Why You Shouldn't Fall Prey to Decision Fatigue

Why You Shouldn't Fall Prey to Decision Fatigue

Why is it we feel so depleted and spent both physically and mentally after a full day of making decisions? Because making decisions taxes us in a very real way, and there is a name for it – decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue is the deteriorating quality of decisions made after a long period of decision making.

Think of the last time you ran through a busy day of making one decision after another. You’re mentally and physically tired yet you didn’t run a marathon or just finish a spinning class.

Those who experience decision fatigue are more likely to either make reckless decisions or find themselves in a state of mental paralysis, unable to make any decisions at all.

It sneaks up on you

Decision fatigue affects all of us from time to time. As you move through the day, each decision you make depletes your resources and each subsequent decision becomes more and more difficult to execute.

Each of us has a finite amount of physical and mental resources for each day; and when those resources have been used up, we are more likely to make bad decisions.

Don’t fall victim to decision fatigue. If you are pressed to make a decision when you’re fatigued, stop and ask yourself if it’s urgent. If it’s not, sleep on it and make the decision the next day.

We have both said it aloud after a long day: “I can’t think through one more thing. Let’s grab a pint.” (Ever wonder why we call this blog Coffee & Pints?)

Why autopilot is a good thing

Whether you’re picking out your sunglasses for the day or deciding on a new international trading platform, the decision making process uses up your limited resources.

The simple solution is to reduce the number of decisions you make in a day. Put what you can on autopilot - look at what’s easy to streamline and then streamline it.

Mark Zuckerberg wears the same gray t-shirts and jeans each day. It’s not because he is a fashion icon or because he is a techie. He streamlines getting dressed each day by not having to decide - he saves his resources for more important decisions.

Ask yourself: Do you need to opine on everything at work?

Very likely the answer is no.

Some of us are “go-to” people, meaning others come to us for our opinions and advice, and we gladly oblige. This is typically an excellent dynamic but you also have to guard against the fatigue that can set in when you give too much.

It’s okay to close your door occasionally in order to focus on what’s on your list of priorities. Know when your input is critical vs. convenient and step back when necessary.

If it is not in your purview - let it go. Save your mental resources for decisions that must be made within your immediate responsibilities.

Delegate what you can

Those in leadership roles are also in decision making roles. While decision making is part of the job, so is delegation. And delegation is another good way to reduce decision fatigue.

By delegating decision making when appropriate, you give your staff an opportunity to practice their decision making skills. Encouraging your team to think through solutions and working with them to bring you their proposed decisions will increase their skills and reduce your decision making fatigue.

Each of us has limited capacity each day. Manage your resources and streamline what you can  - make all your decisions count.

Houtman | Domenighini
Human Performance
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Jill Houtman and Danny Domenighini are partners at Coffee and Pints, an unconventional professional development blog. The partnership was formed in response to their personal ... Click for full bio

Solving Your Biggest Client Issue May Be at Your Fingertips

Solving Your Biggest Client Issue May Be at Your Fingertips

Written by: Shileen Weber

When the American Funds’ Capital Group  asked 400 advisors last year to name the biggest issues they face in their businesses, it wasn’t the DOL, market uncertainty or the economy that sat in the center of the idea cloud of answers.

It was client issues.

At a time when regulatory concerns and market turbulence would seem to be at all-time highs, the advisors who answered the survey were most concerned about servicing their clients as well as ways to find new ones and grow their businesses.

It’s one of the ironies of the business, that the things most people find so hard to manage – creating financial plans, managing assets and staying ahead of events – are what advisors find to be the easiest parts of the business. Marketing - the business of selling themselves – can be the area advisors find the hardest elements to master.

In this age of instant communication, it can be even more intimidating to market your practice, especially to younger clients for whom many traditional methods like newsletters, postcards and phone calls don’t work anymore. For them, email is the preferred way to get information, and, if it’s important, they are more likely to respond to texts, not phone calls.

But, it doesn’t have to be that hard. The digital age gives you access to ideas and content of all kinds you can use to touch your clients in a way that positions you as a valuable resource. The key is to keep it simple, stick to some basics and create consistent outreach that clients and potential clients are interested in and will appreciate you sharing with them.

Here is a common-sense approach you can take that will not require you to hire an expensive agency or take valuable time away from managing your clients’ assets and running your business.

Content is King

Create a content calendar for the year: Think about reasons to touch a client 13 times during the year – that can be once a month and on their birthday. (The common rule of sales is that it takes at least 7-13 touches to make a connection.) The number is limited and keeps you from inundating the clients who likely already feel inundated with content. You can take the seasonal approach – tax planning in the fall, January for account review content, college financing in the spring – and supplement it with topical events during the year. Creating a calendar will help you stick to a plan. Here’s one resource for a content calendar.

Review what content is already available to you:  Basically, this means finding the resources you already have and determining what pieces will be most valuable to your clients. Start first by checking out content your broker-dealer already generates that you can personalize. Many firms have economists who write regularly about the market. That’s content you can pass along to keep clients up-to-date they would not have access to anywhere else. In addition to your broker-dealer, mutual funds, your clearing firm, and money managers are all excellent sources of informative and even analytical content.

Personalize the content you use: Add your name, the client’s name or some way to avoid making it feel like canned content that you are using just to check the outreach box. See what capabilities your email program may have to help you.

Related: What's an Investor to Do When History Doesn't Repeat Itself?

The birthday strategy: One advisor used clients’ birthdays in a new way. Instead of the card or lunch date, the advisor asked the client’s spouse for a list of friends he could invite to a birthday lunch and made it a memorable event that was also a soft approach to getting referrals.

Become a curator of good content: What your review will show you is that you don’t have to generate the content yourself. You can point clients to pieces you find insightful. You are likely already doing this every day just to keep yourself informed. The next step is to compile it and send out the very best pieces to your clients, again, with a note with your own thoughts about why you found it valuable.

Find out what is working and do more of it: Use your client interactions, in-person and online, to find out what types of content clients liked and any they didn’t. You can use tracking on your emails to see how many were opened as a measurement tool, but the personal interactions tend to provide more insight than raw data.

Be disciplined about your execution: Get help from an office assistant or schedule the time each month to do the content development and outreach. As any good strategy, if you make it a habit, it won’t seem so hard.

Most importantly, be yourself and be personal: You may want to regularly get personal by talking about your family and hobbies. The ultimate is if you can provide content that is personal to your clients, not just about their investments – they get that from their statements, apps and online portals. Think alma maters, hobbies, children and parents.

Of course, as a disclaimer, you have to make sure all content and communications are complying with regulations and the rules of your own broker-dealer.

The process of creating a plan will get you thinking about your clients in a new way. That exercise alone can re-energize your business and get you seeing marketing opportunities in places you may never have seen them before.

Shileen Weber is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at GWG Holdings. She was previously Director of Online Strategy and Client Experience at RBC Wealth Management, where they placed first in two JD Power and Associates U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study (2011 and 2013).
GWG Holdings, Inc.
Investing in Life
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GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH) the parent company of GWG Life, is a financial services company committed to transforming the life insurance industry through disruptive and i ... Click for full bio