Today’s top executives make hundreds of decisions each day. We marvel at the amount of decisions a Finance Executive and especially Virtual CFOs that act for more than one organisation has to make on a daily basis. Couple the professional decisions with family, friends, health and other life commitments and it begins to add up!
Decision fatigue (a term we recently became familiar with, coined by Roy F. Baumeister) puts forward the concept that there is a finite amount of energy that people have around self-control / making decisions, and therefore trivial decisions throughout the day are depleting that finite store in the same fashion that important decisions are.
Decision fatigue impacts all people, regardless of their level of work. Take for example President Obama who in 2012 told Vanity Fair “You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinise yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia”. President Obama went on to say that he does not want to be caught in decisions about food or clothing and hence only wears grey or blue suits because he has “too many other decisions to make”.
A CFO recently placed by CFO Australia Consulting mentioned they have turned off all social media notifications in the work place, not to be antisocial, but because they were popping up so often and distracting the team from focusing on important work and core decision making.
With technology expected to make things easier and less stressful it appears it’s becoming almost intrusive, with instant pop ups, email alerts and mobile messages, most people expect an answer in an instant.
Striking the balance between what needs to be decided on now and what can wait till tomorrow may assist in creating balance and lessen your own decision fatigue.
We are still working on minimising this decision fatigue on a day-to-day basis and looking for the perfect blueprint.