It’s easy to think about the cost of making the “wrong” decision. We often forget to look at the cost of indecision… the cost of standing still and the cost of not moving forward.
In this episode, I’m sharing how to escape indecision fatigue and why we stay in confusion (even though it’s so frustrating).
And I give you a practical exercise you can use to create massive amounts of mental clarity today.
It’s time to start creating the life you deserve.
Also, I invite you into Perfectionists Getting Shit Done (aka. PGSD) before the doors close on 17 September 2023 at 11:59pm New York time. Sign up here: samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.
In case you didn’t know, PGSD is my group coaching program for perfectionists who are building businesses. The PGSD Process will get you out of your own way in your business and have you making more money more easily.
You can use the helpful frameworks for decision-making I share in this episode to make a decision if you’ll be joining us inside of PGSD for this cohort.
Tune in now!
Find the full episode transcript and show notes at samlaurabrown.com/episode422.
In This Episode You’ll Learn:
- What creates indecision fatigue
- Why indecision and confusion keep us safe
- Why you can never make the ‘wrong’ decision
- How to use personal rules to reduce indecision fatigue
- Helpful frameworks for decision making (beyond the pros vs cons list)
- A simple exercise you can do today to escape decision fatigue
Featured In The Episode:
- Sign up for Perfectionists Getting Shit Done (PGSD) – samlaurabrown.com/pgsd (*Doors close on 17 September 2023)
- Take the perfectionism quiz: samlaurabrown.com/quiz
- Sign up for daily Perfectionist Power-Ups – samlaurabrown.com/power
- Follow me on Instagram @perfectionismproject
Announcement: PGSD is open for enrollment for one week only
My 12-month group coaching program Perfectionists Getting Shit Done (aka PGSD) will teach you how to plan properly as a perfectionist and get out of your own way. Inside you’ll get the coaching and productivity tools so you can create sustainable, long-term productivity and build your business to $100k and beyond.
The doors to PGSD are now officially open for one week only. To find out more about the program and sign up before the doors close at 11:59pm New York Time on 17 September, click here: samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.
Listen To The Episode
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FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
Hi and welcome to another episode of The Perfectionism Project. A podcast full of perfectionism advice for entrepreneurs. My name is Sam Laura Brown, I help entrepreneurs release their perfectionism handbrake, so they can get out of their own way and build a fulfilling and profitable business. I’m the founder of the Perfectionist Getting Shit Done group coaching program, which is otherwise known as PGSD. And for even more perfectionism advice to help you with your business. You can follow me on Instagram @perfectionismproject.
Sam Laura Brown
In this episode, I want to share with you how to escape indecision fatigue, this is what I’m calling it. When you have the fatigue that comes with not making a decision, there is fatigue that comes with making decisions. It is known in the personal development wealth as decision fatigue. And this is often when we’re making lots of little decisions. And it means that we’re using our decision making bandwidth for things that are insignificant. And so when it comes to the big stuff, it’s hard to actually draw upon or find the mental energy that’s needed to do that.
But indecision fatigue, it’s a thing I’ve gorged myself and hundreds of clients at this point on how to escape indecision fatigue. And so I wanted to share with you some advice on that this actually is coming from an episode that I recorded in early 2019. And it is going to just if you’ve been maybe, for example, deciding about PGSD, whether to sign up, we are open this week only and the doors are closing at 11:59pm, New York time on the 17th of September. So you will need to decide about that very soon if you are wanting to join us for this next cohort.
But maybe there are other things as well that you have just been undecided about. Amin and only in about maybe you tend to be someone who is indecisive. It takes you a long time to make decisions. And then you change them quickly in second guessed that, like that’s very common for perfectionist. and decision making is something we really talk a lot about and work on inside PGSD. Because when we are in indecision, fatigue, or when we’re not being decisive, or we’re making decisions so quickly, because we don’t trust ourselves to actually be able to sit with a decision and act on it powerfully later, when we are doing that our perfectionism handbrake is on we’re getting in our own way.
