Is Decision Fatigue Sabotaging Your Business?

Is Decision Fatigue Sabotaging Your Business?

Are you too tired to make money?

Hear me out on this…

So I am always trying to eat healthier. I wake up at the crack of dawn, have some tea with lemon, go to the gym, then come home and have a big protein shake with organic veggies. (Organic because I’m bougie) Come lunchtime, I may poke behind the lettuce in the fridge to that kale dip I got from Trader Joes that’s supposed to last me all week. Then I might walk down the street to the corner store and get a bag of chips to go with the dip. Then I’ll probably eat the whole bag of chips and finish the dip. Come dinner time, I’m just like bump this, and I stop by KFC for a 3 piece with a side of mashed potatoes and a biscuit. Welcome to my Tuesday.

Have you experienced something like this before? Does your eating plan fall off as the day goes on? Do you get less productive at work after 3:00 pm? Are you reading emails and saving your response for the next morning when your head is clearer? How do you feel after comparing prices on Amazon all afternoon?  Have you felt exhausted after shopping or even just scanning items for your wedding or baby shower registry?

That’s called decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is the idea that choices become harder to make as the day goes on. It’s not only our decision quality that declines throughout the day, but our discipline, willpower, and self-control as well!

In a 2009 study a psychologist at Florida State University ran an experiment where he asked students to sit next to a plate of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

He allowed one group of students to eat the cookies, and he asked the second group to avoid eating any of the treats.

Afterwards, both groups were asked to solve difficult puzzles.

The students who resisted eating the cookies found these puzzles more difficult to complete, and they abandoned the task. Their brain was tired from all the energy it took to resist the cookies!

On the other hand, the group students who ate the cookies worked on the puzzles for longer. They were able to focus for longer because they had more mental resources.

So how can this affect your business?

As side hustlers, solopreneurs, and new small business owners,  we’re often trying to figure out and implement something new.  This takes energy and brainpower. A tired brain affects our ability to be creative and causes our productivity to suffer.

So if you find that all the business projects you planned to complete after coming home from your 9-5 are taking longer than you planned, perhaps your brain is just tired from making decisions all day. It’s difficult to move a train along when there’s no more fuel.

Decision fatigue also has paralyzing effects. As we become more and more fatigued from making decisions, we become less likely to make a decision at all!  Our brain just shuts down. We push deadlines, drag out projects, and become less productive. Does this sound familiar?

While we can’t eliminate decision fatigue, we can minimize its effects. That’s why I’m sharing 3 strategies to help fight the effects of decision fatigue on your businesses. Dig in below:

 

Rework Your Day

I always thought that I should get the simpler tasks out of the way first, before tackling the harder ones. I was so wrong! It’s actually the other way around!

I have a marketing agency where I serve clients all day. I also have this blog which I love! Despite the fact that I enjoy this platform, I find that I struggle to create content because I’m just tired. Who wants to write a long blog post or do a Facebook Live after working with clients, putting out fires, and doing Facebook Ads all day?

So I started to wake up at 4:30am. Before the day starts I do what’s important to me. I write, pray, meditate and work on my more creative work. I write my blog posts and create resources first thing in the morning instead of after the workday. Reworking my day to prioritize this type of creative work before I step into the office at 9am (can I say “office” if my desk is in my bedroom?) has helped me give my best to the projects I love the most.

I’ve started to implement this strategy for my marketing agency as well. Before I even check emails I’ll do the more brain intensive tasks such as writing new email sequences or designing Facebook ads. When I’m done with the creative projects, THEN I’ll start on the simpler work.

So if you have a side hustle, consider waking up early to work instead of waiting until after work. Also, look into rearranging the way you tackle projects. Start with the more creative and brain intensive tasks first, before focusing on the simpler ones.

If you have trouble waking you’ve got to check out my Grind Group Program

 

Automate Your Life

Structure your life to conserve your energy. The less choices you make during the day, the more energy you’ll have for what’s most important. That’s why we see folk like Mark Zuckerberg or Barack Obama who wear almost the same thing every day to reduce the choices they have to make.

