I’m so excited to have Lauren share all of her decision-making expertise with you! I met Lauren earlier this year at Laylee Emadi’s creative educator conference in dallas and was blown away by the talk she gave! This is where I was formally introduced to the idea of Decision Fatigue.
Everyone meet Lauren: “I’m a decision coach, so I help overthinkers make easier, more confident decisions through 1:1 coaching and strategic decision guides.” You can find her on Instagram here.
As a thank you for listening to this episode, Lauren has a free printable to help you decide what to eat or what to wear when you’re struggling with decision fatigue. You can download that at the special link, laurenblack.com/outlast
Have you ever renovated a house and had to make a ton of decisions… which tile to go with, what color for the walls, which hardware for the cabinets, squared edges or round. Or perhaps you’ve had to pack for a trip and had to decide what to pack if it’s cold, what if it’s hot, what special activities will you be doing and need to pack for, and if you’re a parent, what will the kids need? And by the end of the day when your hubby asks what you want for dinner, you just literally can’t make one more decision… just pick something for me! I am DONE!
That is decision fatigue… when you’ve had to make so many decisions that your brain capacity for making decisions diminishes over the course of the day and leaves you overwhelmed and empty or just unable to make any more rational decisions.
Research shows that the average adult makes 35,000 decisions a day! Most of those are subconscious, but they all contribute to decision fatigue.
There are 4 steps you can take to help relieve some of the stress of decision-making, especially with smaller decisions, so you can save your brain capacity for working through the ones you actually need to think about.
Your closet, shoes, camera lenses. If you have less to choose from, it’ll make the decisions easier.
You can even limit the number of choices you let yourself compare. If you’re deciding which email software to go with, do some initial research on what other photographers use, then pick 2 or at most 3 to deep dive into. Don’t watch youtube tutorials and look up reviews on 10 different platforms!! Trust your gut instinct first to pick your top choices, then trust your brain to research the rest.
I use this technique at restaurants. I used to get so overwhelmed when looking at big menus, especially when out with friends and we’re talking more than looking at the menu. So rather than looking through every single menu item, I go to a category or item I know I like (such as enchiladas at a Mexican restaurant) and compare maybe two items. I don’t even look at the rest of the menu.
For culling images… if you’re that torn on which shot was better between two almost identical images or very similar poses, either keep them both or just pick one and go. Keep in mind, your client won’t want to have to decide between them either, especially if they’re uploading to social where all they see is the thumbnail. But also remember that your client won’t know what other images were out there, so they won’t really be missing out.
Did someone you trust to suggest a specific lens that they love? Why spend hours watching youtube videos and reading reviews and comparing options when you could take their advice, choose that one, and move on! And sure, some things should require more research and you want to make sure it’s a good fit for you, but when possible, take someone’s tried and true advice and move forward.
No, this does not mean to text your business bestie with every outfit choice or every equipment option and force them to pick for you… this means assigning the task to someone else.
A close friend of mine who is a photographer had her brother and office manager cull for her since she took too long and couldn’t decide between images. Her brother would look for technical things, like making sure the eyes were in focus, but then after that, he wasn’t as emotionally attached to the poses themselves and would get through them sooo much faster!
If you’re stuck on what to post to social or which images to use on your blog, hire an assistant to pick for you. Make that their responsibility.
Go through your closet and pick out certain outfits you’ll use for shooting — cold weather, warm weather, etc.
Steve Jobs wore the same black turtleneck every day to help eliminate decision fatigue.
Make a social media content calendar to give you post ideas.
Strategize your marketing content for the quarter.
So now you’ll have more brain energy for the bigger decisions like what packages to offer your clients, what conferences to attend, whether to leave your day job, etc.
Lauren offers a few different ways to work with her: she has an online resource shop with guides that help you work through different types of decisions with her signature SAIL method.
You can also book a 30 or 90-minute coaching call with her, depending on what kind of decision you need to make.
I believe that pros and cons lists don’t help with decision-making. In fact, they can often make the decision harder. You could have a list with 3 pros and 10 cons, but if those cons are insignificant, the 3 pros might outweigh the 10 cons. Or you could have a list with 10 pros and just one con, but that con could be a deal-breaker. You need to look at your priorities and what really matters to you, more than just the pros and cons.
My deep-dive decision guide actually uses a chart that helps you weigh your decisions with a point system. So for your most important factors, the pros are worth 50 or 100 points while the cons are worth -50 or -100. Your less-important factors are rated with lower points. That way you can put a number value to your pros and cons, rather than just counting the total number of pros vs total cons.
Don’t forget to grab the free infographic that you can print out and keep in your closet and your kitchen to help you decide what to make for dinner or what to wear when you’re in a bind. They’re super fun and are great for when you just don’t want to make any more decisions that day! You can find that at laurenblack.com/outlast
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a small commission. Keep in mind that I will only ever share about companies that I truly believe in.
How to make a decision | What do I do | How do I decide | Decision fatigue
February 28, 2023