So in the PGSD process, in the later parts of that we do look at really being able to create the self trust and self confidence in order to make decisions in a powerful way. But I wanted to share this with you on the podcast, because it is going to just help to relieve some of the mental load you might have from having so many unmade decisions hanging over you like if you have so many mental tabs open that you could easily close. And it’s just because you haven’t made a simple decision, whether it’s a big life decision, or whether it’s something smaller, I want to help you with this episode, to be able to close those times and have that mental energy to be able to move yourself forward.
And know to that, like we’ve just had the Planning series go out on the podcast, obviously, we talk about power planning a lot, that having planning, like having a planning tool that is going to help you be decisive and see why you’re being undecided, is so powerful, it’s going to help you build your self trust as well like when you’re planning in a way that works for your perfectionist brain, it’s going to help you build self trust, which makes it so much easier to make decisions.
So I do want to invite you into PGSD, if this is something that you can relate to. Because obviously, when you are running a business, there are so many decisions that need to be made. Especially if a maybe like me, like I did well in the school environment. And working for a boss like you have someone who’s telling you what to do and when to do it. And clearly defining what success looks like and a lot of perfectionist, even though we can put pressure on ourselves. And we have, you know, we still have things last minute and things like that, that we like having those things clearly defined. And it is a skill that anyone can learn. But it is a skill to be able to define those things for yourself.
So that you can confidently prioritize working on your business that you know that the time you’re putting in is going to pay off, you need to actually be able to decide what does success look like? What am I going to do? What am I not going to do. And if you aren’t actually planning in a way that helps you see where you are getting in your own way. Like if you don’t have a productivity tool that not only helps you get shit done, but helps you to see where you are getting in your own way and can also be that self coaching tool.
It is going to be really hard to create the parameters and container that you need to with your business, to be able to be successful, to be able to keep moving forward to have boundaries in your life. So you’re not always like half in half out of your business. You want to be able to build that skill of being decisive, even in the face of uncertainty or incomplete information or there being 52 ways to do things. Because in business is not like school. It’s so important that you really understand that.
Just because you did well in school with your perfectionist tendencies, it doesn’t mean that’s going to work in business, you are going to burn yourself out for sure. But also, if you are someone who tends to do things at the last minute, or you over prepare until the last minute, then you need to be able to decide when done is done, you need to be able to decide what is important to you, and what isn’t important to you. And power planning and having your growth goal really helps you with that.
So when I recorded this episode, in early 2019, I don’t mention power planning, I don’t mention the growth goal. I don’t mention it planning properly as a perfectionist, because I hadn’t yet developed those tools to be able to help with this. And now that I have those tools, I want to make sure you know about them, and that you’re invited inside PGSD to be able to get full access and support with them. But I want to make sure as well for anyone listening to the podcast, even if you don’t join us inside PGSD that you know about indecision fatigue, and you’re able to just release some of that mental load that you might have.
I also want to mention as well that in this episode, I have left in mentions of some of my old programs, one called figure your life out. And one on one coaching, I think I mentioned. And I wanted to leave this in for a reason, even though those things aren’t offered anymore. Because sometimes we perfectionist, we don’t make the decision to start. Because we don’t want to have to change once we’ve started like we want that perfect start. And we see it as failure. If we need to update our decision, if we need to iterate on it, if we need to evolve, it’s just this kind of idea. Like I don’t want to be seen to need to change because that is, for example, change my niche, or change my business model, because that is me displaying my inadequacy.
And it’s just so not the case. And I hope that by me sharing publicly on the podcast, like over the years, you can go back and really see documentation of the evolution of my business. But I wanted to leave it in this episode just as a little reminder to you that my business has evolved over time, and that I didn’t always have PGSD. I wasn’t always doing group coaching. I wasn’t even always coaching entrepreneurs, I’ve always been coaching perfectionist. But before I had a successful business, I wasn’t coaching explicitly on entrepreneurship, because I was still figuring that out.
I mean, I still have a lot to learn. But now I’m at a very different place with entrepreneurship, and I can coach on it really effectively. But when I was still in those months of making, like trying to get to my first 10k month and then six figure year, and not that you can’t coach a business, when you’re at that point, but I really enjoyed those points of my journey was coaching on perfectionism coming up in all kinds of ways in your career, in your fitness in your health, it was just generally on perfectionism, even though it was kind of always about business, because always sharing my business stuff.
