What is Decision Fatigue and How to Reduce It?

What is Decision Fatigue?

Decision fatigue is an emotional and mental strain that occurs when people feel exhausted from making too many choices.

We face hundreds of choices all the time, from big decisions to small decisions – from what to wear to work (skirt or pants), to what to eat for lunch (sandwich or pasta), to where to go for dinner tonight (deli or restaurant).

Having to make too many decisions in a short amount of time may lead us to feel drained and overly stressed. It can cause us to feel lack of energy and makes poor decisions which may lead to other serious issues later on.

By understanding decision fatigue and how to reduce it, we can make sure we are always on the go all day long.

How to Reduce it?

Below are 3 tips you can learn to manage your decision-making to avoid feeling drained and conserve your mental energy.

1. Reduce the Number of Decisions You Make

Every time you make a decision, you’re using energy from your brain. Just like a battery, the more you use it, the faster it gets drained out. This is why successful people like Mark Zuckerberg wear the same clothes every single day. Not because he doesn’t have any other pair of clothes or is lazy to wash his clothes, but to reduce the small decisions he makes daily. Some people also had their meal sent to their home by meal prep company weekly, so they don’t have to think about what to eat. If you don’t want to waste your money ordering from a meal prep company, you can make your own meal prep during the weekend. Make food in a big batch, separate them into different food containers, and keep them in the freezer. Doing this also can prevent you from having a dilemma on what to eat. Try to reduce the number of decisions you make daily. Small decisions like what to wear, what to eat, where to go are common questions we usually spend time thinking about.

2. Build a Routine  

Having a daily routine provides structure in our lives. It enables us to know what tasks we need to do each day without having to decide or think too much. When we finished a task, we can freely move to the next task without much thought. This can eliminate the need to plan our activities every morning and allocate our precious time. We can wake up and start our day right away instead of waking up and planning the day. Doing this can reduce decision fatigue as activities become standardized without having to think too much. Eventually, we become more efficient as a result.

3. Make Your Most Important Decisions First Thing In the Morning

The most important time of the day when things go most productively is within the first two hours after you wake up. Early mornings offer a fresh supply of willpower, which people tend to be more optimistic and ready to accept challenging tasks. The quiet hours of the morning are the ideal time to focus and make your most important decisions without being interrupted. Meanwhile, the least useful time of the day is mid-afternoon time, around 3 pm and above. This is because, by 3 pm, your brain gets tired just as your body does. Hence, many of us feel burnt out after finishing work at 6 pm.

This won’t happen overnight and might take up some time. As long as you make the effort by changing your habits to reduce the number of decisions you make throughout the day, build a daily routine, and make the most important decisions first thing in the morning, it will eventually lead to decreasing in decision fatigue.

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