Obama explains during a 2012 interview with Vanity Fair why he only wears gray or blue suits: “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

You can do the same by limiting your time on social media, (yes, all those likes are choices), automating your social media activity, completing specific tasks on certain days, or planning out tasks at the beginning of the week.

You can also create habits that eliminate the mental effort of making a choice. Whether that means creating an exercise schedule, waking up at the same time everyday, or buying the same groceries every week. Whatever you can do to simplify your life, do it. It will provide you with more energy resources for the most important decisions and projects.

 

Take a Break For Food

You can get a second wind of energy from a nutritious snack. Emphasis on nutritious!  A bottle of Diet coke won’t do the trick.

There was a study that looked at the parole decisions of a group of judges. It showed that the parole board was more likely to grant parole at the start of the day — a decision that needs careful thought. As time went on and they got more mentally fatigued, they were more likely to deny parole, which is the default decision. That was until they got back from lunch. After their meal, the likelihood of granting parole jumped back up to morning levels.

Food can can restore your energy resources. So if you’re having trouble focusing or making a decision, grab a snack.

Geeky post right? I know, but I really enjoy using science to help improve work performance, especially if I feel these finding are affecting entrepreneurs of color.  I’ve been reading study after study that shows how low self-control correlates with low income as well as with a host of other problems, including poor achievement in school, divorce, crime, alcoholism and poor health. The ability to successfully manage your energy for what’s important could have a positive impact on our entire community!

Did this post interest you? Let me know your experience with decision fatigue in the comments below.

8 Productivity Hacks So You Can Get Ish Done

8 Productivity Hacks So You Can Get Ish Done

Who else has trouble focusing?

I know I can’t be the only one out there!

Two years ago I left my job to work full-time on my business.  While at work I would tell myself “Man, I wish I were home so I could focus on my website. I know I would get so much done.”  Fast forward to 4 weeks later of being 9-5 free and I was producing just as much content, doing just as much research, and making a fraction of the money as I was when I had my full-time job.

#fail #fail #fail

I knew something had to give. Luckily I was able to identify the problem. I just wasn’t being productive. Productivity is defined as the effectiveness of effort. How many phone calls are you taking while researching? How often are you pausing work to daydream? How many times do you stop to check Instagram, Facebook, or email? All these small habits are affecting your productivity.

It always amazes me what we can complete the night before something is due when we’ve had months to work on the project. What if we could be as productive as we are the night before a deadline every single day?

I believe you can make that happen with a few easy changes. I’ve been able to drastically improve my productivity and finally go to bed at night feeling like I got shit done.  Check out these 8 easy tips that will help you focus like a pro.

Get Real

Have you ever made a long to-do list in the morning only to find that you didn’t finish even one thing by the end of the day?  It’s the worst.  The disappointment alone in ourselves is enough to kill the motivation.  My challenge to you is to get real.  To-Do lists are awesome, but you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to get too much done.  I like to make a list and then choose just two things that, if completed, will make me feel like my day was a success!

I also use the SCRUM management method.  SCRUM is a project management methodology often used by software companies to complete their projects.  Sometimes there are tasks that we don’t complete but we make a large dent in it. SCRUM helps you visualize your progress and see where your tasks are in the pipeline.  Is it in progress?  Is it stalled? Is it waiting for something?  Get more realistic about what you can accomplish in a day and measure your progress. This will encourage you to keep going and serve as progress markers as you work to complete your tasks.

Outsource

What do you hate to do?  Common advice is to do what you hate first.  My advice is to not do it at all!  Instead, find someone else that enjoys your crappy projects.  There are a ton of freelancing websites where you can find reasonably priced help for the most tedious work. (Upwork, PeoplebytheHour, Fiverr)  It takes me forever to make a decent looking graphics on Canva.  Instead of wasting my time, I just outsource the work.  Same with blogs.  I HATE editing my blog posts so I have a friend who looks over each one for grammar, flow, and spelling errors. This gives me more time to focus on the parts of my business that actually make me money and saves so much stress!

Choose Your Environment

This is basic but so important. You’d be surprised how many people can’t focus in absolute silence.  So cater to your preferences.  If you need a quiet room, then arrange your work around quiet hours in your home or coworking space.  If you need a little background noise, then find a favorite coffee shop or put on some tunes. Certain music can also help with focus.  Do an experiment to see what helps and what works for you.

