Decision making fatigue is a real thing. The idea is that we have a limited amount of decision-making energy each day, and through the process of making decisions, this energy diminishes. Along with the energy, the quality of our decisions diminish as well. Have you ever been confronted with a simple question like, “What time do you want to have dinner?” and it’s a big ordeal to think of an answer? This is due to decision making fatigue. This is bad news bears for those of us who make life changing decisions each day. The thing is we are all making life changing decisions each day – whether we know it or not.
Counteract this Menace
Ways in which to counteract decision making fatigue include not using your precious and limited decision making resources on the small decisions throughout the early part of the day.
Especially on decisions that you can make ahead of time. Take the extra five minutes before any segment of your day and lay out a general framework of what you will be doing. That way, when you are in the moment, you don’t have to think about all of the ramifications of each decision you are making – and there are usually ramifications that we simply cannot consider in the moment.
This can best be done in the morning or better yet, the night before. Plan out the clothes you want to wear, what you’ll have for breakfast, what time you want to leave the house. Do a quick walk through of what your day will look like. If there are too many things going on the next day and this overwhelms you, take the two or three minutes and scribble it all down on a piece of paper; you can also write it out digitally if you prefer.
It may seem like this has little to do with decision making, but this will save you so much decision-making energy that when you are confronted with things out of the blue that you have to deal with, you will have the patience and energy to deal with them better and make the best decision possible. This also spills over into your health (like many/all things). If you have your snack planned for instance, it will be less likely for you to get something from the vending machine or cafeteria. And of course it will cut down on your stress levels immensely. You will not have that hurried feeling about everything. You will feel more cool, calm and collected and ready for what comes your way.
Clarity is Key
An important tip to remember is make your most important decisions when you are most clear and rested. By the end of the day you will have exhausted your decision-making resources so don’t make significant decisions then. Wait until you are fresh. Think ahead and plan for those times and you will position yourself for decision-making success.
Create a routine that makes decision making minimal for things you do each or most days.
Plan your next day’s activities out. Think about the small steps, what to wear, what to eat, when to make phone calls, etc.
Realize the energy used behind your decisions today and where you can be using that energy more effectively.
There’s More to Your Story
What else can be keeping you from your best decision making capabilities? Your beliefs can be holding you back. Learn more about my experience with beliefs below. Quit smoking, leave an unfulfilling situation, move towards meaningful, well paying work … whatever your “thing” is.