You don’t leave your truck running all day, do you? That doesn’t make sense. You use it to get where you need to go but you don’t leave it idling for hours when not in use.
But there is a precious resource in your business that you might be wasting in a similar way, throwing it away constantly without using it properly. Few contractors realize that there’s a more efficient way to use this resource.
The resource I’m talking about is your decision-making ability.
Yes, it is a limited resource: Research shows that people only have so much willpower and decision-making ability in a day. As the day wears on, our willpower and decision-making ability drop; they get used up. After they get used up, we either delay the decision, take longer to make good decisions, or get frustrated as we make bad decisions.
Problem is, you force yourself to make way more decisions each day (inefficiently) and use your decision-making ability on inconsequential decisions so that the more important decisions are harder to make.
Want to know why the late Steve Jobs famously wore the same type of clothes every day? It’s because he knew that decisions are limited each day and he didn’t want to expend even a single moment of decision-making on that inconsequential decision. Mark Zuckerberg’s uniform of choice may not appeal to everyone but it’s chosen for the same purpose.
When you eliminate the inconsequential decisions and focus your decision-making ability on only the important decisions, you will get more done each day, find more enjoyment and fulfillment in your work, feel less tired when you get home, and make fewer mistakes and better business-growing decisions every day.
Here are some tips to help you eliminate the inconsequential decisions and focus only on the important ones:
· Build routines and a strict schedule into your day, such as wearing the same type of clothes every day, or eating the same breakfast every day, or taking the same route to work every day, so that you don’t waste your limited decision-making ability on these.
· Create systems to help you and your team operate some or all of your day-to-day work.
· Eat healthy, get fit, drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep, and make decisions on a full stomach. Your body is a machine and the “input=output” rule is true for your body. We often separate the body and the mind but better decisions happen when your body is finely tuned.
· Schedule your decision-making time. It’s easy to try to fill in some blank spots here and there on your schedule with those important decisions. (“I’ll think about the new marketing strategy when I have a couple minutes at the end of the day today.”) But you should schedule the important decisions for when you are at your best. Everyone knows that you make easier, better decisions at 10:00 in the morning on a Monday than you do at 3:30 in the afternoon on a Friday.
· Be aware of decisions you make in the day and learn to weigh in your mind whether they are important or not. Decide what kind of decision it is (urgent? important? neither?) and deal with it accordingly.
· Use ongoing training to help employees make better decisions on their own without your help.
· Empower your leaders and managers to take some of the pressure off of you by making their own decisions. This will be hard for some contractors but you will free up so much of your time for business growth if you can get over yourself and the importance you place on your own decision-making ability.
· Create a decision-making flowchart. Identify the key criteria in your business and life that needs to be considered with every decision. Customers and employees and the owners of the company are three such stakeholders who experience the impact of nearly every decision you make. I’ve developed my own Decision-Making Criteria on Amazon for those who want to know what I use.)
You wouldn’t waste fuel by idling your truck all day, so why waste your limited decision-making abilities on unnecessary, irrelevant, and inconsequential decisions? It just doesn’t make sense. Every decision you make is one less than you can make in a day, and you don’t want to run out of decision-making ability only to come face-to-face with a game-changing decision that you choose poorly.
Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to change how you make decisions, allowing you to put more focus into the right decisions at the right time. This simple, almost invisible, change to your day will surprise you with the impact it can have.
Mike Agugliaro is the “Business Warrior” and founder of CEO Warrior, a business consulting, training and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small- to mid-sized businesses from achieving their ultimate success. He has played a key role in building and selling Gold Medal Service, New Jersey’s largest and most respected home service company. For more information about CEO Warrior, visit www.CEOWARRIOR.com.