Quit Multitasking

Checking social media every few minutes is totally killing your vibe.  Research shows that switching between tasks actually slows you down and causes you to make more mistakes. Instead, use tools to keep the distractions out.  Install a plugin on your web browser to block certain websites that you know are the culprit.  Also, try turning your cell phone completely off instead of putting it on vibrate. I do this and just take my client calls from my laptop. Google Voice is th BOMB!

Apply The Pressure

Are you the type of person that does their best work at the last minute?  After a certain age, these final paper deadlines are hard to come by so create artificial ones.  Hire an editor or VA that will keep you accountable to a deadline.  When you’re working on someone else’s time there is more accountability around getting your tasks done.  Find an accountability partner. Our Grind Groups are a great place to get accountability! Heck, I even know a guy who goes to the coffee shop without his laptop plug and powers through as much work as his battery life will allow.  Cray right?  You don’t have to go too extreme but if you know pressure works for you then embrace it.

Give Yourself A Break

Breaks are an awesome motivation for getting things done.  I love the Pomodoro Method. The Pomodoro Method is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals of focus and rest.  I use it to work in 45-minute increments and then set my timer for a 10-minute break where I surf social media (my vice).  As soon as my timer goes off then I’m back at it again!   You don’t have to schedule your day down to the minute.  You can achieve the same idea by breaking your day into big chunks that involve work time and fun activities.

Take Care of Yourself

For years I battled brain fog and the constant urge to nap.  The culprit to my sluggishness lay in my crappy diet and lack of exercise.  Once I got a Nuribullet and started going for a daily walk, my productivity improved drastically.  Research has also shown that exercising in the morning can greatly improve your productivity. Exercise energizes rather than exhausts you! So put on those sweatpants, go get some fresh air and a yucky green drink.  You can thank me later.

Utilize Your Creative Hours

Identify your creative hours. Some people are super productive in the middle of the night while others work better first thing in the morning.  Whenever those times are for you, designate those your creative hours. Complete work that takes the most of your creative brain power during these times. At all other work hours complete maintenance tasks such as spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls.

And if you’re looking for accountability during those early morning hours to really elevate your ability to get things done, check out The Six of 7 Grind Groups! Learn More about the accountability program HERE!

The 5 Pages Your Website Needs

The 5 Pages Your Website Needs

Let me answer your questions right now. Yes, you need a website. No, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Yes, you can do it yourself.

I work with many clients who are at various stages of creating an online presence. Most of them are in the medical field, so they have a physical location and are unsure if a website is necessary. Others are in the middle of creating a dream website- a process that often takes forever.

Is this you? Are you constantly revamping your site or delaying the launch because it’s just not right? Here’s the thing, websites evolve as we evolve. The website that your favorite 7-figure guru or multi-million dollar competitor has cost hella money and months of research. I mean look where some of the biggest brands started!

 

They started somewhere and you should too. Don’t let your quest for perfection slow you down because honestly, what does it matter if your website looks fancy if you’re not living fancy?! Let’s shoot for success, shall we? While we grow into that fancy website, let’s build something that can successfully deliver your amazing value to your customer. Ironically you can do it with 5 simple pages. Keep reading to learn which pages they are.

1 – Homepage

This, hands down, is the most important page of your website.  Your homepage is the place where your potential customers/clients/readers first meet you, so you should do your best to represent your brand clearly and beautifully.  Your homepage should let the visitor know where they are, present your brand purpose, and clearly present the possibilities available on your site. If your homepage is missing these important pieces you can run the risk of turning away potential clients or lose credibility.

2 – Blog

Whether you are a blogger or an e-commerce website, the presence of a blog shows that your website is alive and working. Regularly share your news, boast about your achievements, or highlight your products.  You can use pictures, testimonials, or highlight a product for new content.

3 – Services

You need a page that speaks to what your purpose is.  I’ve loosely coined this the services page.  If you are a graphic designer then you should have a page that describes your graphic design rates and services. If you sell a product then you should have a page where visitors can purchase your products. If you provide reviews then you should have a page that provides the content promised.  There is no limit to the number of pages that can present your services.  Just make sure that they are clear and easily accessible.

