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Posted on 16 December 2014

Decisions can be hard. So make less.

Every day it’s my job to decide what will go on Daybreak North .

Daybreak is a morning show that covers literally half of the province. Our listening area has thousands of people. Dozens of cities and towns. Multiple First Nations. Major resource projects. Small businesses. Senior’s homes. Community groups.

It can be tough to filter through all that and decide which five-to-seven stories make the final cut.1

When I first started doing this I found the decisions difficult, sometimes overwhelming.

There’s a thing called decision fatigue: the notion that you only have the ability to make so many good decisions a day. One of the more famous anecdotes comes from Barack Obama:

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” [Obama] said. “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.”

I haven’t gone that far, but I have tried to reduce the amount of decision-making I take on in choosing stories. To do that, I have a formula. The formula includes our show mission and values, regional representation, story subject, and much more. I take a look at our pitches and start mentally checking off boxes to see what fits best. It makes it less of an arbitrary decision and more of an assessment of strengths and values. It also frees up my mental space for other work.

If you find yourself making a lot of decisions every day, I’d highly recommend thinking about if there’s some outside values you can apply to help make it easier.

  1. You might think we just go with what’s important, but what’s important to one person won’t be to the next. Virtually every story will be considered important by somebody, and unimportant by somebody else. 

Filed under: management

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