Episode #56: How to Handle Decision Fatigue

DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. How to Handle Decision Fatigue.

In today’s episode, we’re having a conversation about decision fatigue. We’ll finish up the episode with a weekly actionable tip!


Diane Sanfilippo: I always need to sprint and rest, sprint and rest. After this podcast, Cassy will go do more work, and that is her energy flow. I will sit on the couch and eat something, and then go do some other things. But I’m completely tapped out after an hour of recording a podcast. And it’s just a different energy flow for different people.

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Cassy Joy: In today’s episode, we’re having a conversation about decision fatigue.

Topics:

  1. What’s on my plate [1:04]
  2. Shop Talk: Decision fatigue [25:45]
  3. Restructuring your day [41:03]
  4. Tip of The Week: Switch your normal [53:50]

1.  What’s on my plate [1:04]

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives for the week. So Cassy, if this were a video podcast, everyone would need to know; inquiring minds. What would they be seeing? We were just chatting about it before we hit record.

Cassy Joy: A lot of hair. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: I would almost venture to say triple the amount of hair. I got hair extensions. And it is something. {laughs} It’s definitely not something that; I didn’t expect to be constantly so aware of them.

Diane Sanfilippo: Interesting.

Cassy Joy: if that makes sense. Have you ever had extensions; permanent ones?

Diane Sanfilippo: Not permanent ones, no. I had some that I would clip in for photoshoots, years ago. And I found it just heavy. We were just talking about how it’s heavy. But it will look amazing on video. I feel like I’ve heard that everyone on television; unless you can really see that they don’t look like they have a ton of hair. If somebody looks like they have amazing hair and they’re on TV, it’s not their hair.

Cassy Joy: Totally. I started seeing it; the phenomenon of, you buy a white car, you see a bunch of white cars. I was watching, I think Bravo last night. And it was spanning the room; I don’t remember what show it was. And I was like; hair extensions, hair extensions, hair extensions {laughing}. I could really pick it out, when they look really, really full at the tips, if it’s long hair, is like a really good give away.

I have a lot of hair. And it hasn’t quite fallen out yet. You know, the classic postpartum hair loss, but I know it’s coming. And it’s just something I’ve always wanted to play with. So before I chopped my hair, I cut about 6 inches off, and lightened it a little bit. I ordered these extensions at the same time. And I didn’t know how much I love my short little wispy hair. But I decided to follow through with this anyway. And it was tight, but not necessarily super uncomfortable at the beginning. A little itchy. It’s a pain to wash. I’ve got three rows of hand tied extensions put in.

And I’ve had a bunch of folks message me. They were like; I always thought your hair was real! I was like; it was! It was! {Laughs} I have had these for days. But it is. I like it. I like it when it’s done and styles and not dirty.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: {laughs} When it’s wet, I have to wash it, or it’s dirty, I have to style it; it’s a chore.

Diane Sanfilippo: And forgive me because I actually made Cassy talk about that first, because I’m looking at it and it’s so glorious. And it was not her first business update to share by any stretch. So you can blame that on me if you’re like; I just started listening to this show, and it seems to be not very business related. We loop in some personal updates because we think it’s important to just kind of form that more personal connection with our listeners. But it’s a business update, because y’all are going to see it. In the biz.

Cassy Joy: You are! And of course I rationalized it because we’re about to shoot the cover for book 3.

Diane Sanfilippo: Perfect. It looks very real.

Cassy Joy: It does.

Diane Sanfilippo: I would never know.

Cassy Joy: They did a phenomenal job. And I have no secrets, so if y’all are feeling lied to. I promise; I’m telling it everywhere. Because I don’t want people to think collagen will get you this.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: {laughs} So. Anyway, there’s that update. And speaking of the book, we are putting final touches on the book. We still have a third of the photos to shoot. Which is so interesting; I’ve talked about the book endlessly in prior episodes. Which, of course, production was pressed pause on because of COVID. And we’re picking it back up in a few weeks the team will be back together to finish the photos. It’s so interesting to think that a third of the photos aren’t done, but yet my job is coming to an end. So we’re getting ready to turn that in.

The last other big update I have is; I filmed a couple of demos in our new studio kitchen recently. And I love it. And I had the suspicion that I was going to have to bring in some sort of acoustic paneling, but I wanted to wait to really confirm that it was going to be needed. And even on a little iPhone, if I’m filming on stories, you can tell that it’s kind of echoey. So I’m going to have to start investigating and researching that.

Diane Sanfilippo: I did notice that. And I also was like; she’ll hear it. I don’t need to say anything.

Cassy Joy: There were a small handful of folks who said; are you going to do something about that echo? {laughing} Y’all. If you’re new here. I do; I like to give everybody the benefit of the doubt. But I have two buttons. One button is unsolicited advice, and the second button is making fun of me. And when those two kind of combine, collide; it just triggers me. Even though these people meant wonderful; they were very kind in their delivery. You know.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s an underestimation of your…

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Abilities and attention to detail and all of that. It’s like; we don’t get to this level of our work without those abilities and attention to detail.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. And I get upset because it’s just, my pride is wounded, if I’m being really honest.

Diane Sanfilippo: Of course.

Cassy Joy: It’s not to say that it was any fault of those folks. But yes, we’re going to have to put in acoustic paneling. And I have no idea where to begin researching, but luckily I’ve got a musician in the family. So I think she might be able to help.

Diane Sanfilippo: Perfect. And I would say, I don’t know how much I would have noticed it had I not, many years ago, dated an acoustical engineer who then made me notice it everywhere, in every restaurant. And which restaurants were not done right.

