Decision Fatigue; How to Minimize It In 5 Simple Steps

neuroscience productivity Oct 29, 2019

You wake up and think about your day. After work you're going to come home and cook something healthy. Ahhhh, that will be nice. 

But your day is filled with unexpected work stress and by the time you get home, the thought of deciding what to cook and then actually cooking it seems exhausting. Uber Eats suddenly seems like a much better plan. You'll eat a healthy dinner tomorrow.

Has this ever happened to you? It's happened to me more times than I can count!

 

Our capacity to make decisions is exhaustible.

It is a finite resource. I'm going to show you how to make the best use of this limited brain power so you have enough for your important decisions and  don't end up using it frivolously.

Make Easy Decisions Ahead Of Time- In the evening, choose the clothes you will wear the next day. Even better if you lay them out. That way, when you are getting ready in the morning, you'll spend ZERO mental energy on deciding what to wear. 

Simplify Your Meals By Limiting Your Options- I know this may sound super boring but we are creatures of habit and tend to gravitate toward the same few things anyway so why not commit to it and get it out of your brain space! My daily meals are always: vanilla protein shake for breakfast, salad with protein or left overs for lunch, protein and veggies for dinner. Piece of chocolate for dessert.  Easy peasy. I never have to wonder what I'm going to eat or buy at the grocery store. 

Create Hard Edges Around Tasks-Keep a tight schedule around your work day. For example: 11-7 or 9-5, and stick to it. Schedule tasks in 30-60 or 90 minute increments, and stick to it. Don't block of Tuesday to "work on proposal". Be specific in your calendar-9-10:30am create outline of proposal. 12:30-1:30pm write body of proposal....

Give Up "I Don't Know" - It feels like you're accomplishing something when you continue to think about it but the opposite is true. You are only draining your mental resources and not getting any closer to a decision. In fact, you're actually creating overwhelm for yourself. Borrow a page out of Mel Robbin's book The 5 Second Ruse and count 5-4-3-2-1 then make a decision. It takes some practice to get comfortable operating this way but I promise it gets easier and you will feel a lot less stressed as a result.

Make Big or Hard Decisions First- If you start each day with renewed mental capacity for decision making, it makes sense to make the bigger, more important decisions first when you are fresh and have enough energy to think clearly.

Commit to these practices for 30 days and you'll be amazed at how clear and productive you feel!

 

 

 

 

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