Making the best of Macro-decision making

Making the best of Macro-decision making

Every day, we are bombarded with decisions ranging from macro decisions such as company direction and hiring to micro-decisions such as hourly assignments and conversations. Business executives who don’t categorize their choices can risk succumbing to sheer workload volume as the pace of change and work-life increases. Decision fatigue is all too common, yet it may be avoided in many cases.

Macro decisions affect people’s personal lives as well as their work lives. What we may not realize is that, if we let them, macro decisions have the ability to steer us in a trajectory that makes a lot of micro-decisions for us.

Micro decisions can have a cumulative effect: we may believe that the enormity of macro movements is paralyzing us, but it’s usually the dozens of new micros that freeze us in our tracks. If left unattended, they eat away at conscious efforts, manifesting as underlying stress and anxiety that can lead to a breakdown. This is one of the reasons we could have decision fatigue, a syndrome marked by never being able to decide what channel to watch on TV or constantly moving a small task to the next day’s to-do list.

The ship is supposed to be pointed by macro moves, which should have a cascading impact on their micro counterparts. To put it differently, if you’ve answered big-picture questions like “Where’s this business heading?” decisively, you’ve also dealt with the bulk of small-picture tasks. Macro decisions are like a North Star: anything that doesn’t line up shouldn’t be given much thought.

Knowing your professional and personal goals typically entails establishing one-year, five-year, ten-year, and twenty-year plans when it comes to company goals and objectives. This places metaphorical barriers in the lane, separating you from all the tiny changes you won’t have to think about. Budgeting, new initiatives, marketing, hiring, and office location can assist you in achieving broadly stated goals, so you don’t need to decide the weight that needs to be given.

Most of us plan on a yearly and quarterly basis. But here’s the thing: there’s something you could try. Make two columns, one on the left and one on the right, and title them “Macro” and “Micro,” respectively. Make a list of all left-side decisions, both professional and personal, and make them in batches, as they will undoubtedly affect one another. List the micro-decisions that pertain to each macro decision, and you’ll find that many, if not all, were made for you as a result of the first step. This reduces the “gray space” of unplanned daily decisions. If we’ve learned anything about productivity, it’s that the more predictable patterns emerge, the faster people can complete tasks.

Separating large-scale and small-scale concerns is an important practice in honing your instincts. The more cardinal orientations you’ve determined for your life and business, the more naturally you’ll pilot your ship every day.


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