cup of coffee or grab one at Starbucks?

You decided on Starbucks, now you’re at the drive through – what size, flavour, type of coffee. Do I want a caramel macchiato or an americano 2/3 full with cream? Whip? Almond milk.

What should I make for breakfast for the kids?

Do I want to eat breakfast? What would taste good? What do we have in the fridge?

What should I wear to today? What’s clean?

Do I need to do more laundry or take a trip to the cleaners?

Have the kids done their homework?

Have they packed their backpack for the day? 

And on and on it goes.

Essentially, decision fatigue is that our ability to make the best choices run out at some time during the day.

How does it feel? How do you experience it?

At times you might feel overwhelmed, irritated, anxious, stressed, or just plain tired. Other times you may just make a decision to get it off your plate…. any decision. Or you might delegate it to someone else. 

It might sound like this: “Sigh……Whatever, whatever, you want. Whatever you think – it’s fine with me.” 

How do you know you’re experiencing it?

It’s not always easy to know.  But here are some ways it could show up in your life. 

If you’re procrastinating…. “I’ll do it later.” 

Decrease in will power or being impulsive….” oh, whatever…sure super size the fries.”

Avoid…. “I just can’t deal with this right now.” 

In other words, when you feel overloaded you start to withdraw or even shut down.

The result of decision fatigue

 Three common results are:

Poor choices. 

Did you super size the fries when you had planned to have salad. 

Spinning in indecision or second guessing.

It might be that you get stuck in indecision…you make a fast decision, then spend more time and energy second guessing yourself.  Then you change your mind and bounce back and forth between the different options. It’s like watching a game of ping pong as your mind bounces around. 

When you can’t decide what to do, or how it needs to be done and you just can’t muster up the energy to make a start or to keep going. This adds up to a decrease in productivity. 

6 Ways to avoid decision fatigue. 

Here are a few ways you can avoid decision fatigue.

1. Be Aware 

First, being self aware and clear on how you’re thinking, and feeling is always at the top of the list. 

If you’re tired, frustrated, hungry then more than likely you’re not going to make the best decisions, right?

2  Intentionally decrease your choices by reducing your options 

Here are some examples or ways you can approach this: 

Create and wear a “uniform” – now I say that in quotations.  If dressing is one of the ways you creatively express yourself don’t shut it down. However, on days where you know you’ve got lots on the go and you want to “get stuff done” lean on a capsule wardrobe or use outfit formulas to minimize your decisions.

Steve Jobs was famous for this with his black turtleneck and jeans, so is Barack Obama.  My go to when I was in corporate, I used to wear dresses. They always look good, they’re easy to put on and go. Less pieces, less choices.

Think how convenient it is when your kids have to wear a school uniforms, they don’t need to decide what to wear today. The decision is made for them (and you).

Eat the same breakfast every morning. Decide what makes you feel good and energized and make it a habit. Every morning I eat pretty much the same thing…grated zucchini with sun dried tomatoes, egg whites all in a scramble add some avocado for healthy fat and that’s it. I don’t have to think, choose, wonder if I’ve got the ingredients…if it’s time for breakfast I’ve got one thing and that makes it easy.

If you do the morning coffee run order the same thing on the app every morning before you head out.

3. Set up routines

If every morning you like do to a few things to get your day started creating a routine. Instead of choosing what you feel like doing every morning. Hmmm, do I feel like doing yoga? Or maybe I’ll just drink coffee and read a book before I start getting ready for the day.

Choose in advance. Lock it in and then you don’t have to think or decide every morning whether you feel like doing yoga or journaling. 

Every morning I drink coffee, meditate and journal before I start my day. Then when I get up, I don’t have to think about it…. because I’ve already chosen.

You know when I think of routines, I can see some of the value in following that 1960’s homemaker too. Think of what this professional homemaker might have done to create routines.

-Plan your lunches and dinners for the week. Once a week make all the meal choices. Is Thursday taco night? Do you put a slow cooker meal on Monday and now you’ve got meals for a couple of nights?

-Grocery shopping on one day of the week (or even better for the 2021 version: grocery delivery or meal prep kit delivery)

How much of your life can you make into a routine, so you don’t have to decide “what’s for dinner tonight” every afternoon?

4. Make your important decisions early in the day

Work on the important stuff first. Make your choices when you’ve got energy. New coaches, this is the time to make decisions about your practice, when you’re fresh. 

I know there are what seems like endless decisions when you’re starting out. Do I want a Facebook group? What social media platform will I go on? (my advice choose one at most two and specialize) Do you want to blog? Why is this the best option for you? What about podcasting? What will you do to create clients? What kind of networking do you choose?

When faced with a decision, think about what you like and don’t like. Consider how you like to spend your time and how you like to interact with people.  Keep in mind your style and skills. In other words, consider your options, think about them, once you’ve decided on the what also decide why you like this option. 

Decide early in the day, and then once you’ve decided….

5. Stick with it

When you make your decisions, decide why you like it, why you’ve chosen it and then don’t go back and second guess. 

Sticking with it is a new habit that I’ve found so helpful…. I’ll tell myself… oh no Candy you already made that decision. You’re going to do a podcast episode every week. That’s just what we do.

Sticking with it, learning to decide and then practicing liking your decision will free you up to do so much more. 

6. Minimize inputs. Limit your focus.

 What do I mean by this? 

I’m talking directly to you new coaches here. 

Minimize how many people you give your attention to. I regularly go into my email inbox and unsubscribe from newsletters that no longer resonate with me. 

Reduce your time on social media. You can delete the apps off your phone, so you don’t jump on there automatically and start scrolling.

Decide on one or two mentors that you are going to follow and learn from. Understand there are LOTS of ways to create clients and to create a successful coaching business. So…. that means there are hundreds even thousands of people vying for your attention – they want to tell you “their “way. And yes, I’m sure it worked for them…. but you don’t need to spend your energy choosing to watch this masterclass, deciding to buy this small program, or electing whether to sign up for this video challenge.

Choose your mentor, your guide and stick with them. 

Hey, I so appreciate that you’re here as part of my community and I hope you’re applying this stuff too. I hope that these practical podcast episodes help you and support you as you become a coach and create clients.

And if you want more help, maybe you resonate with how I speak and what I share, and you want to work with me. Then we should talk. 

So, if that sounds like you and you want to make faster progress, you’re eager to get your first paying clients and get my help along the way click the link to book a call.

And we’ll decide if we’re ready to work together. 

Alright, that’s it for today. I’m so appreciative that you spent this time with me. 

I’ll be back to talk with you next week.

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