Have you ever been faced with a simple decision throughout the day, just one of many, and realize you’re actually struggling with it? From what to wear, what to eat, to what tasks to prioritize, making decisions is a constant process we make day to day, hour to hour, and minute to minute. But have you ever felt exhausted or overwhelmed by all of these decisions?
This is known as decision fatigue, which can have a huge impact on your productivity and overall well being. But what is it? Decision fatigue happens when we make lots of decisions in a day to the point that it tires our brain out. As a result, it can be extra difficult to make good choices leading to either poor decisions or not making any altogether. This makes it harmful: we might end up being impulsive, we might procrastinate, but at worse, we can end up refusing to make a decision when it’s required—during an emergency or while working in high pressure environments.
This is why in today’s blog post, we want to go over four different ways we can fight if off so we can ensure we’re more effective when making choices across the day.
1. Put a limit on making decisions.
Believe it or not, this starts by limiting the decisions we have to make in a day. It’s all about simplification. For example, some people opt to minimize their wardrobe so they don’t have to struggle when deciding what to wear. Others even buy sets of the same clothes and wear them everyday! Have a hard time deciding what to eat? You can prepare a few choices beforehand, perhaps during a day where you’re not bogged down by too many big decisions. This lessens the pressure. Yes, you’re still choosing, but it also removes the initial part of the decision making process—that is, having to look for options, which takes even more effort and energy.
Simplifying and minimizing may sound like a small thing but it has an effect—we use up energy when we make decisions and, when we remove unnecessary or inessential ones, then we have more room for what’s truly important.
2. Establish a routine.
Because routines are second nature—we don’t even have to think about them anymore—this can greatly help us fight off decision fatigue. Once you have several in place, it eliminates and automates much of the decision-making progress. Start by building new habits and incorporating them across your day or as part of your schedule.
Need tips on how to create an effective schedule? We’ve got just the post for you here! You may also want to consider starting a habit tracker so you can kickstart your brand new routine. These things are also easy to stay on top of because you can take them anytime, anywhere with you by using our Pocket Journal! It can fit up to two refills, has pockets for pens and other small items, which means your schedule and tracking the habits you’re trying to form are always within reach.
Pocket Journal Refill
3. Take a break.
Sometimes, we just need to pause, breathe, and recharge so we can get some of our energy back. Decision fatigue, as the name suggests, is due to exhaustion. If you’ve still got a long day ahead of you, make sure you take breaks whenever you can to rest and refresh your mind. Take a walk, step away from your work, talk with a colleague or a friend… there are a lot of different ways you can do this.
Need more suggestions? We actually have eight effective recommendations here on how to take your break effectively!
4. Get enough rest.
If our cognitive resources are limited, which usually happens when we don’t get enough sleep or rest, it will be harder to fight off decision fatigue. This is because we’re less focused, are more irritable, and will most likely choose the path of least resistance as soon as we’re faced with choices. And why won’t we? We’re tired enough as it is and we want the easy way out.
Should we be faced with an impossible situation where we really have to make a choice, we can also end up choosing poorly.
Plus, sleep has a lot of benefits to our physical and mental health, not to mention a great impact on our productivity. This post provides seven methods to ensure you get a good night’s rest.
So how else can we fight decision fatigue?
What other steps can you suggest to fight off decision fatigue? Since it can have a great impact on our day—our mood, productivity, and even relationships—aside from the ones on this list, what else has helped you maintain a mindset that helps you make good decisions across the day? Share it with us in the comments—we’d love to hear what’s worked for you!