4 – Contact Us

Your Contact Us page is a great way to stay connected to your visitors.  Interact with potential clients or address questions from new clients.  Include all possible ways to contact you – email, phone, and if you are a brick and mortar business this is also a great place to put the address and directions to your location.  You can use a form or simply list your contact information.

5 – About Us

This is hands down the hardest page to write.  It’s a bit awkward for most of us to relay our passion and purpose into a paragraph that will speak to our potential customers.

Your “About Us” page is visited by potential customers who are considering your services or products.  These visitors are trying to figure out if they can trust you to fulfill their need.

 

There’s actually more to this than just knowing the pages you need to create.  I’ve got this comprehensive guide showing you how to curate every single page. PLUS a template for you About Me Page. (Hands down, the hardest page to write)

Drop your deets below and I’ll email the guide to you.

Get Unstuck: 7 Ways You Could Be Keeping Yourself Stuck

Get Unstuck: 7 Ways You Could Be Keeping Yourself Stuck

I’ve noticed that many of my friends and I recently hit a place in life where we felt frustrated with our current situation. We weren’t happy or depressed — just not content with where we were or sure of how to do something different. I want to share my experience to see if it could help you get out of a similar rut.

Almost two years ago I wrote in my journal that I wanted to own a company that allowed me to travel and work from home. The company had to make at least 10k/month and not require me to manage many people. I’ve never wanted to be rich, just comfortable enough to travel, save, and live a life where I’m not looking at my bank balance.

Just a few months ago, I looked around and realized I was living the life I wrote about. I just hit my 12k/month goal while sitting on the couch of a friend in LA. I was supposed to be happy. Instead, I called my best friend and cried my eyes out.

Sometimes, there’s just something about life that can make us feel unsatisfied, filled with doubt, or like we’re not living exactly how we’re meant to. The worst part of this feeling is that you can’t really pinpoint what’s wrong or what you can do to change it. We feel stuck.

My friends regularly congratulated me on my success, but I always found some way to minimize their statements, because I was not happy. I was tired. I was stressed. I wished I were doing ANYTHING else, but what I was doing at that very moment. It wasn’t until later, did I get some sane advice from a friend who set me straight. I was telling her how frustrated I was with where I lived, with my work life, with my dating life, with ERRRTHANG and floated the idea of running off to Bali to write a book for a few months.

Her advice. Dayo, I love and support you, but if you don’t write now for enjoyment, what makes you think that you’ll enjoy it if you run away to Bali. YOU are unhappy in general.

Hmmmm. Homegirl had a point.

This got me to ask myself some important questions. What is it about my life as it is right now, that I am so unsatisfied with? Why is nothing ever enough? Why am I so scared? Why does work suck? Why do I hate where I’m living. Why am I always disappointed? Why am I upset with my friends? Why am I lazy? Why am I negative? Why am I lonely? And most importantly… How can I get unstuck?

I know many of you have felt similarly. In fact, I’ve gathered some of the most common characteristics of those who are stuck. Note, that these are general tendencies and not absolutes. See if you can find yourself in any of the following 7 Traits of The Stuck.

 

Difficulty Taking Action

Do you find it difficult to actually DO something? You have many desires, dreams, and goals, but freeze up when it’s time to actually execute something. Either you talk yourself out of the new direction, you convince yourself that this wasn’t the right fit for you, or you may even procrastinate until the opportunity passes. You always seem to be on the outside looking in as people take advantage of amazing opportunities. Whether it’s learning a new skill, taking on a challenge, or starting a new business, you know you can do it too, but it’s so hard for you to mobilize yourself to actually take action.

 

Negativity

Be honest. Are you full of excuses? When a new idea or opportunity pops up are your first thoughts about why it won’t work, how difficult it is, or the hundreds of people who have tried and failed? Or maybe you feel drawn to the bad in every situation? This is all you and your friends talk about. Everyone is stupid, no one ever does it right, and people are generally bad. Or perhaps, you’re overwhelmed with how unlucky you are or even obsessed with how terrible the world is? (Trump is bad, so I’ll let that one slide.) Even when friends or coworkers try to point out the positive in a situation you can’t help but think of the negative.