But all of that to say in this episode, I’m talking explicitly about business in so many ways. But at the same time, I’m giving some examples of career and other things. And again, just a reminder, that it’s okay to evolve and to be seen to do that publicly. And I hope that by me sharing traces of my evolution, and I will continue to do that and that my niche has evolved and who I help in the way that I help them. And what I call the business like all of that has changed if I had tried to start the business at the point I’m at now like to skip ahead and start when I have the podcast called The perfectionism project.
And I have a group coaching program called PGSD. And I teach people power planning and the growth goal like I would not have been able to do that. Because the way that I figured that out, was through starting and continuing to show up and figure it out and be willing to update my decisions in public. It’s such a powerful thing to do that. It does take courage to say, Hey, I was doing it this way. And I fully believe in that. And now I’m doing it this other way. And I fully believe in that too. Like, as humans, we are complex.
We have different things that we believe in and our beliefs and the way that we can help people, our businesses, they will evolve over time. So I just wanted to mention that. If you are right now feeling like I need to have the perfect start to whether it is a business or most likely because you’ve probably already started your business. Whether that is something new within your business. It could be a new offer a new product, it could be a new service, it could be starting a podcast or a YouTube channel or going onto a new social media platform.
So I just want to make sure you are reminded that it’s going to evolve. That’s part of it. You don’t get to skip that, like no one gets to skip that. And when you see a business, that might have been an overnight success, more often than not 90% of the time, at least, that’s not their first business. And they’re just taking things that have worked in the previous ones, and they’re doing it in another business model under a different business name.
So if you’re looking at someone, it’s that cliche thing of like, you’re looking at someone’s chapter 20 and comparing it to your chapter one. I hope that by me sharing this is probably like chapter six. I hope that me sharing this as well helps to just remind you like it’s okay for me to grow and evolve and update things as I go. So with that said, I hope you enjoy this episode on how to escape indecision fatigue.
On today’s podcast episode, I want to talk to you about indecision fatigue. That is the draining and exhausting feeling that we get when we are in this realm of indecision when we haven’t made a decision, whether it’s about something important or something really inconsequential, the impact that that has on our lives. And also I want to talk to you about something practical, and very simple that you can do to get yourself out of indecision fatigue, because it really is holding you back in your life.
And when I say you, I also mean me as well. As always, this is something that I’m working on. And I’ve really started to notice that when I allow myself to indulge in indecision and confusion, the cost of that is so great. It’s really easy to think about the cost of making the quote unquote, wrong decision. But we often forget to look at the cost of indecision, the cost of standing still the cost of not actually doing anything and not actually moving forward. Sometimes it’s really easy to quantify the impact of indecision, it’s really easy to see what that is costing us.
For example, someone who in 2013, was thinking about starting a blog at the same time, I was thinking about a blog, and getting it started, I made that decision to start, that person was in indecision, this hypothetical person. They were in indecision, and they never actually made that decision to get started, they definitely thought about it. They researched it on Pinterest, they watch YouTube videos, maybe they even did actually buy a domain, maybe they set up a theme, but they never really decided to start it and to commit to it.
And now I’m at the point where this is my livelihood. This is fulfilling, empowering work that I get to do. It’s truly my favorite thing talking about personal development and the fact that just by making that decision in 2013, I’ve been able to leave my full time insolvency accounting job. And I’m able to be sitting here in my home office, recording a podcast episode about something I find truly fascinating. That is the ripple effect, that making that decision back in 2013, when there were no guarantees anything would work. That is a ripple effect, the impact that that decision had.
And you can see when I share that example that the cost for that other person who has been in indecision and confusion ever since they’re probably still thinking about starting the blog, they have missed out on an opportunity, one that they could still take up, but they have missed years of being able to make progress towards something and experience results in a certain area. A lot of us really forget the impact of indecision. So there’s the consequences, maybe it means we’re not making as much money as we could be. Maybe it means our lifestyle isn’t the way we want it to be. Our relationships aren’t the way we want it to be.
