The world as we know it has flipped upside down, and there are seemingly more decisions to make than ever. Whether we’re deciding if it’s safe to walk around the block, or go to the store, or reworking our schedules so that we can attend to home schooling our kids, or figuring out what to do to keep our business afloat, the number of decisions facing us right now seem to have multiplied tenfold!
From what we’re seeing in our own lives and in the lives of colleagues and clients, many of us are suffering from decision fatigue.
even the smallest decisions
If you find that you’re putting off important decisions or struggling to decide simple things like what to eat, what to wear, what task to work on next, etc., you may be responding to decision fatigue.
So, today, we’d like to share some steps you can take to improve the chances that you’ll make the high-priority decisions and the moment-to-moment decisions successfully.
Three steps you can take to mitigate decision fatigue:
- Make big decisions in the morning.
- There are studies of courtrooms and medical decisions that demonstrate that decision making frequency and quality decrease as the day goes on.
- When you know you’re going to be working on an important project for work or for your family, do your best to do your thinking and decision making in the morning.
- Limit your demands for choice.
- Limit the decisions you make in a day by limiting your choices.
- For example: create a ‘uniform’ for yourself so that you don’t have to think about what to wear each day; write out a day-by-day exercise plan—so if it’s Tuesday, it’s strength training day; ask your direct reports to come up with possible solutions rather than bringing problems to you and asking open-ended questions such as “so, what do you think?
- Our brains like habit, so use that on your behalf to make decisions about everything from clothing to food to exercise. Save your brain for things that matter most to you—your work and your family.
- Fuel your brain.
- Eat healthfully throughout the day. Include fruit and whole grains that can provide the glucose your brain needs.
- Sugar or caffeine can sometimes be helpful when you bump into decision fatigue and need a burst of energy, but opt for chocolate-covered almonds or dark chocolate rather than handfuls of M&Ms.
Remember that in addition to all the decisions you usually make, you’ve added decisions related to your health and safety, you’re navigating challenges in connecting with family and friends, and you’re dealing with workplace changes that impact your workflow.
Be respectful of how stressful this is to your brain, and take care of yourself using these steps to help you stay effective and successful.