 

Your Life Is Cray

Does your life feel chaotic? Do you find that you’re always in the middle of some crazy drama in your personal life or work? It’s like crazy experiences just seem to find you. You’re impulsive and emotional. You cuss people out. You have difficulty sticking to a plan or managing money. You can’t go a month without a disaster occurring such as a car problem, overdue bill, or trip to the hospital. Things are cray!

 

Inability To Relax In A Healthy Way

Do you feel stressed but can’t find a way to relax. When you’re not at work you’re thinking about all the things you have to do at home. When you’re at home you’re thinking about work. You don’t feel comfortable asking for help from friends or family. You feel guilty when you actually take a break. Or maybe your only breaks are unhealthy. You smoke weed every day, or drink ½ a bottle of wine on a weeknight, or perhaps you’re eating an entire pizza by yourself. Maybe you’re participating in some other compulsive behavior like stalking someone, trolling and leaving nasty comments on the internet, even going over a problem in your head for hours!

 

Isolation

You don’t want to be around friends or family. You feel like they can’t understand you or what you’re going through. Or maybe you’re isolating yourself because you know you’re in a funk. You’re not in the mood to be shamed by friends or family. You don’t want people to motivate you right now, so you’re flaking out on the bday parties, opting out of social events, and spending a lot of time alone.

 

Looking For External Sources of Value

What’s most important to you is status, looks, and the latest Gucci bag. Your goals revolve around seeking fame, money, or sex to prove your are worthwhile. Your week is made when you hit 300 likes on an Instagram post.  You love to talk about how amazing it is to be in a relationship with your single friends even though your partnership could use some work. You cuss out Toyota Corolla’s that take too long at the green light. You take perfectly curated pictures to show the brand name of your clothes. You travel for the pictures and not to enjoy the destination. You need other people to see that you have it in order to feel that you’ve done anything at all. You’re struggling on the inside, but everything looks nice on the outside.

 

Repeating The Same Behavior With The Same Outcome

You seem to find yourself in the same situation over and over again. Every man you’ve dated has cheated. You’re getting written up at work for the same reasons. Your friends are complaining about your continued flakiness. You’ve done the same diet a hundred times. You overwork yourself. You don’t speak up for yourself AGAIN. You’re just stuck doing the same old thing hoping that by magic things will be different this time.

 

Did you see yourself in any of these descriptions? You’ll probably find that some fit while others don’t.  Just notice which traits you most strongly identify yourself with.

So how do you fix it? The first step to getting unstuck is to understand what being stuck looks like. If you see yourself in the traits above then you’re on the right track, but now what do you do? I’m not a guru, but I’d love to share a bit more of my journey that I’ve broken down into a 5-Step Process to getting unstuck. Here’s a quick runthrough

  1. Understand What Being Stuck Looks Like
  2. Ask The Hard Questions
  3. Show Up – Turn Understanding Into Action
  4. Take Care of The Basics
  5. Stay Open

 

These concepts are nuanced so it makes them a little difficult to write about. That’s why I’m teaching a free masterclass on September 14th entitled… you guessed it… How To Get Unstuck! During the class I’ll walk you through an ACTIONABLE 5-Step Process to help address those nagging feelings. Visit https://thesixof7.com/get-unstuck-class to register. See you on the class.

I Made A Lot More Money This Year… Here’s How I F*@#ed Up

I Made A Lot More Money This Year… Here’s How I F*@#ed Up

A little over a year ago I was in France trying to pick up extra work while I tried to be an “entrepreneur.” In truth, I quit my job too hastily, without enough savings, and too many motivational gurus in my inbox. I was struggling. But thankfully, I was blessed with a partnership from my old job that allowed me to start my own business, a marketing agency for doctors and holistic practitioners. In a year. I grew from 7 clients to 27. It’s been amazing, fulfilling, and hard as hell. Here’s where I f*@#ed up.

Getting Help

I got busy fast. Where I messed up was hastily hiring friends to help me out. Here’s the problem. I was so used to doing everything myself, that I failed to delegate and teach. When my friend made a mistake, I would fix it myself and the next time a similar project came around I’d just finish it for fear he would make more mistakes. Eventually, I was just doing EVERYTHING and making up busy work for him to do. I was ill prepared to manage someone and set no expectations about due dates, communication style, or assignments. I was the sucky boss! As a result, my friend was unsure how to measure his success or improve. It didn’t work out.