But also what I really want to talk about in this episode is the fatigue, it creates the mental load that comes from having all of these undecided questions floating around our minds. And a couple of weeks ago now, I taught a masterclass for my girls in get out of your own way. This was a bonus decision making masterclass that I added to the course. And when I was putting that together, I really saw the impact of indecision fatigue. And the reason that we stay in indecision and create this fatigue for ourselves is because it’s comfortable to be in indecision.
If you are undecided, if you haven’t committed, you never have to fail. You never have to feel vulnerable. You never have to put the effort in because you get to say, I will I would be trying more if I could just make a decision. I would be successful if I knew what to do with my life. And yet we block ourselves from actually making those decisions. It’s so sneaky but we block ourselves so that we have an excuse to stay in our comfort zone and in my group coaching program, Figure Your Life Out which we’ll actually be launching again in a couple of months.
I’m so excited I was so in love with teaching that group coaching program, that really the work that I do in my girls in that program is not to help them decide, do you want to be a blogger? Do you want to be a doctor? Do you want to be an architect? Do you want to be an engineer, it’s really helping them see that they actually do know, and what they want to do with their lives. And they have just been unconsciously blocking themselves from accessing that answer. Because they’re really scared of the shame that might follow if they do follow that. And they fail or just if they succeed at it, and other people think negatively of them.
They’re really avoiding as again, as perfectionist we are trying to avoid this shame that feeling of being unlovable and unworthy. So we block ourselves from ever having to feel shame, by being undecided. And it can be really frustrating when you’re the kind of person who second guesses yourself, you’re constantly changing your mind, which by the way, are forms of indecision. If you constantly change your mind, from this goal, to that goal, this workout to that kind of workout this diet to that diet. You are in indecision, because you haven’t truly committed to anything second guessing yourself is the same thing. They’re all just different forms of indecision.
For when you have these big questions, coupled with all these small questions, looming over you and weighing on your shoulders, you have that mental energy that you can’t then use for the more important shit you’ve got going on. If you’re so busy, constantly going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Maybe you’re not even consciously thinking about it during the day, but it’s there in the background, you are consuming mental energy that you can’t then be using to do other more important things. It is really draining to be in indecision.
And I really do hope that as you’re listening to this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But how good does it feel when you have had all of these little decisions to make or one huge decision, and you make it and it’s done, you’ve made the decision. And now you’re following through with it. Yes, it might bring up a lot of fear and doubt, which is why we try and not make decisions. But it feels so good to have just decided because once you decide you can actually make progress.
So what I wanted to really encourage you to do is to create a list of the outstanding decisions that you need to make really do this with pen and paper don’t just do this mentally, because then you’re kind of just compounding your own decision fatigue or indecision fatigue. But get pen and paper, you could be driving, you could be working out right now, that’s fine, you need to do this within the next 24 hours. So pen and paper, you are creating a list of all of the little decisions that you need to make, it could be making a decision about when you’re going to get your car serviced, it could be making a decision about which city you’re going to live in, it could be making a decision about what you’re going to pack on your holiday, it could be making a decision about when you’re going to visit your grandma, it can be making a decision about what kind of laptop you’re going to buy could be making a decision about how you’re going to decorate your bedroom.
There’s so many different decisions that we have. And a lot of the ones that causes the most pain, are actually, tiny little decisions like deciding when you’re going to put your washing or your laundry away. Those kinds of decisions just weigh down on us if we haven’t made them. And they take up valuable mental energy that we then can’t use on more important things. So I want you to create this list. Literally just think of every decision you need to make in your life that you haven’t yet made. And this could be an overwhelming list. I don’t care. I want you to write this list.
And then I want you to go through and make all of those decisions. To get some momentum, you can start with the easier decisions. For example, when am I going to put my laundry away? That is probably an easier decision then which city am I going to move to? And when you’re making decisions, it’s really important to remember that there are no wrong decision. Since perfectionist want to avoid wrong decisions, and we would prefer to be stuck than to make the wrong decision, but I really want to encourage you there are no wrong decisions that you can make, you’re always meeting the people and having the experiences that you need to have just sometimes when you’re in it, it doesn’t feel like it. But you need to trust that you can’t ever make the wrong decision.
