Reducing decision fatigue

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I forget where I read it but it makes sense: we can only make so many decisions in a day before our brains reach “decision fatigue” and the quality of our decisions diminishes.

The upshot is that we should do our best to make important decisions earlier in the day.

We can also reduce decision fatigue by finding ways to make fewer decisions.

One way is by develop more routines.

I’m sure you’ve heard the idea of wearing the same color t-shirt every day. Once you’ve chosen your color and brand, you don’t have to think about it again.

Once you’ve figured out the best route to different courthouses, write it down and you won’t have to think about it again.

Another way to reduce decisions (and speed up your work) is to create checklists for everything.

Checklists for opening and closing a file, conducting a client interview, reviewing and summarizing a deposition transcript,  in case of emergency, and so on.

Templates and boilerplate for writing letters and emails or responding to FAQs also help. So do lists of resources you frequently access or recommend (links, cites, references, forms, notes, etc.)

Start by paying attention to all of the decisions you make today. You’ll probably be surprised at how many there are and how much time you spend making them.

Then, look for ways to eliminate small decisions so you’ll have more time for the big ones.

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