Parked My Behind

With more work, came more hours in front of the computer. I would sit for 12-16 hours a day for weeks! As a result, I developed some crazy back pain that I’m still working on now. I do yoga and make sure to take a mid afternoon walking break. It helps, but I’m still not 100% yet. (If you have any suggestions on treating back pain please send them my way!)

Saying “No” Too Much

My clients appreciate my work, so they often requested my help with simple projects outside of what I offer in my monthly packages. These requests would vary from creating their Facebook pages to teaching them how to use Facebook Live. I always said no because I was too busy, even though I knew I could complete the consulting call and charge for it. Looking back now, I feel like a crappy business owner that says no to everything outside the box. I should have explained my time constraint to the client and referred them out. Instead, I said no and offered no alternative. I’m sure I even had a little attitude on the phone. Now that I’m less stressed, I am so embarrassed at how difficult I was being.

Making Time To Learn

Like I said, I was (kinda still am) working 12-16 hour days. I spend so much time working that I struggled to stay up to date on the new stuff with Facebook and Instagram marketing. Couple that with the constant “GROW YOUR AGENCY” marketing ads, I was a sucka. The ads were hitting all my pain points. YES, I had no time. YES, I wanted better results. YES, I will buy your expensive ass course and not implement it because I have no fricking time! So, I would buy things and never make the time to learn or apply it. Lots of wasted coins.

Saying “Yes”

I know earlier I said that saying “no” too much was a mistake, but I also said “Yes” too much as well. I usually take on one client/week so I can focus on getting their campaign completed. However, the new clients were so eager to get started. They would always ask, can’t you get me in a little earlier? And you know what I’d say? YES! And you know what I’d be doing? UH HUH. Working them damn 16 hour days. Not anymore sis.

 

Those are the 5 things I did wrong, but I’ve been working really hard to self-correct. Looking back, I do see a lot of things that I have done right.

 

Get Help

Even though working with my friends didn’t work out, I didn’t give up the search. I now have two team members who are going through a real on-boarding process. I have a training website and everything ya’ll! If at first you don’t succeed, don’t be afraid to try again.

 

Scheduling Downtime

I cannot unwind at home because I work from home. I always feel like I should be tackling one of the 100 things on my to-do list even when it’s the weekend or the TV is on. So I’ve been scheduling in fun. I sign up and PAY for social events, plan weekends with friends, and even have a staycation set up for later this month where I’m just going to read, eat, and binge watch TV. I feel 100 times happier since picking up this habit.

 

Good Customer Service

Stressed people make mistakes. I am so thankful that I have been able to develop a rapport with my clients so that when results were lackluster or they are unhappy, they give me the benefit of the doubt. I am friendly, personable, and invested in all of my clients. It shows in the way I communicate and has helped me create loyalty in a market where people jump around a lot.

 

Reading

I started reading fiction again. I used to never be able to read a self-help or business book, but as I started to enjoy them on Audible and apply the strategies to my business, I became consumed. I felt so guilty reading for fun when I could be reading a book that would help me make more money. Thankfully, I ditched that habit a few months ago and went back to reading what I enjoy. I read because I like it. Fiction or nonfiction. Reading for fun fills me up in a way all the business books can’t. It’s funny the number of ideas and solutions we can come up with when we’re relaxed!

 

Soaking

What do I mean by soaking? I guess I’m trying to say that I took some time to not be a guru and just soak in my experiences. I shut down my Six of 7 Facebook Group, chilled with the daily Instagram posts, and weekly newsletters. I feel like there is a lot of “START YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS” noise out there and I didn’t want to add to it. I want to provide clarity and results. I couldn’t do that when I was all stressed out. So I took some time away to soak in my experiences and figure out how to navigate. I feel clearer and like less of a me-too online personality. I feel like more me.

 

That was a long one, wasn’t it? I hope my experience was able to help you in some way. If so, drop a comment below. I’d love to know your thoughts.