Because you will either get what you want, or you’ll get the lesson that you need to get from that. But if you believe that it’s possible to make the wrong decision, you need to make the right decision and you’re only going to be happy and fulfilled if you make the right decision. That of course, is going to cripple the shit out of you. If you have that much pressure on yourself to make the perfect decision. This is something I work on with my one on one coaching clients and I covered as well in figure your life out we talk a lot about decision making, there’s a lesson and get out of your own way about decision making.
It is something that a lot of perfectionist really struggle with. Because we are so scared of that shame we might experience if we make the wrong decision. But nothing has freed me off in my life as much as me just giving myself permission to make decisions without having all of this pressure for them to be exactly right. And just having this agreement with myself that I’m going to make the best decision I can with the information I have at the time. And I’m not going to beat myself up about it. If it turns out that I could have made a better decision.
Of course, with hindsight, we have new information. And we can see things that we couldn’t see in the moment. But I have an agreement with myself that my present day self isn’t allowed to judge or beat up my past self or making a certain decision. I always have my own back. I always I don’t know what what I’m trying to say here. I always love myself in terms of really respecting that I did my best. Like everyone, we’re all just trying to do our best, everyone just has a different version of that what that looks like. Because you might think well, if you knew this person, you wouldn’t think they’re doing their best. But really everyone is doing their best.
Everyone just has a different version of what their best looks like. And it might not be up to your standards. But everyone is really trying. So if you can begin to develop a relationship with yourself, where you have your own back, it also helps you in the moment when you’re making decisions, because you know that you’re not going to beat down on yourself in the future. If it turns out that a different path would have perhaps had a more favorable outcome for you, you know that your future self is gonna say, Yeah, you did the best you could, let’s make our current situation work.
Instead of saying I can’t believe you did that you should have made this decision. Instead, now you’ve ruined this or whatever your negative self talk sounds like you have to really begin to create this relationship where you have your own back, you respect yourself, you trust that you made the best decision you could with the information you have at the time. So it’s really important when you’re making decisions to just get it there are no wrong decisions, and that your future self is going to be kind to you if it turns out that maybe a better choice would have been more favorable as well.
I often talk about writing a list of advantages and advantages when it comes to decision making. This is essentially a pros and cons list that you’re writing for two alternatives, or two or three at most. And it’s a pros and cons list without the cons. If we take away the cons, because we can trust that our brain is going to automatically think of the cons anyway, we don’t really need to try that hard to think of any downsides. But if we just for a second, take away the cons take away the negative things that might happen if we make a certain decision or the negative consequences of making that decision. And we just leave the benefits.
Often a decision becomes so clear. I’ve done this with my clients. I do this myself. I’ve done this with my friends, when you are just looking at the advantages versus the advantages versus the advantages of a decision. That is when you can see that, they’ll definitely be one option where there probably aren’t really many advantages. I love removing the cons, because we are wired as humans to be loss averse, which we would rather not lose than gain. So when we are looking at decisions with a pros and cons list, most of us, consciously or not, are trying to make the decision that’s the least bad, rather than the decision, that’s the most good.
So when we have just a pros versus pros lists, we can really look at, okay, what are the actual benefits, what is the upside, and we can make a decision based on the upside, then of course, you can have a look at what those cons are. And that could influence a decision you make, but you need to separate them out. So you can really see what decision you would make if you were just looking at the advantages, and clean up any fears that you might have, or any doubts you might have about it. So that you can make sure you aren’t making that decision through a lens of fear and scarcity and doubt that you’ve actually separated out the advantages and the disadvantages. And then you’ve really looked at okay, what is the upside here?
Because often, there’s a choice that we’re thinking of making that doesn’t really have any upside. But it just has less of a downside. And we’re always tempted because our brain wants us to stay in our comfort zone. It wants to keep us alive and safe. And well. And its answer to that is let’s just continue with the status quo. Let’s just keep doing things, the way that we have always been doing them. So if you separate this out, do the pros and pros are advantages versus advantages. Lsts were needed. I don’t recommend doing this. If you’re deciding what day to do a dentist appointment or when to wash the dishes, because it’s not as relevant for that kind of thing.
