As entrepreneurs start and grow their business, they are invariably the decision makers. Many of these decisions are important with significant ramifications to the business, and yet they must be made quickly and accurately. How one manages their time and energy affects the quality of the decisions made. This article will outline several strategies to ensure productive conditions for making decisions.
Are there tasks someone else can do equally well or better? As a decision-maker, your priority is to make decisions. While maintaining social media channels or filing invoices are vital, they can be readily outsourced. If there is too much routine work to get through, consider hiring a new team member. This frees up your time and gives you more focus to make decisions.
Routine tasks, and especially those which are tech-based, can often be automated. There are many readily-available services as well as outsourcing and in-house solutions. Two examples are Zapier, which connects your web apps and saves time on data entry and pulling, and Buffer, a marketing tool which manages your accounts across various social networks. The benefit of automation is eliminating time spent on tasks which are unlikely to add new value to the business so that you can repurpose your time for more valuable pursuits.
The cost that may be involved is the time and money to set up an automation system. While this may be expensive in the short-term, it is only a one-time expense, but yields ongoing time savings. Additionally, as your firm grows, time savings from automation scale too.
3. Eliminate Simple Decisions
High-profile decision makers such as Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg are famous for wearing the same type of clothes every day. Zuckerberg has even outsourced the decision of what he eats for breakfast. If they woke up every morning needing to decide on such matters, it would detract from their ability to make decisions on much more important things. ‘Decision fatigue’ is the phenomenon of deteriorating decision-making quality after a long session of decision making. Eliminating trivial decisions leverages the quality of decision making. Start by reducing ‘unnecessary’ decisions, such as by laying out your clothes for work the night before.
Predictable routines also reduce decision fatigue as they lessen the amount of new context and stimuli to work with. Create and stick to a simple routine, such as waking up the same time every morning, working at the same desk, and scheduling the same job hours every day. Entrepreneurs enjoy the freedom of flexibility that comes with building their company, and this freedom can still be enjoyed. However, sticking to routine gives structure, and structure leads to focus, which ultimately improves the ability to make decisions.
4. Prepare Everything the Night Before
At the end of each day, write down a list of what you plan to achieve the next day and set up your workspace accordingly. Having everything in order means that you can jump straight into your tasks the next morning when it might take a longer time to find what you need. This both saves time in the morning and also defines a clear context for decision making as you start the day productively right from the word go.
To prepare, check your schedule for the next day. Make sure that all required notes and reports are ready to go. Take this time to print them if necessary. Check your emails to see any last-minute items to consider. If there are odd jobs that can be knocked off within 10 minutes, do them right then and there, as it will probably take longer just to write a reminder to yourself and then sit down the next day to do it.
5. Avoid Analysis Paralysis
Decision-making is tough, and no one wants to be responsible for wrong decisions, but it is a constant necessity for entrepreneurs and leaders. There isn’t always as much information as we think we need, but any decision is often better than no decision. Making quick assessments pushes the pace of growth without stalling progress, and if they turn out to be wrong, they become great learning opportunities.
Analysis paralysis is the act of over-analysing a situation resulting in wasted time and opportunities to leverage progress. Many entrepreneurs start with a ‘ready, aim, fire’ approach but it soon turns into a ‘ready, aim, aim, aim…’ situation. To avoid, this, try changing the order of this process to ‘ready, fire, aim,’ and manage the consequences as they come. The advantage of this is that decisions are made quicker and growth continues to develop, but the downside is that you might make more mistakes along the way. As you practice striking a balance between these two factors, you will become better at making decisions that are both timely and accurate.
Breaking new ground often comes with a unique set of challenges and decisions. The challenge is made greater by the fact that the sorts of decisions you must make are those you’ve never come across before, coupled with how time-intensive a new venture is. By delegating tasks away and automating them too, getting rest and avoiding decision fatigue, preparing ahead and making quick assessments, you are right on track for developing efficient habits to make quality decisions.
What strategies do you employ to make decisions more efficiently? Let us know your thoughts on LegalVision’s Twitter page.