This is real!
Mothers get it. Entrepreneurs get it. If you are both then it’s time to work out strategies that mitigate the fall out.
From what to wear today through to what’s for dinner and everything in between. Even if the kids have uniforms, half the time you have to decide which one they are supposed to be wearing today.
In general life, men don’t have to do much of the minor stuff, they wear suits, or high viz, blue collar, white collar, all much of the same, with little variation in style or colour sometimes.
Women on the other hand have been expected to dress in a myriad of ways, from head to toe, colour rules or fashions, weather permitting shoes, and while you are at it, make sure there is no one wearing the same outfit.
This is just the tip of a massive iceberg, makeup, hair (up or down/long or short/coloured or natural) it is never ending.
The energy this takes on a daily basis can be huge, women are exhausted when they get home, then there is which veggies to serve with dinner, which load of washing is more critical and needs to be done now. Which child to help with homework, can they stay up another half hour, school forms, requests to visit friends the next day?
Then when she finally sits down the husband asks “what do you want to watch?” And she snaps - really? Why can’t you just decide while I try to slow my brain for a few minutes before falling into bed and switching off from the start.
Let me be clear, it is not just women who suffer this, while aspects like fashion are easier for men, they still carry the largest number of executive roles, and if their partner is also entrepreneurial or corporate then both adults are under more pressure.
What can be done to mitigate this?
Systems and Processes!
Major decisions still have to be made on an as need basis, they also need the greatest consideration before commitment.
The most efficient way to reduce decision fatigue is to relegate all of those small incidental decisions into new systems and processes.
As an example, look at the simple need to eat every evening? Even working from home can make this task a pain, so start with menu planning, and of course writing the shopping list according to that plan.
Consider slow cooked meals, schedules for dining out, fast food nights and near the end of the fortnight schedule a “Snatch and Grab” night where the family has to use up what they can find in the fridge and pantry.
These strategies will only help if they are well planned and stuck to. Cover the subject in your family meetings so that everyone is on board. If you have kids then let them have some choices, slotted into the nights that suit your needs. Every night, check the next nights menu to see if you need to defrost meat or do any other preparation.
What to wear? Uniforms! May sound boring, but I don’t mean formalised unless they are regulated by the school or employer. Men, women and children can limit the daily decision by selecting the brands and sizes that are comfortable and serviceable.
Consider those Pinterest posts about the capsule wardrobes, smart pieces that fit well and can be mixed and matched. We have done this with my husband’s work clothes and his clients recognise him easily by the shirt he wears, for him it is same brand, size and colour.
I know a speaker who uses the same design dress in different colours with coordinating camisoles when presenting, no one notices as the colours register rather than the style. I use the same brand of jeans/pants, then purchase tops to rotate. If you end up wearing the same outfit as another person, make fun of yourself and encourage your “twin” to bounce off that vibe.
What of all those other small decisions I listed earlier?
In many cases we cannot plan our responses to those and they come up at random times unless they are approached methodically. What I mean by that is rather than having discussions or kids interrupting while you cook or clean, set a short time every evening, or when it works for you, for all family members to come to the table with forms, questions, requests etc. so that they can be resolved quickly and efficiently.
Doing this will take less time than all the little stops and starts, you will remember what has been decided better, as will other family members. Saving time, creating clarity by being in the right frame of mind and fully present in those moments.
When you find yourself worn down, and stressed at the end of the day, look back at how many on the spot decisions you have had to make, cut yourself some slack and recognise all that you brain has to do each day.
Congratulate yourself on being able to handle that load, then, consider how you can lighten that load to create easier days and less stress in your life.
Do you have strategies to cope with decision fatigue that are working for you? Share your ideas and stories in the comment box below. You just might help, inspire or motivate other incredible women.
Live into Your Future.