This is a tool you might use when you are deciding which city to move to or deciding if you’re going to change career or stay in your current industry or big life decision. This is when you can use this tool. And an important thing to remember too, is that regardless of the decision you make, you are capable of being just as happy with either option. And this might be if you’re new to personal development, something that’s kind of hard to wrap your mind around because you’ll think oh well if I choose Option A of course I’m going to be way happier than if I choose this other alternative. But our feelings come from our thoughts.
And we are capable of thinking any thought in any circumstance in any situation is why there are people who have the most lucrative, incredible circumstances in the world and they’re miserable, narrow people who aren’t so well off and they are living in poverty, and they are incredibly happy. It’s because our feelings come from our thoughts, not from our circumstances. And often the decisions we’re making are about changes in our circumstances, and things are going to be doing rather than things that we thinking.
So if you can just bring it all back to this idea that we are responsible for our emotions. And unfortunately, most of us while growing up, were taught that the best way to manage your emotions is to change your circumstances, not realizing the people who taught us were well intended, and didn’t even realize that we can actually change our thoughts to change our experience for most of us, when we were growing up, if we cried, we were given food to make us feel better. And if something was going badly, we were told to try and change the situation instead of getting taught how to change our thinking about the situation.
And by the way, on that note, just because you can change your thinking, and create the emotions you want to create, which does take practice, it doesn’t mean you need to settle for anything, it doesn’t need mean that you should be mistreated, or that you should be with someone that you don’t want to be with. It just means you take full responsibility for your own emotions. And then you get to decide, well, do I want to hang out with this person or not? Am I going to spend time with someone who mistreats me? Or am I going to leave them? Am I going to be in this career or that career, we can actually, first of all, claim responsibility, again, for our emotions, and really understand that no matter what we choose, we can feel happy in each alternative.
And also that we will have a hell down moments in each alternative as well that life is 50-50, we have a full spectrum of emotion so we can experience a full life. Which means regardless of if you choose Option A or Option B, you will be able to feel happy. And you’ll also have negative emotions if you choose one of them. And you will be able to feel happy and have negative emotions if you choose the other one. So instead of always trying to make decisions based on what will make me happy, that is a wrong question to be asking, because what will make me happy is changing my thoughts.
And it’s something I’m still learning how to do, it’s definitely easier said than done. For most of us. There’s areas of our life where we find it easy to change thoughts, and areas of our life where it really feels or you damn hard to change our thoughts. Particularly I find when it comes to relationships or anything involving other people, it’s so much more challenging for me to really see that circumstances being neutral than when it’s just me. And my own thinking and my own actions. When there are other people involved, I find it much more challenging to be neutral about it.
Well not to be neutral to understand the circumstance isn’t positive or negative. It’s my thinking that makes it positive or negative. But I will cover that in another podcast episode. I don’t want to go into that too much right now. But when you’re making decisions, it is important to really bring back that responsibility. Instead of saying, well, I need to make the perfect decision. So I can be happy to just get no I can be happy in any situation because that comes from my thinking. And I’m also going to have negative emotion in any situation because my brain is wired to think negative thoughts.
And that’s going to happen, regardless of what I’m doing. So we don’t need to then be delaying decisions because we’re not sure which one will make us happy. So I hope that has made sense. And I recommend when there’s little decisions to just make them to just decide exactly what it’s going to be. I think when it comes to when am I going to put my laundry away you don’t need some elaborate decision making tool. You just need to make the decision and to really give yourself permission to do it even though you don’t feel like doing it.
You can also use personal rules which I talked about in a recent podcast episode. In Episode 97, how to upgrade your habits using personal rules, I discuss some of mine. But I have a personal rule that I put my laundry away, I fold it up, I do the Marie Kondo folding. I’ve done that for about three years now since I initially read her book, she is the cutest woman in the world, her show on Netflix tidying up is amazing. But I’ve been following her folding method for a while now like a while a while and loving it. So I was always in indecision fatigue, about putting my laundry away, I never wanted to do it. And so I would just slip out of my laundry basket.