Cassy Joy: Ooh.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. That was an interesting experience {laughs}.

Cassy Joy: Something you can’t unlearn.

Diane Sanfilippo: But I am also very sensitive to audio experiences, too. I think you know that about me. Literally any noise while I’m trying to record the podcast, for example, is just super high trigger. So, anyway.

But yeah. It’s a new space. You’ll figure it out. And I think there are some artful ways to do it, too. Some ways that you’ll see it and it will just be what it will be. And then some ways; who knows. But I’m excited to see what kind of creative solutions you all come up with, as well.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, it’s appropriate conversation for what we’re talking about today, because I had to put it off. I couldn’t handle that decision at the time.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: What do you have going on?

Diane Sanfilippo: But rightfully so, because you have to see what the space is, you know? You have to see where the sound is. So what’s going on over here? I always lose track of where we are in space and time. So this episode is going to air on September 7th. So, a couple of updates. Our granola collaboration launch went so well. And it definitely exposed a major weakness of mine. {laughs} A major skill weakness of mine. And I wish I would have taken my own learnings the last time I launched a new product, which is when we launched the special edition blends which I know you affectionally love, as well. {laughs}

But I grossly underestimated how much inventory I would need initially. Now, I will say, to my credit I knew that we could get more pretty quickly, versus with spices it takes a lot longer to get them; everything is hand done for all of this. Hand jarred, hand labeled for spices, and same thing with the granola. It’s baked by people, put into the bags and all of that. But that turnaround is a little bit quicker.

Anyway; we blew through the units that I had ordered initially in three days. Maybe under three days. Which, it’s like; that’s great. But it’s also not. That for me is not the experience I want people to have. And I’m pretty sure I had this exact same conversation about the spices. That that is not the experience I want people to have. Maybe in one week, or two weeks, to sell out. And then get a replenishment. But I don’t like, as a customer, to feel like I didn’t know about it for one hour and it was gone. And that’s kind of what I feel like that is, when it’s only there for a couple of days. I don’t like the lack of accessibility that that is. Especially if someone is waiting for a paycheck, for example. These sensitivities that I’m trying to have more and more of, that it will make somebody feel like they missed out, and like they didn’t have the money that minute. All of that.

So anyway. There’s that. So it was great. But leave it to me to find a Debbie-downer moment in the greatness. It’s like the; what could I have done better? It will literally always be something I could have done better. But I will enjoy the fact that people are really loving it. Responding so well to it. I’m really excited about it. The folks over at Nana Joe’s; the owner, Michelle, she really loves it. She worked with me on converting the blend. It was a peanut butter collagen cacao butter granola. And they don’t do peanuts in their kitchen for allergy reasons. And that’s kind of a big divide. Most kitchens are peanut free, unless it’s a peanut butter kitchen. {laughs} If it’s a place that works with peanuts, they work with peanuts, and they might not work with some other nuts that people have allergies to. So I definitely have learned that.

And they’re also a totally vegan kitchen. And that normally isn’t really an issue when it comes to granola. But because I had collagen in my original recipe, again we needed to find a switch. So we used watermelon seed protein, and that’s something that I worked together with them to go through some testing. Anyway. It’s just really exciting.

Cassy Joy: It’s so good. I just want to double down. I’ve had my bag. It sat in the mailbox, I don’t know how many days. And when Austin finally brought it in, I was like, “Waaaahhh!” {laughing} tore into it. It is so delicious. I’ve had it for breakfast the last two days with some Greek yogurt and some berries. It’s the best kind of the granola.

Y’all know when you get a bag of granola; if you’re like me, you get the big clusters out first and you eat those. And you leave the little bitsy pieces {laughs} to the bottom? It is just all big clusters. The flavor is right on. It is just so good.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well thank you.

Cassy Joy: You’re welcome.

Diane Sanfilippo: I appreciate that.

Cassy Joy: I love it.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think it’s a really innovative granola. I don’t know if I mentioned this on the show. I’ve talked about it before. I’ve never seen cacao butter in a granola before. And I felt like it was a really interesting ingredient to use developing this recipe originally for the blog at home. It’s my peanut butter granola recipe. If you want to make it at home, you absolutely can with peanut butter as it’s written.

But the interesting thing about cacao butter; for those of you who might be new to the show. Cassy and I are certified as nutritionists. So we’re nutritionists, foodies, and obviously business builders. So my background in understanding healthy fats; I had cacao butter on hand. It’s very saturated. It’s probably the most saturated of any of the fats that we consume pretty regularly, if you’re eating chocolate, for example. Because if you think about how solid and snappy chocolate is at room temperature; there’s no other fat that’s like that.

So if you have cacao butter in your pantry, it’s extremely solid. Like chocolate chips would be, right? And there are just not other fats like that. Even something like a hydrogenated oil, or a shortening. You can put a spoon or a knife into it. You cannot do that with cacao butter. So interestingly, it takes a lot to really melt it. But because it’s a high saturated fat, it’s very stable at shelf temperature. So I love that. And I love that it is a vegan-friendly fat. Which you know I’m not vegan, but I like that it is friendly for everyone. And I love this chocolatey flavor without the bitterness of chocolate.

So when you’re like; why does this taste so good? It’s like nothing you’ve ever made. It’s because of the cacao butter, which is not something that people have used in granola. But the reason I was using it is because I had it on hand because I used to blend it into a hot matcha.

Cassy Joy: Ooooh.

