Have you ever wondered why you often see the worlds most successful people repeating their wardrobe on a regular basis despite money being no object?
Well believe it or not a ‘capsule wardrobe’ is far from unusual with successful people, just look at President Barack Obama’s suits, Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodies and the late Steve Job’s famous black turleneck. The President has even been quoted saying ‘You’ll see I only wear gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions and I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or what I’m wearing’, with Zuckerberg agreeing that one less frivolous decision in the morning leads to better decisions on things that really matter.
According to a study from Columbia University, the average person is tied down with at least 70 decisions each day. Some can be minor, such as food choices while others decisions can be more difficult, not to mention life changing for yourself as those around you.
Whether you work for yourself, freelance or manage a team, being able to make quick, focused decisions is imperative to your success. If you were to spend 10 minutes on every small decision that you needed to make each day nothing would ever get done and this may mean the failure of your business/ project/ team. On the flip side, a bigger decision may need some time, but should still be decided upon in a timely manner.
Here are some of my tips for you and all of them are derived from the habits of successful people.
Make The Most Important Decisions First Thing in The Morning
If you have a big decision to make that could change the way your company/ team operates then it is best not to leave this type of decision to the end of the day. Make sure you make your biggest and/ or your most strenuous decisions in the morning when you are fresh and energized and leave your least important decisions to the end of the day.
Making big calls in the morning can set you up for a productive day ahead whereas starting small and then dwelling on the bigger things may leave you feeling stressed, indecisive and more exhausted.
Turn Your Smaller Decisions Into Routines
When you are in the gym working a muscle, the more reps you do the more fatigued your muscle gets and the same principal apply to your mind.
With that in mind, I suggest that you turn your smaller, everyday tasks into a routine to help avoid peaking too earlier and struggling with mental exhaustion for the rest of the day.
For example, have an alarm set for the same time every morning. Wake up, go to the gym, come home, shower, dress, eat the same breakfast that you ate yesterday and then jump in the car to get to work.
See, you have now achieved 8 tasks in the space of 90 minutes to 2 hours with minimal stress. You didn’t think about what you had to do, you just did it while maximizing your time prior to going into the office, not to mentioned your health and your energy levels thanks to the early morning workout.
Programming yourself to autopilot when it comes to simple decisions is not a bad thing. It is taking unnecessary stress out of your mind and allows you to focus on the bigger decisions that really matter.
Pay Attention To Your Emotions
According to a study by TalentSmart, only 36% of us are able to accurately identify our emotions as they happens, so if you are a strong decision maker, it is important to recognize that a bad mood may make you stray from your morals or your goals, while a good mood many make you over confident.
To avoid making emotional decisions, it helps to weigh up your options against a pre- determined guideline or set or criteria. This will make the decision process easier and more effective and it should help you to identify an impulsive decision.
Having guidelines in place helps you keep on track with business goals and also lessens the burden on you when it comes to the big decisions.
Don’t Wait Too Long To Make A Decision
While you should know enough about your role to make small decisions on the fly, a bigger decision may require more deliberation. You may want to run it by a mentor or you may want to sleep on it, but at the end of the day, taking too long to decide on something may cause some distrust within your team and it will stop you from moving forward.
The key with big decisions is to set a deadline. Once you have a date in mind in which your decision needs to be made do your homework and strive to have a decision made by then.
Take Care of You
According to the APS 2015 report on stress and wellbeing, anxiety symptoms are at the highest that they have been in the past 5 years with 35% of Australians reportedly having significant levels of distress in their lives and 26% reporting moderate to extreme levels of depression.
When you are stressed your cortisol levels rise producing a chemical that triggers a fight or flight response. Cortisol clouds your ability to think clearly so if you are stressed about making a decision, I suggest going out to do a quick workout as that will help to neutralize the negative side affects and get you thinking clearly again.
Being in a consistent state of stress will only burn you out, so make sure you factor in some time to work on your wellbeing. Make sure you are exercising, drinking a lot of water, minimizing caffeine and ensuring that you have some low impact activities booked in such as yoga, meditation or even just a slow stretch to help wind yourself down after a busy day of work.