Your Second Most Valuable Personal Resource

Barrack Obama has one colour of suit. That way he doesn’t have to spend any time in the morning decision which shoes, belt, tie, or shirt match. They all do. Fewer decisions to make at the beginning of the day. He also has the same breakfast every day. He has more important things to do, apparently.

It’s part of his personal strategy of reducing decision fatigue. He learned that the more decision you make in a day, the worse each next decision is. So he’s spent years reducing trivial decisions he makes keep his strength for the more important, complex, and challenging ones.

Making decisions burns energy. Holding two or more options in your mind and comparing them is one of the most expensive executive activities our brain engages in. Stress, poor nutrition, poor fitness, and insufficient sleep will also contribute to a fatigued brain.

Making Good Decisions

We have only so much energy we have for decision-making during a day. The more fatigued we are the poorer decisions we make, and the more easily we fall into decision-making traps. Which contributes to stress, lack-of-sleep, etc.
It’s kind of the opposite of a self-licking ice-cream cone. It’s more like a death spiral.

One of the frequent complaints I hear from busy executives and managers “lack of time”. When we dig a little deeper if often comes down lack of focus and poor time-management habits. They’re trying to everything and end up accomplishing nothing. Currently I have nine clients, seven of whom are doing well. Who’s businesses are growing and improving as we work together.

Take Care of Yourself

Most of them are physically active and robust. They’ve learned to take care of themselves. They exercise, they eat well, they don’t smoke (except for the occasion cigar when on vacation in Cuba), they have good sleep habits, and they don’t drink to excess.

smoking ncoYou don’t have to do all these things to be a good leader. Being perfect is not a prerequisite to success. Goodness knows I’ve met a few smoking, drinking, swearing men and women that get the job done and have the respect of their team. Even been one on occasion. But it’s harder.

Business is not Olympic diving. You don’t get points for difficulty.

Eat That Frog

If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, you can go through the rest of the day knowing that probably nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. The frog in this case might be the thing you’ve been procrastinating about the most, or that task that will have the greatest positive impact on you life right now.

Tackle tackles things first, and and second things not at all. Tackle the work that requires your best focus and brain-power when you’re at you’re best. And if you have two big frogs to eat, eat the biggest, ugliest, oldest one first.

Guard Your Brain

Husband your decision-making energy carefully. Guard it jealously like you guard your time. Be conscious of your physical and emotional states, and how they affect your behaviour and decisions.

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Consensus versus Decision Making, and Why You Need Both

So I’m at the cottage this week, internet’s been out for a day and only intermittent now. So in honour of my vacation and spending time with the family I’m going to share an article I wrote for RESULTS.com last month. It’s all about the difference between consensus and making decisions.

Hope you’re having a great summer too.

Bernie works as a leadership and business coach, consultant, and facilitator. He believes there are simple things outstanding leaders do well, and that not to do anything about bad leadership once you know about it is abuse. Check out what he does with RESULTS.com