Decision fatigue is a real thing and it hits many female CEOs, especially if you’re a mom. This comes up a lot in the household. Your spouse will say, “Just tell me what you need me to do” and while they mean well, you’re so overwhelmed, you don’t know how to instruct them or what to tell them. It feels like it would take longer to explain, and since you’re short on time, it’s just easier to do it yourself. But really, you’re drowning.
This happens inside your business, too. Your virtual assistant says, “Just tell me what you need and I’ll do it! I want to help you!” but you are overwhelmed and can’t add anything else to your plate. So the idea of coming up with a list of things for them to do just makes you think, “I’ll just do it myself.”
Decision fatigue often hits when you’re forced to make a lot of quick decisions. It really becomes a problem when you’re backed into being reactive. There, you make a lot of decisions to try to get yourself back to neutral and aren’t able to proactively make decisions that will move the needle long-term in your business.
If you’re drowning in decision fatigue and don’t know how to find a life raft big enough (or maybe you need one that’s strong enough…or maybe one that’s the right color… see what I’m doing here!), let’s chat about how to get out of that highly-reactive situation so you can start to proactively shape your business.
Why Is It Hard to Make Decisions
As I mentioned before, you may struggle to make decisions because you’re being reactive. You feel like your hair’s on fire and you have to play catch-up just to get to a space where you can breathe. It’s like you’re operating in the red and try as you might, can’t get to the green.
You may also struggle with being overwhelmed. There are so many choices, you get overwhelmed at picking one of them and so you shut down. This could be related to a fear of “choosing the wrong thing” or analysis paralysis. When that happens, you stay in indecision for so long, that it’s like your hand is forced. You now have to quickly react instead of having a runway to take your time.
Whatever the case, we see you and understand that it’s a hard place to be in. Operating in this “red” space feels like a vice is gripping your chest and you can’t take a deep, calm breath. (Here at Prestridge and Co, we love to help you breathe deeper, especially if you don’t have to make 1,000 decisions first!)
3 Steps to Shift out of Decision Fatigue for Easier Decision-Making
Of course, decision fatigue is right there, waiting for that moment of “I’ll just do it myself instead of trying to tell someone what to do.” Decision fatigue loves when you get overwhelmed. But we don’t!
This works because it allows you to see everything in one space rather than looping and agonizing over everything in your head. When you keep a running list of all the things in your head, it feels much more overwhelming (and you run the risk of forgetting something important). So, to shift out of the overwhelmed, fatigued state, follow these steps.
Step 1: Recognize That You’re Here
The first step is always awareness. Having awareness is so important before making any change. It’s also important before making a decision. You have to understand that no decision is a decision. (What a fun catch-22!)
Step 2: Make a List
We’re big fans of doing a brain dump. Getting all of the stuff out of your head and onto paper makes it so much easier to sort through and see which things are important, which are things only you can do, which you can delete or delegate, and which are just fluff taking up space.
Step 3: Categorize Your List
Now that you have everything out of your head, draw a big line through anything that’s just taking up space and isn’t a decision of any kind you have to make. (It’s like purging the broken toys before sorting through your kids’ toy boxes to make it easier to see what’s still there.)
Next, circle or mark the decisions you have to make this week. Here’s the catch: It has to truly happen this week because there’s a deadline, not because you’re putting an arbitrary due date on it. Move those decisions into your calendar or planner to take action on those during your scheduled CEO time. Better yet, tell your executive virtual assistant to make them tasks for you to do and set the deadline a day before they have to be done.
Then, highlight or mark in a different color the tasks that only you can do. Things like doing client work, brainstorming, and visionary CEO work. These are things you want to do but aren’t hair-on-fire, gotta-do-it-now things. Save this for later.
Finally, circle or mark in another color all the things that you can delegate. You don’t have to know how you’ll do that or to whom you’ll ask to do these things, just be aware that they are actions someone needs to take. Cross off all that you can let go of.
Bonus Step: Keep Your List Clean
Now that you’ve gotten to this space of clearing off tasks so you can get to neutral and aren’t in the red decision fatigue zone anymore, let’s keep it that way! Working with a Prestridge and Co EVA will help you stay out of decision fatigue because we’re trained in working with you and your unique business processes.
Starting with a Systems setup, we’ll go through everything you’re already using to run your business and upgrade, enhance, or cancel systems so you can take a deep breath. Then, your EVA is trained in how you do things. That way, you don’t have to tell them what to do. Our EVAs know based on the training that our team gives them. (They’ll also have the list of things that you need to delegate to get them started!)
If you’re interested in working with an Executive Virtual Assistant to provide support, and you want to know what an EVA can do for you, click here to download The Ultimate Guide for Leveraging EVA Support, or go here to learn more about working with us!