And eventually I just drew a line in the sand and made a rule with myself a personal rule, that no matter what, the day that my laundry comes off the line, which is the day that it’s dry, is the day I put it away. That’s just a rule, no matter what I’m putting my laundry away. And that freed up so much mental energy. For me, I didn’t even realize how draining it was to not have made that small decision that when I did make that decision, I was like holy crap. And that’s why I’ve made all the personal rules in my life, which I talked about in that episode. But one I don’t think I mentioned was when I was working in the city at one of the big accounting firms in the kitchen, it had really nice catering. Well, it was definitely a lot better than the public hospital.
I currently work in part time, because that’s the public system. So in this corporate office, we always had different biscuits and things like that, that were always available 24/7. And I just made a rule with myself when I was there that I never eat the biscuits, they were the Onyx biscuits. If you’re not Australian, I don’t know if you’ll know what that means. But I love them like Scotch fingers, I could eat probably 10 packets of them, no sweat. But the reason I made that personal rule was because I was finding that whenever I go to get a tea, which is multiple times per day, I love tea.
I was initially for the first sort of be it like should I have a biscuit when I have a biscuit and just constantly back in this tooing and froing about it. So I just drew a line in the sand, I just don’t eat the biscuits here. That’s just not something I do, I really created an identity around that being something that I wasn’t the kind of person who did that. And it meant that whenever I went to the kitchen, I didn’t have this mental energy going to me having to decide whether or not to eat a biscuit. And I could have made a decision the other way, just a flat rule. Every time I go to the kitchen, I get biscuits.
And so then I’m never having to think about it, the effect is the same. But I didn’t believe it was in my best interest to be hidden all the time. I didn’t I don’t like how I feel physically when I’m eating packets upon packets of biscuits, or I guess it’d be made me cookies is what you’d call them if you’re in Australia. But that is another personal rule that I used to reduce indecision fatigue. So you might have one around, I always unstack the dishwasher as soon as I notice that it’s finished. It’s a rule where it’s I always or I never or in a certain situation. This is what happens.
And it’s so freeing, and then you’re going to have the mental energy that you need to focus on other things. And I want to quickly talk about decision fatigue. So so far, I’ve been talking about indecision fatigue, which is I don’t know if that’s an actual term. That’s just what I’m calling it. But it’s the fatigue created by being an indecision being undecided, second guessing yourself, and it’s just exhausting. Some of you have probably been in indecision fatigue for years over your career. So you know exactly what I’m talking about. And if that’s the case, I highly, highly recommend considering joining my group coaching program Figure your life out because that is the exact thing that we deal with in that course and the girls who did it, when we did it at the end of last year had amazing results and it was just the best experience for them and for me as well.
But there’s indecision fatigue, which is draining, but there’s also decision fatigue. And this is where you are really wasting your decision making energy, which you only have a limited amount per day, you’re wasting that decision making energy on decisions that don’t really matter. So it’s very related. But you’re wasting that on decisions that don’t really matter, which means at the end of your day, you have used up all of your good decision making energy. And so you’re going to go on autopilot mode, your brain just wants to do what it always does.
So if you’re in the habit of eating mac and cheese, as soon as you get home from work, that’s what you’re going to do if you’re in the habit of flopping on the couch and watching Netflix as soon as you get home from work if that’s what you’re going to do. And we wonder why it can be so hard to follow through with our plans at the end of the day. It is due to decision fatigue. And I think as well, indecision fatigue, because really, indecision fatigue, is constantly thinking about a decision but never making it, which is really just as draining as making lots of little decisions.
So one way to get out of both decision fatigue, which depletes your willpower and indecision fatigue, which depletes your willpower, and your mental energy as well, is to do what I recommended create a list of all of the outstanding decisions in your life, which could be a lot, then once you have done that, you need to make those decisions, I recommend giving yourself a deadline, no more than 48 hours. This includes big life decisions, it doesn’t take long to gather enough enough information to make a good decision.
And my guess is if you’ve been in decision fatigue about something, you’ve probably gathered all of the information. And now you’re just in this state of limbo, because you’re scared of making the wrong decision, I’d really encourage you to make a decision very soon. And to know that your brain is going to freak out a little when you make the decision. And that that’s completely normal, your brain wants you to be in confusion because it’s comfortable. So as soon as you get out of confusion, you will just try and go back into it.
