Defeating Decision Fatigue: Structuring Your Startup for Success

Routine gets a bad rap, especially in the startup world. We work in a world of endless moving parts, shifting runways, and looming deadlines. Somewhere inside the chaos of not enough hours in the day and not enough people for the job, it’s critical to startups’ success to find some semblance of consistency. Those who fail to implement a regimen risk falling prey to decision fatigue.

Have you noticed that hours of deliberating over difficult decisions makes those decisions all the harder to make? Welcome to the world of decision fatigue – the deteriorating quality of choices after extended periods of decision making. People only have so much decision-making power stored up every day, and it’s important to hold that power in reserve for important situations when running a company. Save the decision-making for budgets and new products, not coffee or gym time. Instituting routine frees the mind to make the decisions that count. Here are three examples of easy places to institute routine in a hectic day.


Going to sleep at the same time (while not always feasible) is often the best routine to create. A consistent bedtime reduces sleep latency, or the time it takes to fall asleep. Building routine teaches the body to respond better to sleep stimuli and maximize time in R.E.M. Not only does it help build a good ritual habit, but it carries myriad health benefits. A routine sleep time also enhances mood, improves cognitive function, heightens metabolism, and protects against heart disease.

<2. Exercise

Exercising at the same time provides a break in the day and a solid addition to routine. It also helps the body build a pattern of response similar to that of sleep stimuli. Instead of cutting sleep latency, exercising consistently tells the body to wake up and work out. Exercising at a consistent time trains your body to prepare daily at the same time for that activity, increasing your endorphin, adrenaline, and dopamine outputs and leading to a more productive workout.

3. Organize

This one’s a no brainer. Life is, by law, entropy. Inboxes grow ad nauseam and desks gather clutter like magnets. It’s great to have a routine that cleans it all and restructures the storm. Finding a time every day to order the ever-growing, ever-changing workload helps internally as well as externally. Clearing physical spaces and organizing the world around you also functions to clear the mind. A clear mind, a clean desk, and a (relatively) empty inbox provide a launchpad for productive decision making.

Let’s face it- nothing presented here is new or revolutionary. Sleep, exercise and organization are tried and true methods for success. The trick is to make time for those things that allow the rest of your time to be spent most efficiently. Give yourself the gift of routine and watch yourself and startup shift gears. 

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