Do Not Let Decision Fatigue Weigh You Down | 10 Doable Ways to Avoid It
Whether to go for a walk or for swimming?
Whether to buy this particular time from the store or get it online?
Whether to study overnight or in the morning?
Whether to eat the entire ice-cream tub or continue with the diet day?
Whether to complete this project today or leave it for tomorrow?
Relatable much? We are constantly involved in this “whether-or” debate in our lives. We are actively making choices in our lives. Well, it might surprise you but on average, an individual makes 35,000 choices per day (jaw-dropping fact?). That counts to 2,000 decisions per hour and a minimum of 2 decisions per second. Seems a lot, right? Now imagine the amount of energy, efforts, and time it consumes of yours, leading to decision fatigue!!! So, don’t you think we should take a healthy break from these big numbers and work on self to release the fatigue related to it?
To make that happen we are sharing with you 10 ways to avoid and eliminate decision fatigue. But, before that let us understand what Decision Fatigue is.
The term was coined by social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister. It can be defined as the exhaustion of our mental abilities to make a decision after a long decision-making session. It stems from too many choices and ego depletion. Ego depletion can be seen in two terms:
- Your willpower has reduced and you assume that whatever decision you will make will be a poor choice.
- While you are working on making multiple decisions you will eventually run out of the resources.
This all combined results in decision fatigue which gives rise to burnout and other related outcomes. Therefore, it is important to eliminate decision fatigue to have an effortless decision-making process.
Signs of decision fatigue
To recognize decision fatigue you can look for the following signs in your day to day to life:
- Feeling drained.
How To Avoid Decision Fatigue?
To make sure that your daily life decisions don’t drain you and weigh you down here are some ways that can help you avoid decision fatigue.
Top 10 Ways To Avoid Decision Fatigue:
Believe Your Choice
The Problem: “I think I should have taken the other project instead of this one.” If you are having these “I think” “I wish” thoughts over the decisions that you have made Stop! Stop second-guessing yourself it will just feed your decision fatigue. Jump out of the perfectionism trap and swing between “right” and “wrong choices.” The choice you make in the first place is as good as any other option out there. It might not sound real at first but research has found that people do regret their choices no matter which one they pick even after switching your choices you will regret.
The Solution: So, instead of wallowing in uncertainty over the selection made, just focus on making the outcomes of your choice great.
Keep Fewer Options Open to Self
The Problem: You might have heard of the phrase “spoiled for choices.” While you might want to flaunt it, the chances are that number of choices is negatively correlated with decision fatigue. To put it in simpler words, the more choices you have to choose from the more decision fatigue you are likely to experience. Studies have even shown that the more decisions you have to make, the more stress you experience. It is advised that you keep fewer options available for you by cutting down your choices. This way instead of investing your energy in 10 choices you will be putting it to 3 choices and coming up with the best decision.
The Solution: Otherwise you can also follow the funnel technique. In the funnel technique, you will have many options at the beginning then you will reduce it down in terms of category by category. By the end of the funnel, you will only have 1 choice to pass through it. This will save your energy, efforts, and help you come up with the best decisions. So, stop shopping around, minimize your choices, choose the best, and when you make a decision stick with it.
Get Comfortable Saying No
The Problem: Are you trying to make decisions based on the needs and wants of others along with your wants and needs? Beep! That’s a red zone you should avoid visiting. This will add the mental load in your life. Because that means you have to be always involved in decision making and ensuring that everyone’s needs are met, which is like setting yourself up for a stressing goal. Does that mean you shouldn’t take other people’s wants and needs under consideration? No, that is not what we are trying to say.
The Solution: We are asking you to say NO, if you already have too much to finish on your plate. Just turn down the extra requests instead of adding them to your pre-scheduled plan. Trust me, last-minute changes are the demons we don’t want to put up a fight with. So, next time when that extra task floats to your desk, say a NO (assertively) to avoid decision fatigue.
Make Fewer Decisions and Go with Gut Feelings
Why do you have to make several decisions in a day? If you are inviting more decision-making situations the chances of decision fatigue will also increase with it. So how about cutting on random decision making and further eliminating decision fatigue? This will save your efforts (trust me).