Diane Sanfilippo: If you’ve never done this with matcha; cacao butter in your matcha is so good. But I wasn’t using it for almost anything else. I was like; what am I going to do with this cacao butter? And I was like; I’m going to melt it into my granola. I bet that would taste like white chocolate peanut butter. And it kind of does. So anyway, that’s where that all came from.

So, more on the horizon with that. I won’t leak out too much information on that. And the other big updates around here; I talked about it think last week. But I don’t know if I had officially signed the lease yet when we recorded. I think I might not have, I don’t remember.

Cassy Joy: I don’t think you had.

Diane Sanfilippo: So I signed the lease on this shop; totally motivated by Cassy having an office location. Also, my friend Kendra who has been looking for the right location to have a more retail-oriented business for a while now. This is one of those moments where it’s like; being a product of the friends that you keep. Even though we’re not physically around people all the time right now. I’m not physically around you that much. obviously, we talk every week for the show.

But the five people I talk to the most, besides my husband and a friend who is kind of in these businesses but not a business builder in the same way. Having you, and Kendra, and some others where I’m looking at what people are doing. And I’m like; yeah, this is where we’re at. These are the steps that we’re taking. And I was so motivated by just seeing you in your space, and seeing how your energy changed. That was what really did it for me. I was like; wow, she looks like this feels good! You know; I have a place to work! {laughs}

This is so corny, but this is us. “I’m going to be so productive here!” {laughing}

Cassy Joy: Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: That was really it. You literally had on a crisp white shirt, and I was like; well that looks productive!

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: And it just turned the lightbulb on for me. Though we’re obviously doing things differently. I’m not building a kitchen studio or anything like that to film videos. It was still this moment of; well, what’s the next level of professionalism for my business? And I truly had not pictured this until the last couple of weeks, at all. And when I did start looking for a space, I thought it was just going to be office space with a little bit of retail in the front, where people could shop online, and just say; I want to pick it up in the store. And then all of a sudden it became; oh my gosh, I’m actually opening a store! I will have a desk there, but it will be a store! {laughing} This whole thing just kind of, I don’t know. It just took over. This was not what I thought it was going to be, and suddenly it’s going to be something totally different. So it’s blowing my mind.

Cassy Joy: I’m so excited for you! That’s the way the best ideas happen.

Diane Sanfilippo: Like, what am I doing? {laughs}

Cassy Joy: It’s like you find a fossil in your backyard, and you’re like; oh, lookie there. And you just start brushing away the rest.

Diane Sanfilippo: Clearing away the rest?

Cassy Joy: Yes! And then you’re like; oh my gosh, I found a Tyrannosaurus!! {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Totally. I thought I was just finding a little pterodactyl or something!

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t know what’s big and what’s small, but I think Tyrannosaurus rex is much bigger. Yeah. For sure. That was it. Honestly, it was like; I need to get out of my house to work and now I’m opening a store. So for all the people who are like; wow. That’s amazing. I literally; I don’t know what I’m doing. At all.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Like, I have no clue. I’m like; oh. Wait. There’s a lot more bills {laughing} I will have to call to get the electricity and the gas in my name. But the cable, and contacting commercial painters to come. I have a muralist; I mean, all of this sounds like I know what I’m doing once again. But no, I actually happen to have some good friends here in the city who opened a plant shop. Not the Sill, but it’s called Petite Monstera. And it’s here in the city. And literally within the last couple of weeks they opened a shop, and I was watching their Instagram stories and they have this woman who is a local artist painting a mural on their wall. And I was like; I will call her up. Because here she is. She did a great job on their mural. And {laughs} it sounds good.

I did put out a call to try to find someone recommended by my readers and listeners and all of that. But I don’t think there was a lot out there. And I did do some searching beforehand. And again; just wasn’t finding anyone that looked like they didn’t just do their own style. You know? It’s tough. I don’t want an artist to just come in and paint my logo if that’s not what they do. I don’t want to squash someone’s artistic vision.

But anyway. All of these things happening. I was thinking about doing sit-stand desks because I’ve wanted one for my desk. I love the ones that you guys have. And then I think I’m going to pivot on that and go with some stainless prep tables; like restaurant prep tables that are more of a counter height. And I do think I’ll stand at it mostly, but I can get a stool to be able to sit.

Cassy Joy: Oh nice.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s what I want to do for a sitting situation. And just kind of thinking about how this space is going to be used; I do plan to do events and things like that in the space. So I love the idea of being able to just clear the desk off; not make it this big; I’ve moved into it and settled. A little more of a workstation. So if we have an event, we can kind of put the tables together, use that for food or information or whatever is going to happen there.

So this is all happening. I guess it’s kind of like a snowball effect. {laughs} I just, what? What is happening? But it’s exciting. And I will say; posting content about it to social media has been really fun, because it’s like posting; not quite, because I’ve seen people’s baby content. But it’s literally like announcing your pregnant, and posting baby pictures, and the response is just so fun. But the response to the renovation before and after is really fun.

Cassy Joy: That’s so great. I can’t wait to be; when we’re all getting together again, I can’t wait to come in for a party.

Diane Sanfilippo: The response, where people are like; I can’t wait to come in! I was like; oh my gosh. That’s when it hit me. Oh, people are really going to want to shop there.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Heck yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I know that sounds obvious now. But I literally was just thinking I would just put some spices up in the front, and the few people who live here.

Cassy Joy: A passerby? {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Exactly. The few people who live here who know about us online. But I forgot about just random people walking by might be curious and would come in and buy things or look around. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: So fun.

Diane Sanfilippo: I know.