This is what I have with Figure Your Life Out with the girls when we’re going through it. And they make a decision about the career path they’re going to pursue and what they’re going to start doing. And they all feel very inspired and excited. And then like clockwork, very shortly after they all begin doubting their decisions and wanting to second guess that and wanting to do two different things at once. And basically, they’re just trying to squirm their way out of being decided because it can feel really vulnerable and uncomfortable to be decided, because then we have no excuse, but to actually take action and do those things.
So create a list separated out if you want into smaller life admin decisions. And then you can have a few big decisions in there that might have been on your mind and then make the damn decisions and get yourself out of indecision fatigue. If possible, it’s going to be easier to do this at the beginning of the day, when you have more decision making energy. So this will be something that is a bit more challenging if you leave it till the end of the day.
So I didn’t give you permission to do this first thing tomorrow when your decision making energy has been restored by a night of sleep. Please do it for all of you who listen to this podcast and you feel inspired and you send me lovely DMS and emails. But don’t actually follow through on what I recommend. This is something that’s really simple. That is really going to have a big impact on your life and help you start moving forward and help you start doing the mindset work you need to do because it will bring up some junk if you are making big decisions.
It will bring some fear and doubt to the surface again. That’s why you have been trying to avoid making a decision because you are scared of baleen. You’re scared of judgment. You’re scared of what other people will think about that decision. There’s so many fears that go into it. So that stuff will come up but it needs to because the cost of inaction is so much greater. Then you probably realizing the cost of inaction in terms of your health in terms of your relationships in terms of your career, you’ll find finances, there is a huge cost in being in an action.
And really, that cost of inaction is that we’re creating negative momentum. So you’ve heard about the compound effect. And that when you are taking consistent positive action, that compounds over time, for example, money, if you are putting $5 a day into a bank account, you are going to accrue interest on that. And that is going to compound over time, so that you’re going to end up with a lot more than just putting in $5 per day because of the interest and that compounds on itself again, and again and again.
The same with meditation, with journaling, with all these healthy habits, there is a compound effect of doing them each day. And we end up reaping more than what we sow. But also the same thing happens with inaction. Most of us think that if we don’t make a decision, the consequence is that we just stay exactly where we are. But that’s not really the case, we actually create the compound effect in a negative direction.
And if you want to know more about this, I highly recommend, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, I first read it in October 2014. And that was when I really started to get into morning routines and nighttime routines and daily habit, because until then, I had only really thought about the positive compound effect. I had never realized that when you don’t take action, it creates this negative momentum. So for example, if you skip one workout at the gym, it doesn’t matter. The next day is going to be the easiest day for you to get back into that habit. But if you skip the next day, then from then on, it just gets harder and harder to get yourself going again.
And most of us if that happens, we end up months later trying to sell our gym membership to a friend of a friend or trying to forget that we ever even had that goal in the first place. Because we weren’t able to overcome that negative momentum that came from inaction. Until typically indecision creates inaction, because you can’t do anything when you haven’t decided what you’re going to do. So I hope I have encouraged you to make some decisions in your life. Again, create a list, write out all the decisions that you need to make and then make the decisions understanding that you can’t make a wrong decision. There’s nothing you can do to pull yourself off the path to success.
You are always on the right path no matter what you decide if that is true. What would you decide, make those decisions expect fear and doubt to come up. Don’t second guess yourself, really have your own bath you made the best decision you could with the information that you had at the time and begin taking action on whatever it is. You will be amazed at just how much mental energy you free up and how much clarity you create just by actually making really small, insignificant decisions that have just been floating around your mind. Hope this has helped you really just feel motivated to make some damn decisions. I will talk to you in the next episode.
Before you go I want to make sure you know that the doors to my group coaching program for perfectionist entrepreneurs called perfectionist getting shit done aka PGSD are going to be opening at 6am New York time on the 10th of September 2023 but only for one week only. So if you want to be the first to know when the doors open or to find out more about the program, you can go to samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.