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BLOG: Coping with IT decision fatigue

John D. Halamka | Sept. 26, 2011
In the 80s and earlier, issues were escalated by writing and mailing a letter. But in the time that it took to compose, type, mail and deliver a letter, many problems solved themselves.

We're all suffering from information overload. More projects with smaller staffs and shorter time frames mean more emails, texts, blogs, online meetings and phone calls. We make more decisions and have more accountability than ever before.

Regulatory complexity and the need for risk management have increased. We're pressured to make decisions faster, with little room for mistakes. In a high-stakes environment like IT, this can lead to decision fatigue -- that numbness you feel at the end of an overloaded day, after you've decided how much to spend, whom to hire and what to do, over and over. I believe decision fatigue is an escalating threat to our ability to manage events of the day and keep our lives balanced.

In my early career as a leader in the 1980s, there was no email, no overnight shipping and a limited number of fax machines. An issue was escalated by writing a letter. But in the time that it took to compose, type, mail and deliver a letter, many problems ended up solving themselves. Since the effort to escalate was significant, most problems were never escalated.

 

 

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