Cassy Joy: I was thinking today; sorry to extend this even further, but talking about your space growing another leg. I was like; we get the question pretty often; how and when are you going to bolster the “fit” part of Fed and Fit. And we try to do it with different workouts and sharing things. But none of the four of us are fitness instructors so it tends to fall to the wayside. We’re all nutritionists. {laughs} So food tends to be our focus.

But, with this new space, I thought; oh, you know what would be so cool? Again, when I’ve got some breathing room around the office space and our current projects, I want to bring in like a bike so folks can workout here. My team can workout if they want to. But also bring in fitness instructors and lead group classes on the rooftop patio. And then we can live stream them for the community. Wouldn’t that be so fun?!

Diane Sanfilippo: That would be really fun.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: We have such different brains. Because your ability to see things so much further ahead is like; it’s just such a wonderful skill and ability. And my brain just can’t. I can see a lot once I open the door. But if the door is not open, I can’t see what’s on the other side of it. That’s just the best analogy I can think of. You’re like; let me tell you, there are three doors and here’s what’s on the other side of all of them. And I see all of this, and we can do all of it. And you can. And then you make it happen, and that’s what happens. But for me I’m like; there’s a lot of doors here.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t know which one is for me. And I won’t know. It’s almost; {laughs} ok. I watched Beetlejuice last week, or two weeks ago. You know the scene where they’re possessed by Beetlejuice, or whatever is happening and they’re sing Day-o? It’s literally like; I don’t know what’s going to happen until the Day-o comes out, and it’s like; I’m just rising up out of the seat and I’m like; oh, is this what we’re doing? Alright, I’m here. And then I start dancing.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m like, fine. But I literally don’t know. And digging into the Human Design stuff, it’s not the Human Design itself where I’m a Manifestor; so a lot of; then the rest, once the doors open, I’m good. I can run and I can see a lot of things, and a million ideas. Same way. But I can’t logic or think my way to ideas and decisions. I have to just extremely, viscerally, be like; oh, this is what I’m doing. And I can’t even explain how it’s logical or makes sense. Because it doesn’t. It’s not like; oh, this is very well thought out and here’s exactly what I’m doing. No. It doesn’t work that way. It’s a part of my Human Design.

Cassy Joy: It is. You’re tapped into your intuition. My friend, Mikael Gray, who is a life/business coach that is a friend of mine for a long, long time. But recently I employed him as a coach formally. And that’s his whole practice, to get people to tap into and trust their intuition, and then figure out how to communicate that intuition to the rest of the world.

So for example, with Austin and myself. Austin is my husband. To be able to tell him; this is what I see for our family, in terms of a home. A family home. I can’t explain it, but this is what it is. I just need you to trust me on this.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. It’s interesting, because if this coach does or doesn’t really lean into some things like human design, part of being a Manifestor; specifically, and probably a little bit of being a Manifesting Generator, which Cassy is. Which is no surprise, the level of work that comes out of Cassy is amazing. I’m always in awe.

But my job is to inform, and it’s actually this backwards. I’ve made this decision, here’s what’s happening. Let me tell you all about it. And then I’m like; let me answer whatever questions you have or put any; like I said this to my team this week on our team call, team Balanced Bites. I was like; what questions do you have, or fears, or apprehensions. And by now, there’s only one who is pretty new, since basically she started during the beginning of COVID during March, and another team member who started late last year. Neither of them have been through this type of experience with me. Where they’re’ like; oh, we’re doing this now? Ok.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: This is big and new and different. And this didn’t come from anywhere. But the rest of the team is like; yeah, we’re used to this. Diane just comes in one Monday like; here’s what we’re doing now everyone! {laughs} And they’re like; pivot! {laughs} Yeah. But I’ve learned that what I need to do is inform, and verbalize it, and help answer questions before people have them as best I can. Because it puts other people at ease with a decision that I feel; though I’m joking that I don’t know what I’m doing, because I don’t. I’m not anxious or nervous about it. I’m like; this is all good. We’ve got this. But I know that type of behavior and big decision making makes other people nervous or unsettled. So being able to inform people what’s going on is a really powerful way to keep everyone on board and included.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

2.  Shop Talk: Decision fatigue [25:45]

Cassy Joy: Shop Talk. In this segment, we discuss topics that are related to business and entrepreneurship that are on both our minds and yours. This week we’re talking about decision fatigue.

I am really excited about this conversation. To prepare for it, I wanted to make sure that I had my mind adequately wrapped around some of the differences between decision fatigue and the conversation we had last week about, oh.

Diane Sanfilippo: Analysis paralysis.

Cassy Joy: Thank you! {laughing} Oh, isn’t that funny. Yes, about analysis paralysis and decision fatigue. And I did a little digging and a little research. And just to properly cite my sources, so y’all don’t think that I’m just this brilliant person that has all of this information in my head; the New York Times from 2011 has a great article called, “Do you Suffer from Decision Fatigue?” Of course, there are a few nuggets I learned from Wikipedia. Not necessarily the most reliable source, but there’s some good stuff there. Forbes.com has a really great one; how to identify when you’re in it. MichaelHyatt.com. So, really great information out there.

But something that I found really interesting, Diane, when I was researching this that I hadn’t quite thought about this holistically. If you think; I always knew that decision fatigue, I always thought it was on its own track of energy output. If I make a decision, then it deducts from the energy that I have for decisions for the day. So you wake up every morning with a fully battery for decisions, and then you spend them throughout the day. And if you don’t spend them wisely, then you’re going to run out very soon. Then when you’re out, you are essentially out of making good quality decisions and then you rush things. You make impulse decisions. You’re not quite as confident, or you’re not quite as thorough. And you tend to be slightly more conservative in your decisions. Maybe. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum.

