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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Coker

3 Powerful Tips for Blasting Decision Fatigue

Take Control & Gear Up for a Strong 2021

I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 has been beyond challenging. (We tried calling it “unprecedented,” but frankly that word falls woefully short of the utterly astonishing parade of drama this year has unleashed.) From the election to Covid fears to adjusting to new work and family schedules, it really has been one thing after another. And if you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner—well, I’d bet your stress level is permanently parked on 11 at this point.

It has been, in a word, EXHAUSTING. Why are we so tired? Decision fatigue is a major culprit. That’s the state of overwhelm that makes us want to binge bad TV (aka “hate-watching” in my house) and eat & drink whatever’s convenient, comforting, and (usually) bad for us. And it comes from simply having far too many decisions to make every day.

So, as entrepreneurs—ok, as humans—how can we combat decision fatigue and set ourselves up for success in 2021?

It’s time to take back control!

Today we’re sharing three life-changing tips to help you clear your head, set attainable marketing goals, and plot out a smart roadmap to reach them. (This might sound like a lot of, well, decisions—but we promise it won’t be hard and you’ll feel so much better in the end.)

Tip 1: Make Your Plan

We all know about the life-changing power of making a to-do list, planning a travel itinerary (remember traveling?), or breaking down a big project into smaller, more attainable tasks. These are likely all ways you’ve made your life a little bit easier by simplifying.

Now’s the time to harness this same approach to overcome your debilitating decision fatigue so you can define your marketing plans for 2021. To start your organization off on the right foot, identify three primary big-picture goals for the coming year. (You can set more than three but be sure they are realistic and attainable.)

Next, work back from there. Prioritize each one, identify appropriate tactics, and align your budget to smash those targets.

You know what’s next: an action plan. Plot out reasonable steps you can take to keep moving toward your marketing goals. Once you have a plan like this in place, it’s so much easier to stay on task and continue to make measurable progress. The best part: you’ve already made your critical decisions ahead of time, so you can basically proceed on autopilot, continually moving forward, closer to reaching your goals. Of course, you’ll want to bear in mind that things might crop up (as they have this year), but with a plan firmly in place, you’ll be better positioned to make adjustments to your plan and hop on new opportunities as they present themselves. (Be sure you keep your eyes open for these!)

Tip 2: Delegate Wisely

One of the fastest ways to remove a few decisions from your life is to delegate key tasks to someone you trust, and there’s no better time to do so than right now. At first, it might not be easy (after all, you’ve invested everything in your business), but don’t let that stop you from taking this important step to get your 2021 marketing plans on track.

Look, you’re an expert in your chosen field, and you’re skilled in an array of critical areas that are essential to providing the goods or services your customers/clients need. But it’s probably also true that there are many tasks that you aren’t an expert in.

The good news: there are others who can take these tasks off your plate. Whether it’s someone on your team who’s skilled and eager to take on more responsibility, or an expert that you can tap into for help with planning your marketing tactics, this is one of the most powerful ways you can reclaim some time—not to mention peace of mind. (Bonus: that’s more time you can devote to those areas in which you really shine, while reducing the number of decisions you must make and gaining the outside expertise to drive greater success for your business.)

Here at smallnormous, we meet lots of small business owners and entrepreneurs who think they need to personally handle every aspect of their digital presence or marketing plan, only to quickly discover that: 1. It’s more complex than they anticipated. 2. They are wasting precious time that would be better used serving clients. And finally: they don’t get the results they desire. A better plan: leaving this piece of the puzzle to the experts—we love to help entrepreneurs and small business owners get the results they need to thrive. Give us a call to learn what we can take off your marketing to-do list.

The more often you delegate wisely, the easier it will become—and the gains you’ll enjoy will prove well worth any discomfort you might experience at first.

Tip 3: Get Smart!

I’ve always hated that well-worn saying about “working smarter,” so I’ll refrain from using it here. As you know, decision fatigue is caused by having too many decisions to make, so the focus of this tip is simple: structure your life to make fewer decisions.

One shockingly easy way to do this by tapping into the productivity tips you already know. Make a list of important business tasks to eliminate overthinking and its equally evil twin: analysis paralysis. Set realistic deadlines for each and meet them; this will help keep your marketing momentum going and your energy high.

When faced with a new decision, instead of getting stymied by a vast universe of choices, limit your options to just two or three to keep the process manageable. Then, choose the simplest solution—that’s the one that will make your life as easy as possible, as well as require the fewest subsequent decisions in the future. (Who’s the smart one now?)

Opportunity in Disguise

There’s no denying that this year has forced us out of our comfort zones and asked more of us as small business owners than ever before. But what if there’s a way to reframe 2020 and use the lessons we learned to charge into 2021 stronger and smarter than ever?

The events we consider challenges are really just opportunities to pivot, and there’s never been a better time to take a fresh look at your marketing objectives with a new perspective. Why not try a fresh approach or explore a new audience? Roll out a different service offering, or offer a new product that fits how your customers are living right now?

By using the teachings of this crazy year, you have the exciting opportunity to branch out and grow your business in exciting new directions. Put these tips to work to help you take control of your marketing plans for 2021 and leave decision fatigue in your rearview mirror—along with the rest of this nightmare year.

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