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Give Me Liberty or…Just Tell Me What To Do

Liberty. Freedom. As a soon-to-be-former-academic-turned-entrepreneur, I’m no stranger to the concept of freedom. Having the power to make my own choices is fundamental to my career.

But sometimes, I think, screw it. I just want to be told what to do.

I’m gearing up to launch my online course for tech leaders. It’s been a roller coaster vacillating between “Wheee! This is awesome!” and “If I need to make one more decision, my head’ll explode.”

There are the fundamentally important decisions like, “How do I spend the next hour?” and the more minor ones like, “Which photo is better — the one with the green or black blazer?”

Then there’s the non-work related decisions that get piled on top:

Husband: “What’s for dinner?”

Me: [looks toward him] [silence][slowly looks away]

Husband: “Okay, I’ll make pasta.”

I wish I could tell you I have the magic formula for dealing with too much freedom and decision fatigue. I don’t. But, here are some strategies that have worked for me:

  • Delegate the small decisions when you can. They’re really not important. Really.
  • Be a satisficer. Don’t waste your time researching every…last…option. Be good with good enough.
  • Always do the most important thing first thing in the morning. If that’s all you get done that day, be okay with that.
  • For the big decisions, follow your heart. Your head often gets in the way.
  • Standardize your routines to remove decision making wherever possible. Love that workout outfit? Buy 3 of them and never make that decision again. Eat the same thing for breakfast (mostly) every morning.
  • For the really small decisions (like what to order at a restaurant), practice being a bit rash. Ask the server what’s good and order that. It’ll save brain cells.
  • Hedge your bets. Free trials are your friend.
  • Realize that few decisions are truly final. Order something you didn’t like? Ask for something else. Reading a book that you hate? You don’t have to finish it. Realize you chose the wrong software solution? Try another one.

And with that, I hope your day is filled with more “Whee!” moments and fewer “exploding head” moments.

Hey there tech managers! Is leading your team like herding cats? 🐱 🐱🐱Are you sick of making stuff up, without trusted systems to guide you? Are your days filled with useless, time-sucking meetings? Join my Facebook group with other tech geeks who are coming together to build thriving, high-performing teams who don’t need constant hand-holding. No H.R. B.S. Real stories, from real geeks, who understand the nuances of being a techie. Click here to join:

Written by

Career Coach for Tech Managers. I help tech managers upgrade their careers, their teams, their paychecks, and their lives.

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