But what I didn’t put together is that this source of energy that we use to make decisions is also the same place where willpower comes from. So when you are, let’s say, wanting to start a new workout regimen. Or wanting to change the way you eat for one reason or another. Or you’re wanting to just change or build a new habit, that is actually going to deplete this energy source in addition to the decisions that you’re making.

So that was really eye-opening to me. Because I have been exceptionally exhausted through these last several months; lots of reasons. If we set the world on pause and take that out of the equation; which obviously you cannot do. But if we do that; I had a baby. A newborn. Finishing a book. And building an office space. Right? And all of those things at once, I have felt exceptionally exhausted. And I know that I can handle a lot of decisions, and I’m really good at making sure that I am streamlining wherever possible. Which we can talk about today.

But it was the willpower to build new habits of incorporating a new human into our life. And also to right-size some of my; like, I was super addicted to sugar through my pregnancy and knowing that I wanted to pull that plug after she was born. It was so interesting because; it just explains why at the end of the day I felt especially ragged and like I’d run out of those…

Diane Sanfilippo: That totally makes sense. I think this is really interesting, too, because in the last two weeks, since this whole snowball of looking at spaces, thinking about what’s going to happen, and now the last full week of; oh my gosh, we’re opening a store. What is this? I had been eating really, and very on point. And it feels like I’m failing myself, and I’m getting lazy. And at the same time; I thought about it this morning. You just kind of hit the nail on the head. That decision fatigue and willpower are coming from the same energy source. It’s not any of those things I kind of made up about myself; it’s really that suddenly I’m making all these other decisions and fitting this whole other thing into my life. There just isn’t energy and brain capacity for the thing.

You know, it does take a good amount of energy to be really on top of food choices in a certain way that is not second nature to me. That is not really my habit. It’s not my habit to only eat chicken breast, to know exactly the portion that is going to serve me best. Yes, I can eyeball things, but this does require a conscious, concerted effort, and aligning that with other things in life.

And I think this is really important for all of our entrepreneurs to know. Because I almost feel like entrepreneurs get really shamed about whether or not they have their morning routine. And all these healthy habits at the same time. And truthfully, I think when you do get to this place in your career where maybe you have a lot of help, and you’re at a certain level. You’re 10 to 15-plus years into this whole thing, and you’re kind of at a high performance level with your business, you sort of get the opportunity to optimize yourself.

And I’m not saying, don’t look at that and do your best to try along the way, right? We’re constantly trying and we’re constantly trying to find ways to balance these things. But I do think it’s a little piece of grace to hear; wow, this is coming from the same pool, and it’s no wonder and it’s not really your fault if this kind of feels harder. You’re starting a business; it is harder to start a business and maintain your healthy habits, and etc., etc., than to be 10 years in and maintaining all of those things.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right? If your kids were a certain age; of course, at a certain age things are different. But all these lifestyle things. Anyway, that’s a really interesting point.

Cassy Joy: Isn’t it? And it is very freeing. When that clicked for me earlier today, I was thinking; because I have gotten; the pendulum has swung in the other direction in terms of my eating habits since I started working more and not being home with the girls. And that’s another habit that I’m trying to build. Living with that ok and those two truths; that my work is important and my children are important. That’s a habit and a new way to live. In addition to all these other deadlines and things that I’m chasing and these big decisions that I’m making constantly. I get home and you know what I want for dinner? I want pasta, or pizza, or something comforting to boost my blood glucose; my blood sugar so that.

And it’s interesting also in this research; there’s a correlation between the ability to make a quality decision and blood sugar. If you have more sugar present in your blood, essentially, you are more capable of making a more sound decision. So it’s like; if you find yourself snacking more during these periods of heavy decision making, or major habit forming; let’s take food habit forming out of the picture. Other habits that you’re trying to build. Or in seasons of stress. You will probably find yourself needing to snack more. And that’s actually a really wise thing that your body is telling you to do so you can make a more sound decision.

It’s so interesting. And what I have found; when I think about decision fatigue, the picture that comes into my mind first are the folks in the past. Like Steve Jobs, Barack Obama; what’s his name, the founder of Facebook? I’m going to get…

Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t even want to say his name. Its like Voldemort.

Cassy Joy: Ok, well there we go. We won’t say him. We’ll just say Steve Jobs and Barack Obama.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: They wear; their wardrobes. If y’all remember, and y’all might have all heard this.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s essentially their uniform.

Cassy Joy: Their uniforms; exactly. I forget, it’s like a black shirt and blue jeans. Or whatever it is; Barack Obama was obviously not walking around in blue jeans all the time. But they wore the same thing over and over again. And I think it was a Barack Obama quote; forgive me, I’m going to misquote this because I don’t have it at my fingertips. But in essence what he said to that was; I have so many important decisions to make all day long. I don’t want to waste one of those on what I’m going to wear. So that way if I just have the thing that I wear, I put on to clothe my body, it takes that decision out of it.

