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In today’s fast-paced world, decision-making can be overwhelming and mentally draining, especially for entrepreneurs. Did you know that on average, we make 35,000 decisions a day?! That’s roughly 1 decision every 2.5 seconds… The constant need to make choices (even simple ones like what to eat for dinner) consumes valuable time and energy. As entrepreneurs, even small improvements in your decision making process can lead to huge returns in your business and life. And with no clear guidelines for making decisions? You might find yourself burnt out with a heavy case of decision fatigue or mental overload. In this episode, I explore the concept of categorical decision making—a strategy that can help you simplify your life and business by reducing the number of decisions you need to make each day. By implementing this strategy, you can free up mental space, reduce stress, and focus on what truly matters. So let’s dive in!
The Energy Cost of Decision Making
Did you know that your brain uses 20% of the energy you consume, despite accounting for only 2% of your body weight? It’s an energy monger! Research conducted by a Professor from Washington University School of Medicine revealed that an average person’s brain uses about 320 calories each day. Besides telling me that I really should eat a real breakfast before I dive into work, this also tells me that simplifying or eliminating decisions I need to make on a daily basis could give me a lot of time and energy back.
What’s Categorical Decision Making?
So what is categorical decision making in the simplest terms? This approach involves making one decision that eliminates the need to make dozens or even thousands of future decisions. By categorizing choices and pre-selecting one category, you reduce the number of options you have left to choose from. Categorical decision making allows you to save mental energy, minimize stress, and create more headspace for essential tasks. To put this into more concrete terms, let’s look at different decisions that you could simplify or eliminate with categorical decision making.
Examples for How to Simplify Your Personal Life with Categorical Decisions
Here are three examples of how you can use categorical decisions to eliminate decisions you make in your personal life.
- Eating Habits: You may decide to follow a specific dietary category, such as vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian. By making this categorical decision, you eliminate many options when deciding what to eat or where to go out to eat. You also simplify meal planning and reduce decision fatigue.
- Grocery Shopping: You may narrow down your choices based on predefined categories. For example, selecting recipes that require 6 or fewer ingredients or deciding to shop exclusively at certain grocery stores. By limiting your options with categorical decisions, you streamline the decision-making process.
- Capsule Wardrobe: You might decide to create a capsule wardrobe by selecting a limited number of clothing items – the minimalist’s dream! By deciding on a specific set of outfits, you eliminate the daily struggle of choosing what to wear. Imagine going to your closet and having a set schedule for what you where each day. It sounds dreamy to me!
Examples for How to Simplify Your Business and Increase Productivity with Categorical Decisions
Here are three examples of how you can use categorical decisions to eliminate decisions you make in your business.
- Establish Your “Why”: Defining your own compelling “why” statement can serve as a filter for future decisions, helping you align your actions with your purpose and save time and energy.
- Define Success: Take the time to define what success means for your business and be specific! Set clear parameters for measuring your achievements so you can avoid constantly comparing yourself to others. By deciding once on your definition of success, you can focus on meaningful progress without getting caught up in unproductive comparisons and shiny object syndrome.
- Goal Setting: You knew this one was coming! Be selective about what your goals will be each goal and quarter. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: less but better goals! Break down your goals into quarterly targets and develop a plan to achieve them. By committing to specific objectives for each quarter, you streamline your decision-making process, focusing only on tasks aligned with your defined goals.
Making Lasting Changes: Tips for Implementing Categorical Decision Making
To see real results with this strategy, you’re going to have to stick to your categorical decisions! Once you’ve made a categorical decision, set a time period for when you’ll stick to it. I love experimenting within 90 day periods. Avoid second-guessing or constantly revisiting your choices until your set time is up. Embrace the freedom and mental clarity that come from committing to your decisions and learning to follow through.
Tell others in your life what your categorical decisions are, so they can challenge and support you too. Of course, you’ll want your friends and family to be aware of any categorical decisions you make that are going to affect them. But you may also want to consider a business bestie or coach (hi!) who can help you make the right decisions for your business, and hold you accountable to them!
Categorical decision making is a powerful tool for simplifying your life and business, and I hope this episode will open your eyes to the endless ways you can implement this strategy to simplify your life. By making intentional categorical decisions, you can reduce decision fatigue, save mental energy, and focus on what truly matters. Implementing this strategy in both your personal and professional life will help you get more done and experience more clarity. So why not give it a try? Start by making one categorical decision today and let me know how it goes! You can DM me on Instagram @jadeboyd.co.
Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- The Business Edit™ Coaching Program
- Find your Why with Mariah Danielsen
- House of Colour Consultation with Kylie Epperson
- 5 Tips for Simplifying your Laundry Routine
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