Thursday, October 01, 2015

Decision Fatigue, Part 3

Sculpture: Time to Let Go...
Time to Let Go...
If you've just come across this four-part series, here are links to part 1 and part 2.

In part 2, one of the resources was to a mind sweep exercise.  The mind sweep exercise can be considered the groundwork for the planning and review process, which we often fail to do well. I had a client years ago where the client project team was continually remaking the same decisions over and over again, because they had not fully planned their work. Imagine the stress of knowing that a decision is not final and that it will get re-discussed and re-made at every meeting?

As a corporate librarian, I frequently got into the office early and had 10-20 minutes before the start of the day to review and plan.  As a consultant, I generally used Sunday evenings as the time to look at the week again and get organized. As an academic, I have not set aside dedicated time for review and planning, which is impacting me. That time is important. During that time, we cannot only see what needs to be done, but also understand what decisions need to be made and by whom.

Let me focus on "by whom" for a moment. You know of decisions that need to be made, but do you know who is the correct person to make that decision? Does that person know that he/she is supposed to make that decision? Since more of our requests for decisions are made through email, be more purposeful in how to write them and in noting what the decision is and who is supposed to make it. If there are multiple people on the email, that let's everyone know that information and likely will relieve anxiety among those who wonder if the decision is theirs.

In addition to the mind sweep and specific times for planning/review, our minds need down time. That times when you aren't consciously making decisions. For me, that is time walking from here to there. Amazingly, even though I'm not consciously making decisions then, I will often find clarity on an issue or decision, and that was clarity that wasn't coming to me when my mind was filled with a myriad of different details.

Before this day ends, I want you to do two things. First, look at your calendar and find time in the next week to do a mind sweep and to do some planning (those might be two different events on your calendar). Second, go for a walk. It could be a walk around your building, up and down the stairs, or outdoors. Walk for five minutes (or more) and give your mind some down time. It will thank you for it!

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