So that’s where I tend to go, when I think about decision fatigue, I think about how can I conserve that energy as best as possible. That’s really the name of this game. To conserve our energy so that we’re not spending this decision-making energy, this willpower energy, on things that we don’t necessarily need quite as much at that point in time as we do other stuff. Conserve it, and then also figure out how we can hack that energy system. So where we can produce the same results; make sound decisions, without necessarily having to deplete that energy bank quite as much.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. So I think we can look at how this is working in our everyday lives even outside of our business decisions. Many of us probably reach for and put on the same clothes very, very often. Maybe you build an outfit and it’s the one that you wear together all the time. Like, these lovely sweatpants and sweatshirt that I put on as many days as possible until they’re walking off of me. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: No, but that type of thing. Or building a capsule wardrobe; that feeds into this, supporting the fact that decision fatigue is a thing. Everyone can suffer from it. So in order to make that easier and take away that additional stress and pressure, creating these; it’s almost like creating more minimalistic approaches in certain things in your life. Because you know other things are going to take a lot more of that energy and focus and weighing options and risk reward and all of that.

I think this is actually; it occurred to me as you were talking. It’s one of the things that people who get really good at cooking and using ingredients in the kitchen in certain ways, in certain combinations. I think one of the reasons I love to tell people to keep certain things on hand is so that decision fatigue becomes less. And I had never verbalized it that way, so it’s really interesting to think about this.

But it’s like; if you always keep certain proteins, and certain; you have lemons, and you have this. We cook the same things all the time. Why do we do that? We are busy with other things. We don’t want to keep deciding. So it always blows my mind when people are looking for more new recipes. I’m like; really? You really want to try something new, in the middle of this busy week {laughs} when you’re homeschooling and doing all these other things? It blows my mind. Because I’m like, I do not want another recipe, actually. I do not.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Do not show me something else now that I’m going to want to make, because I don’t want to make another decision about this. I don’t want to have to see the risk reward of it. I don’t want to have to go through that again. So it’s interesting.

And I do think it would be interesting for people to identify where in our lives we can continue to whittle down the options and not have to make so many decisions so that in this thing that you’re new at, you leave yourself the most flexibility and the most energy capacity for decisions. Because you’re probably not as well oiled at those decisions yet, and you kind of need that.

So here’s a great example. People could use Cook Once, Eat All Week. And they cook up their food for the week, and they know what they’re going to have. Maybe they have a peloton, maybe they’re doing home workouts. Whatever they’re doing. And decide what you’re going to do for the week. So that then as you’re starting your business, you’re not also having to decide what I’m going to eat, what’s my workout going to be, all of that. And I think that’s one of the reasons, too, why I do like following a workout plan. I like following a plan.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: In those ways. because these other things; I can’t have someone else plan what’s going to happen in my business. But I can be like; hey hun, will you write a workout on the board for me? {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: He’s like, ok, that seems nuts that you don’t know how to write a workout. I’m like I do; I don’t want to make that decision.

Cassy Joy: Yes! That’s exactly it Diane. I ask Austin; I ask him to write a workout for me on the white board all the time.

Diane Sanfilippo: I cannot make that decision.

Cassy Joy: He’s not a trainer. But I don’t want to sit there and think about.

Diane Sanfilippo: Totally.

Cassy Joy: He knows enough to put together a workout. But I don’t want to sit there and think about; do I want to do four rounds or five rounds of this? I want someone else to think about it for me. Totally. It is so interesting.

And how do you know if you’re suffering from decision fatigue? If you don’t know. Some of you are sitting there like; yes! All the time! End of the day! I think if you don’t quite know what exactly we’re talking about, it’s when you get to the end of the day. Let’s say the afternoon. And you start to either rush through decisions. You cluster them and you don’t take as much thoughtful time to work through them. Let’s say it’s a decision on; oh goodness, what kind of car. No, that’s not a good one. People usually take their time with cars. {laughing}

Let’s say; let’s say it’s a decision, I mean in our family; whether or not we’re going to send our daughter to her daycare right away. Right? If Austin and I are talking this over in the morning over coffee, we’re going to take our time with this conversation and we’re going to be very thoughtful. We might even, knowing me, write a pros and cons list. And then I might say; you know what? I want to sleep on this, again. And I want to talk to some more trusted people about it. Like, we’d set up a process to make that decision as thoughtfully as possible.

However, if he brings it up to me at 4:30 in the afternoon, while I’m sitting there nursing a baby that I haven’t seen for 6 hours because I was at work, and I’m playing with Grayson, and I’m thinking about dinner, and I’ve just had a whole day spent of energy and decision, and he says; what do you think about Gray going back to school right away, I’m going to say, “I don’t know, what do you think? Sure that’s fine.” Right? I’m going to defer, deflect, or make a quick decision. And for whomever is curious, we are holding her at home. {laughs} Because we made that decision very thoughtfully.

But that’s how you know you’ve depleted that energy. When you’re rushing something that typically would have been more important otherwise. Or, if you’re sitting; and I’ve done this so much lately; and this was also eye opening. Sitting in bed at the end of the day, scrolling on Instagram. Because it’s the only time that I actually casually consume. And then impulse buying things. And if Austin hears these, he’s going to hide my phone from me.

Diane Sanfilippo: Is there a problem with that? {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m just kidding.

Cassy Joy: But it’s fine. Last night I bought a headband. But it’s this addiction to making decisions, but not taking my time to be as thoughtful through them I think could also be another sign of it.

3. Restructuring your day [41:03]

Diane Sanfilippo: Really interesting. So what occurs to me; and it’s probably obvious to a lot of people. But this is something that sometimes it’s hard to identify it and then structure your day accordingly. And I’m so glad that we’re having this conversation right now, because I definitely notice myself getting into a pattern of sort of jumping into work, and sometimes I don’t handle; let’s say there are 5 to 10 relatively small decisions. Or what could be pretty quick. We’re 99% done with this thing, and I really need to make a last decision on it. But unfortunately what happens is, because I know it’s 99% done, I then haven’t realized that it’s not a decision to make at the end of the day.