The Solution: Maintain a routine. By setting a routine and abiding by it you will cut down the possibilities of unwanted decision-making situations. And whatever decision you make just trust yourself and go with it (avoid swinging)
Attach Deadlines to Decisions
The Problem: Spending 1 hour deciding what to eat or what to wear for the meeting? How about setting a deadline to space out decisions? Remember one of the causes behind decision fatigue is, the loss of willpower and we don’t want that happening with you. With the loss of willpower and time to make a decision you actually end up making snap decisions which generally doesn’t end up nice. So, what’s the solution?
The Solution: Well, how about saving your energy, efforts, time, and resources by assigning a deadline to your task? Divide your decision into mini-tasks and assign them micro-deadlines. That will push you to act on a decision smartly and within a given time frame. After this, you can move to the next decision.
Allow Others To Help
The Problem: Will you prefer carrying 5 grocery bags (the big ones), a pet, your laptop bag, along with a mug of coffee all on your own or would prefer taking help from someone? Probably you will ask someone to help. So, why carry all that mental load alone? When you can share it and focus on one thing at a time, eliminating decision fatigue.
The Solution: Keep your feelings of being overwhelmed and mentally loaded at bay, by sharing your mental stress of decision making with others. You might want to ask your partner what to cook today instead of deciding all on your own, or ask your best friend what dress to wear with your date, while you make other big decisions. It will help you shrug off the burden of many decisions to make.
Savor Your Moments And Decisions
The Problem: Hey, there! You made a great decision. But, did you celebrate it or savored that moment of relief after making that decision? No? I guess it is time to change this pattern of not savoring the big life decisions that you make. When you will celebrate your decisions you will give your brain a message that it is being rewarded for the efforts that were put in this decision making process. A reward system will just push your brain to work on decisions in a healthy light, eliminating decision fatigue.
The Solution: Next time when you make that big decision on which project you want to work on or which team activity you are taking for this month’s team project just celebrate it. You can either munch on your favourite chocolate bar or just go out for a walk in nature to reward yourself.
Munch on Brain Food
The Problem: What has food got to do with my decision fatigue? Decision fatigue is likely to lead to a shortage of resources within you, which in turn might result in poor or even impulsive decision making. So if long meetings and working sessions are draining away all your energy before making big decisions it is advised that you get your nerves under control!
The Solution: According to research, the best source of energy that will push your productive mode on (again) is through glucose intake. Additionally, you can also eat vitamins and minerals that are great for your mental health. The best glucose-rich option that I like to munch on in between breaks is granola bars.
Take Afternoon Naps
The Problem: Sleep is identified as the best meditation by His Holiness Dalai Lama and I couldn’t agree more. Sleep is a great way to restart yourself completely. But wait! Does that mean you have to sleep in between making big decisions? Not really! All we want to achieve here is to regain our ability to intake new information freshly and process it with the best of our abilities.
The Solution: Research has found that when you take a nap (even if it’s a quick one) your brain will be able to declutter itself and make some space for new neural connections. Through these neural connections, you will have a free mental space to work on your decisions. If you have invested too much energy as of now in a particular decision and still standing nowhere solid, take a short nap friend, you need it! Later wake up to make the best decision.
The Problem: Are you taking good care of yourself in this process of making decisions or, are you letting the decision fatigue take over you? We forget to keep ourselves hydrated, get proper sleep, take a break or a bath, and eat proper meals, and more in the process of decision making, letting decision fatigue fuel us. This has to stop!
The Solution: Set a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes aside every hour and keep these minutes to yourself. No phone taking, no signing of papers, no doing of that extra bit of work. Nothing at all! Just spare and spend these minutes on yourself. You might take a nap, take on nutrition, watch your favorite motivational movie, or read a motivational book. Just make sure you take care of yourself and focus on yourself. Also, avoid any form of substance abuse, as it will further deteriorate your thinking capacity (which indeed is required in decision making).
Time for you to shut down all your mental tabs now and start making 1 powerful decision at a time. By applying even one of the ten ways to eliminate decision fatigue, as mentioned above, you will be able to enjoy a positive change in your life. As the better you will be able to make decisions, the better you manage your stress, and the more you feel happy and satisfied with your life.
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More power to you!!!