🤔 Combating Decision Fatigue

Decision fatigue is a real thing. We all have a finite daily capacity for making decisions. Stewarding that capacity is a key part of success in the nonprofit world, and I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way.

Small orgs

If you’re in a small organization you can’t really share the burden and lessen the demands on your decision-making capacity. But there are still a few things you can do to make your capacity stretch a little further.

Pre-decide.
Write policies and rules for common situations, problems, questions, or requests. Make the decisions in advance so when you get the question, you already know what the answer will be.

Canned responses.
Write up the responses for common situations where you need to say no: Job inquiries, meetings, etc. Even when the decision is easy, it takes mental energy to write a cordial rejection message.

It’s all relative
When faced with a decision, think about how much time it warrants. Five minutes to reply to an email? Or two hours to draft a lengthly letter explaining why? Give the decision the amount of time it deserves, and not a minute more.

Not small orgs

If you have a bigger team, the key to combating decision fatigue is to share burden.

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate.
Empower your team to make decisions and save your bandwidth for the truly important decisions that only you can make, and that you must get right. If someone else can make it, and/or the consequences of a wrong decision or low, then delegate it.

Successful delegated decisions require:

  • Framework with clear plan, strategy, values, etc.
  • Constant iteration to reflect and learn after decisions are made and consequences become apparent. Building Trust
  • Separate decision from person
  • Show and share your own failures