This is weird, but it’s this paradox that I’m just realizing is happening. I know we don’t need to do a lot of work on it, so I don’t think about making the decision first. But I did this today, so now I feel like; I’m glad that we came into this conversation. Because I’m like; I did it in the right order today, rather than wait until later in the day to finally put a stamp and say; yes, we’re going to order these labels. It’s 25,000 labels for something that I’m like; ugh! That feels heavy. You know, it’s printing plates. It’s a big decision to say; ok greenlight, do it.

But then when I actually sat and looked at the quote and the math, I was like; ok. To your point about weighing risk and all of that; it’s not a super expensive mistake if it is a mistake. So now that I’m sitting here giving it the right time to make the decision, I can see that it’s ok for me to just say yes go ahead. And if for some reason we change our minds, it will be ok. But realizing that those decisions that are a little bit bigger, or more impactful, are the best to really put on the top of your day.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: And just putting maybe one to three, depending on how big of a decision it is. One to three of those types of decisions early in the day, and then leaving things as the rest of the day progresses. But I’ve definitely found that towards the end of the day, even in the evening sometimes, what I’ll end up doing is going into to my to-do list, because I’ve just been whirlwind all day with other work. Whatever it is. And not noticing my task list of approvals and reviews and things that I need to do for my team. And sometimes I let it get to the end of the day, where I think I’m going to move through them quickly. But to your point, what ends up happening is I’m probably already a bit fatigued for the day. And I am probably making quick decisions on some of them, which is ok. Because a lot of them don’t need more time.

Sometimes I force myself to do that so that I don’t give something more time than it needs, if that makes sense. I don’t need to spend an hour on this decision. So if I leave it till later, it’s not one that would be expensive or whatever. I need to just decide and move on.

But this defer and deflect, I think that was really interesting to talk about how we do that if we kind of leave things too late. We might do that. Or if we leave it until we’re already fatigued. We might not then; which I think would be a better solution. If we look to make that same decision earlier in the day, instead of deferring it or deflecting it. We might appropriately delegate it. And I feel like that; I wrote it down, because I was like; well this is what I could do at the beginning of the day if I actually gave it the time and thought and said; actually, I don’t need to make this decision.

That’s always my thought process; have I not trained someone on my team? Am I the talent here? Do I need to make this decision? Do I need to be the one who does this work? Because if I don’t, I should not be doing it. There is someone on my team who is capable, and empowered, and maybe I just didn’t train them fully yet or whatever it is. And this just happened recently with a task flow that we’ve had that I’ve kept on my plate for too long. And finally I’m like; hey everyone, we need to do this differently. But that decision was made at the beginning of the day, to say; hey, I need to delegate this out.

So I feel like that’s a really good example of how to look at these things that you end up leaving to the end of the day, and then you’re just not making the best decisions. I thought you were going say about this conversation about whether or not your daughter would go back to preschool, or whatever it is, that you would say yes or no hastily, because you’re tired. So then you’re like; yeah, send her, because I’m tired and maybe I’ll be less tired every day. Or I’m making the decision based on how I feel right now, and how I feel right now is tired.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: So, yes. Send her. You know what I mean?

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Instead of really thinking it through.

Cassy Joy: Absolutely. I want to read this excerpt that I pulled from the New York Times article. It’s a little bit long, but I think it’s so interesting to kind of bring us to these solutions. So the expert here, he is a famous psychologist, Baumeister says, “Good decision making is not a trait of the person, in the sense that it’s always there. It’s a state that fluctuates.” Making good decisions fluctuates. His studies show that people with the best self-control are the ones who structure their lives so as to conserve willpower.”

So that’s kind of how I think of myself. When I’m really in it; when I really feel like I’m crushing the most efficient way to live my life, I think of it as conserving my willpower as a top priority.

“They don’t schedule endless back-to-back meetings. They avoid temptations like all-you-can-eat buffets” Not to say those are evil, necessarily. But we know that when you’re there, the decisions you have to make are so many while you’re there. “They establish habits that eliminate the mental effort of making choices. Instead of deciding every morning whether or not to force themselves to exercise, they set up regular appointments to work out with a friend.” And that’s the way I work, as well. “Instead of counting on willpower to remain robust all day, they conserve it so that it’s available for emergencies and important decisions.”

“Even the wisest people won’t make good choices when they’re not rested and their glucose is low,” Baumeister points out. That’s why the truly wise don’t restructure the company at 4 p.m. They don’t make major commitments during the cocktail hour. And if a decision must be made late in the day, they know not to do it on an empty stomach.” And then I bolded this, because it’s great. “The best decision makers,” Baumeister says, “are the ones who know when not to trust themselves.”

Diane Sanfilippo: So good.

Cassy Joy: I think that’s so good!

Diane Sanfilippo: You hit on so many good points here. And I’ll say, too. I think big decisions; so this one was; don’t restructure the company at 4 p.m. Every time I’ve made really big decisions, it’s when there is a calm. So, when I decided to start up BB meals, it was while I was on vacation in Hawaii. This decision about the space; we have been; I wouldn’t say things have been calm. But it’s been this surge through COVID and March and April were pretty hectic. We’ve kind of just gotten into a pace of iterating week after week. And that was something where I’m like; ok. This is well oiled, relatively speaking. So we weren’t in the middle of a launch, or chaos, or any of that and that decision kind of came.

