Making decisions can be tiring, especially if you are constantly making them throughout the day. This is because of a phenomenon known as decision fatigue.
Decision fatigue occurs when your brain becomes overwhelmed with the number of choices you have to make, and eventually stops working as efficiently. This can lead to poor decision-making and decreased productivity.
In this article, we will discuss what decision fatigue is, and how you can combat it!
What Is Decision Fatigue?
Decision fatigue is the mental exhaustion that comes from making too many decisions. It’s a type of decision paralysis, where you can’t make a decision because you’re too tired from making all the other ones.
This phenomenon was first studied by psychologists in the 1970s, who found that when asked to make a series of choices, people would eventually start making poorer decisions. The more choices they had to make, the more likely they were to choose the option that was easiest or required the least amount of thought.
The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue
While decision fatigue might not sound like a big deal, it can actually have some pretty serious consequences. For example, studies have shown that judges are more likely to issue longer prison sentences at the end of the day than they are at the beginning. The reason for this is that as the day goes on and they’re faced with more and more choices, they start to get tired, and their ability to make sound decisions diminishes.
There have also been studies that suggest that people who are trying to lose weight or stick to a diet are more likely to give in to temptation and indulge in unhealthy foods if they’ve already made a lot of decisions earlier in the day. This is because after a certain point, our willpower starts to wear thin and we’re more likely to give into temptation.
How to Combat Decision Fatigue?
So, now that we know what decision fatigue is and some of the reasons why it happens, let’s talk about how we can combat it.
#1 – Identify and Make the Most Important Decisions First
If you start your day by tackling the most important decisions first, you’ll be more likely to make better choices throughout the rest of the day. That’s because you’ll have used up some of your willpower and decision-making power on those tough calls, and you won’t be as susceptible to decision fatigue later on.
To do this, make a list of the decisions you need to make each day, and then prioritize them according to importance. Then, start working your way down the list, tackling the most important items first.
You may also want to consider scheduling time for decision-making into your day. This will help ensure that you don’t have to make too many decisions in a short period of time, which can lead to fatigue.
Finally, try to simplify your life as much as possible. The more complex your life is, the more decisions you’ll have to make on a daily basis. By streamlining your life and eliminating unnecessary choices, you can minimize decision fatigue.
#2 – Implement Daily Routines to Automate Less Important Decisions
One of the best ways to combat decision fatigue is to implement daily routines. This will help you automate some of the less important decisions that you have to make on a daily basis, freeing up your brain power for more important tasks.
For example, you can create a morning routine that includes things like making your bed, taking a shower, and eating breakfast. This way, you don’t have to waste time and energy deciding whether or not you should make your bed or take a shower. You can simply go through the motions of your daily routine without having to think too much about it.
In addition to creating a morning routine, you can also create other routines for different times of the day or for different tasks that you have to do. For instance, you can have a bedtime routine that includes brushing your teeth and reading a book before going to sleep.
Creating routines can help reduce decision fatigue because it takes away some of the choices that you have to make on a daily basis. When you have fewer choices to make, you won’t feel as exhausted at the end of the day.
Of course, there will still be times when you have to make decisions that are outside of your routine. However, if you can reduce the number of choices that you have to make on a daily basis, you’ll be less likely to experience decision fatigue.
#3 – Put a Time Limit on Every Decision
Another way to combat decision fatigue is to put a time limit on every decision. This means that you’ll only have a certain amount of time to make a decision before you have to move on.
This can be difficult if you’re someone who likes to take their time when making decisions. However, it’s important to remember that not every decision is a life-or-death situation. Sometimes, it’s better to just go with your gut and make a decision quickly.
If you find yourself struggling to make decisions in a timely manner, try setting a timer for yourself. Once the timer goes off, you’ll have to make a decision, even if it’s not the perfect one.
#4 – Seek Input From Other People – Don’t Decide Alone
The next great way to combat decision fatigue is to seek input from other people. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by a decision, it can be helpful to talk to someone else about it. They may be able to offer a different perspective that you hadn’t considered before.
Of course, you should only seek input from people whose opinions you trust. If you’re constantly second-guessing yourself, seek out a mentor or coach who can help you make tough decisions with confidence.
#5 – Simplify and Lower the Number of Available Options
One of the best ways to combat decision fatigue is to simplify and lower the number of available options. When you have too many choices, it’s harder to make a decision because you second-guess yourself more.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by choices, try to limit yourself to a few options. For example, if you’re trying to decide what to wear, pick out a few outfits that you feel good in and then choose one.
You can also use the “elimination method” to help you make decisions. This involves eliminating choices until you’re left with only one option. For example, if you’re trying to decide what to eat for dinner, you could eliminate all of the options that you don’t want until you’re left with only one.
#6 – Eliminate Unnecessary Distractions
One of the main reasons why we experience decision fatigue is because we’re constantly bombarded with choices and distractions. From the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed, our mind is constantly having to process information and make decisions.
To combat decision fatigue, it’s important to eliminate unnecessary distractions. This means turning off your phone, closing your email browser, and anything else that might distract you from the task at hand. By eliminating distractions, you’ll be able to focus more on the task at hand and make better decisions.
#7 – Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind
Another way to combat decision fatigue is by taking frequent breaks. When you take a break, your mind has a chance to rest and recharge. This means that when you return to the task at hand, you’ll be able to think more clearly and make better decisions.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the decisions you have to make, take a break. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, or just step away from the task at hand for a few minutes. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel and how much clearer your mind is.
Decision fatigue is a real phenomenon that can impact your ability to make sound decisions. However, there are ways to combat it and ensure you make the best choices for yourself and your business. Applying some of these strategies should help you stay productive and energized all day long. What measures do you take to reduce decision fatigue?