Many of us think of time as our most scarce resource, but it’s really energy — particularly when it comes to decision making.
Our brains get tired when we work them too hard, and then they get lazy.
That’s when bad decisions happen.
If you’ve ever purchased a candy bar in the checkout line at the end of an hour of careful shopping, in spite of your better judgement, you were probably falling victim to this effect.
Leaders have to make a ton of decisions every day, and wise leaders know that they have to be thoughtful about how much energy to put into each one.
Ideally, they put all their focus on the most important decisions that require serious thinking.
That’s why President Obama wears the same suit every day.
Easy decisions rarely take much effort, regardless of whether or not they are important.
However, we’re often prone to killing ourselves over hard decisions that aren’t actually that important.
In fact, their lack of importance is often what makes them hard, because the overall expected value for the company is actually similar between the two options.
For example, one choice might take longer, but also result in more revenue; if you go that way, you can spend the extra money on something that will save you time elsewhere.
If different options lead to very different outcomes for the company, the right decision is usually (but not always) obvious.