So that’s really interesting. And a lot of this is what we talked about all day. And I will say, too, to your point about when you’re really in your flow and when you are in that place, this point about not scheduling endless back to back meetings. That is for sure me. If there is one thing on my calendar for the day that’s a meeting, maybe two. I mean, even having just a relatively small team of 6 of us for Balanced Bites; I’m like, I am not scheduling all of us having a touch base every day, every week even. And it’s not going to be back to back meetings.

And I think everyone does have a slightly different energy flow, and energy rejuvenation process. And we have to know ourselves. These quotes are always great, but sometimes you’re like; well, I feel fine when I do that. And I don’t suffer from decision fatigue the same way. We do have differences. There is basic human nature but then there are always variations.

I always need to sprint and rest, sprint and rest. After this podcast, Cassy will go do more work. And that is her energy flow. I will sit on the couch and eat something {laughs} and then go do some other things. But I’m completely tapped out after an hour of recording a podcast. And it’s just a different energy flow for different people.

Cassy Joy: It is. And that’s a real thing, though. And I have this; I can kind of run through some of these notes that I’ve got about how to conserve energy as much as possible. But to your point, Diane, something that I found that I do, especially if looking at my calendar. If we have a recording together where I want to be thoughtful, and I want to be prepared, and I want to be prepared for you and our listeners, I know that the work I’m doing after this before I go home is stuff that I could do half asleep. Right? I’m still productive. It’s still taps my Generator side, of that Manifesting Generator. I still am chipping away at something. But it’s stuff that doesn’t require a whole lot of critical thinking.

So those are things that, for me; it’s cooking. Because I’m very confident in the kitchen. I can kind of go on autopilot. Editing photos, taking photos; those kinds of things. Or, I have like 35 emails open that require the same response right now, so I can just copy, paste, and send. And slightly edit. Those are things I save. Even though they would be really easy things to eat that frog, the Brian Tracy phrase. It’s like the same thing; I have adapted it and called it, eat the ugly frog first. It’s that idea of eat and do the big hairy thing that you don’t want to do, because it probably requires the most critical thinking, and that’s exhausting. But do that first.

So how to preserve and nurture your energy levels; number one, make as many decisions ahead as possible. So that’s the; put the clothes out the day before. That really helps me, so I’m not wasting; I like to still get dressed up, but let me just go ahead and make that decision at nighttime. Because you really do press the reset button overnight. Especially over the weekend, or especially on a vacation, like Diane was saying. If you really need a reset, that’s what those are there for. So put the clothes out the day before.

Calendar your week out to include workouts, meals, work blocks, things like that. So that your schedule is on autopilot. You’re not deciding every morning when you wake up; hmm. I wonder when I’ll work today. Or, I wonder if I’ll work out today. What will I eat today? Those things are set.

Schedule events with other people so that the decision to go or not go is not only on your shoulders. Like the workout idea, right? If you are one of those people who loves to workout at home, that’s great. For me, that’s a huge zap on my energy. But if there’s somebody there that I get to go for a walk with a friend, I’m so much more likely to just do it.

Front load your most important decisions of the day. We’ve said that several times. Keep your finger on the pulse of your blood sugar. If you have a big decision to make, and you know that it’s been several hours since you ate, it might be wise to have a quick snack. Save your more monotonous work for the end of the day.

And this is one of my favorite things to do, because again, I want to go into autopilot on my schedule. And the first thing in the morning one of the things I do is I look at my calendar and I set alarms 5 minutes before all of my events. If it’s like a call, like a Zoom call, for example, like Diane and I are on now. If it’s a place I have to be, then I set it for the time I’m going to need to leave for. So I don’t have to constantly be looking at the clock and checking my watch throughout the day. I know my alarm is going to go off, and it will tell me when I have to stop working.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. We have to get a chair reupholstered for me to bring to the new shop, and this make as many decisions ahead of time as possible, I literally said; where are we going, what’s the shop. And Scott said; oh, it’s a typical upholstery place, they have a million options. I was like; well, I would like to look at their website and see if I can choose some of this before I go there. Because I will be overwhelmed. And it’s like looking at a menu ahead of time. All those things; we’ve all done some of this. But I think it’s that consciousness of; how can we do it more and better around our business so that we can avoid that decision fatigue so that we’re able to make good well-formed decisions for ourselves and our businesses.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

4. Tip of The Week: Switch your normal [53:50]

Cassy Joy: Tip; you want to give the tip? You have one?

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. Yeah. You read it.

Cassy Joy: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give you one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, so we’ll roll right into this from what Cassy talked about with the tips to preserve your energy. I would love for everyone; if you are somebody who already does your outfit planning, or you have a semi-uniform, as I like to call it. Or if you’re somebody who does meal planning; flip flop and do the other one more this week.

I don’t do a lot of meal planning, but one thing I started doing even yesterday morning, I kind of wrote down on a piece of paper what the food was that was in the fridge to be like; here honey, this is what we’re eating today. This is what’s yours, this is what’s mine. Then we don’t have to talk about it the rest of the day. Because, you know, how many conversations do we have around those decisions? Around what to eat?

So if you normally do the meal plan, meal prep thing, maybe look at doing that with your clothes for the day. And these things do all feed into making business decisions, because this way you will conserve more energy for those business decisions. And I am going to take my own advice on this and try and do a little bit more planning and prep on both sides so that I can make all of these decisions about the shop with a clearer head, and earlier in the morning, that’s for sure.

That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. Cassy is @CassyJoyGarcia as well as @FedandFit and I am @DianeSanfilippo as well as @BalancedBites.

Tune in next week for another brand new episode.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *