Decision Fatigue: What It Is and How to Avoid It (2022)

Decision Fatigue: What It Is and How to Avoid It (1)Share on Pinterest

We face hundreds of choices everyday — from what to eat for lunch (pasta or sushi?) to more complicated decisions that involve our emotional, financial, and physical well-being.

Regardless of how strong you are, your ability to make the best choices can eventually run out due to decision fatigue. That’s the official term for that feeling when you’re overly stressed by the endless amount of decisions you’ve had to make throughout the day.

“Recognizing it can be tricky because it will often feel like a deep sense of weariness,” says licensed counselor, Joe Martino, who adds that it probably affects us more than we ever realize.

Learning how to manage your decision-making can help you avoid feeling drained and conserve your mental energy. Here’s what you should know.

Coined by social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, decision fatigue is the emotional and mental strain resulting from a burden of choices.

“When humans are overstressed, we become hasty or shut down altogether, and that stress plays a huge role in our behaviors,” says Tonya Hansel, PhD, director of the Doctorate of Social Work at Tulane University.

She explains that this type of fatigue leads to 1 of 2 outcomes: risky decision-making or decision avoidance.

In other words, when your mental energy begins running low, you’re less able to override basic desires and more likely to go for whatever’s easiest.

Decision fatigue can manifest in a range of ways. Here’s a look at 2 common scenarios:

Meal planning

Few things are as stressful as constantly thinking about what to eat every day. This is partly due to the sheer number of decisions involved (thanks, internet).

For example, maybe you scroll through dozens of recipes, waiting for one to stand out. Except… they all look good. Overwhelmed, you randomly select one without taking a close look at what’s involved.

After making your list, you head to the grocery store, only to stare down 20 or more options for milk alone.

You get home and realize you won’t have time to get through that recipe until this weekend. And that milk you bought? It’s not the kind the recipe called for.

Managing decisions at work

“Searching for answers can turn a simple decision tree into a maze of stress and burden,” says Hansel.

Let’s say you’re interviewing people to fill a new role. You get a ton of qualified candidates and find yourself struggling to cut down the list to a manageable number.

By the end of the day, you can’t keep them straight and just select the 3 applicants whose names you remember for an interview. Making your selection this way, you might overlook some of the strongest candidates.

(Video) How to Overcome Decision Fatigue - Avoid Decision Fatigue

How to recognize it

(Video) What Is Decision Fatigue? | Psychological Explanation & Solutions

Remember, decision fatigue isn’t always easy to spot. But Hansel offers some tell-tale signs that might suggest you’re heading for a burnout.

Decision fatigue signs

Classic signs of decision fatigue include:

  • Procrastination. “I’ll tackle this later.”
  • Impulsivity. “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…”
  • Avoidance. “I can’t deal with this right now.”
  • Indecision. “When in doubt, I just say ‘no.'”

Over time, this kind of stress can lead to irritability, increased anxiety, depression, and physical effects, such as tension headaches and digestive issues.

The best way to avoid energy-sapping decision fatigue is by consciously directing your thoughts and actions.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Focus on self-care

“As with any stress response, when the human system becomes overly taxed, self-care is extremely important,” says Hansel.

(Video) Why Decision Fatigue SUCKS and How to Avoid It

Take time to rest by setting aside 10-minute breaks between tasks throughout the day.

Recovering also means making sure you’re getting enough sleep at night, making sure you’re getting some nutrition from your food, and watching your alcohol intake.

Make a list of which decisions have priority

Cut down on needless decision-making by jotting down your top priorities for the day and ensuring you tackle those first. This way, your most important decisions get done when your energy is at its highest.

Have a personal philosophy for major decisions

According to Martino, a good rule of thumb when confronting major decisions is to ask yourself how tired you are in the present situation. Are you making a decision to simply solve the thing in front of you?

“I think the best question to ask is: How much impact on my life will this decision have?” he says.

If the answer is that it’ll have a high impact, develop a philosophy of decision-making that only allows you to make those decisions when you have to make them or when you feel refreshed.

This might mean setting aside a block of time each month to evaluate the pros and cons associated with major decisions.

Minimize low-stakes decisions

Reduce decision drain by planning ahead and taking relatively minor decisions out of the equation. For example, take your lunch to work to avoid having to decide which restaurant to order from. Or lay out your clothes for work the night before.

“What people don’t realize is that things that have very little impact on our lives can actually take a lot of decision energy,” Martino explains. “Try to limit those by choosing them the night before.”

Maintain unchanging routines

Set up your day so that you have to make the fewest decisions possible.

This means having strict and clear rules about certain things, such as:

  • when you’ll go to sleep
  • specific days you’ll hit the gym
  • going grocery shopping

Opt for healthier snacks

Having the right nutrition can help conserve your energy. Research shows that eating a quick, glucose-rich snack improves our self-control and keeps your blood sugar from dipping low.

Not sure what to snack on? Here are 33 on-the-go options.

(Video) How to Avoid Decision Fatigue

Allow others to help

Sharing the mental load of decision-making can help prevent feelings of overwhelm.

Here are a few examples of what you can delegate:

  • If you’re having a hard time meal planning, allow your partner or roommate to come up with a menu. You can help out with the shopping.
  • Ask a close friend to help you decide which plumber to call.
  • Let a colleague choose which images to use on your next work presentation.

Keep tabs on your mental and physical state

“Realize that everyone gets overwhelmed with decisions at times,” says Hansel. Pay attention to your emotional and physical responses.

Are you repeatedly making poor choices because you feel overwhelmed? Do you find yourself making a habit of snacking on junk food to avoid making decisions about dinner?

Keeping track of your reactions can help you understand which habits need improvement.

Celebrate your good decisions

You make so many small decisions during the day without even realizing it. And that’s on top of all the big, noticeable ones.

Hansel recommends purposefully celebrating the work of making a well-informed or good decision.

If you nailed your presentation or managed to fix that leaky faucet, pat yourself on the back and celebrate your ability to problem solve and perform under pressure. Head home 15 minutes early or allow yourself some extra time to unwind when you get home.

If you’re feeling irritable, overwhelmed, or without energy, you might be dealing with decision fatigue.

Take a look at all the big and small decisions you make every day and think about how you can take them out of the equation.

(Video) You May Be Suffering From Decision Fatigue | Think Out Loud With Jay Shetty

By changing your habits and setting up the right routines, you can decrease anxiety and conserve your energy for the decisions that really matter.

Cindy Lamothe is a freelance journalist based in Guatemala. She writes often about the intersections between health, wellness, and the science of human behavior. She’s written for The Atlantic, New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, Quartz, The Washington Post, and many more. Find her at cindylamothe.com.

FAQs

Decision Fatigue: What It Is and How to Avoid It? ›

Here's how:
  1. Put sleep on your side. “Sleep is tremendously important for willpower and decision-making,” Baumeister says. ...
  2. Make some choices automatic. People make thousands of decisions each day, Schwartz says. ...
  3. Enlist a choice adviser. ...
  4. Give your expectations a reality check. ...
  5. Pace yourself. ...
  6. Tune into how you're feeling.
Sep 22, 2021

What is decision making fatigue? ›

Decision fatigue is “the idea that after making many decisions, your ability to make more and more decisions over the course of a day becomes worse,” said Dr. MacLean, a psychiatrist. “The more decisions you have to make, the more fatigue you develop and the more difficult it can become.”

What is an example of decision fatigue? ›

Decision fatigue is a cognitive shortcut that causes irrational trade-offs in decision-making. One prominent example is Barack Obama's presidential outfits. He claims to have worn the same colored suits every day so as to limit the number of decisions he has to make.

Is decision fatigue a cognitive bias? ›

A cognitive bias that may affect emergency clinicians is decision fatigue. Making repeated decisions may impair executive function and influence subsequent decision making.

How do you deal with decision overload? ›

Paramar offer these coping strategies:
  1. Limit yourself to making no more than a few (three or four) big choices per day.
  2. Make most of your important decisions early in the day—when you're relatively charged with mental energy—leaving lighter decisions for later in the day, and schedule important meetings in the morning.
Sep 24, 2021

What causes difficulty making decisions? ›

Fear of making the wrong decision is one of the reasons that many people hesitate when faced with a choice. You may be afraid of failure or even the consequences of success. You may worry what other people will think about you. Perfectionism may be getting in your way.

How can I make less decisions? ›

How To Make Fewer Decisions Every Day
  1. Set a “wake-up” time and stick with it. ...
  2. Rotate a few established outfits every week. ...
  3. Treat exercise like an important appointment. ...
  4. Cook in bulk to put your meals on autopilot. ...
  5. Plan the next day of work before bed time. ...
  6. Admit that not all tasks are worth doing.

How do you deal with indecisive people? ›

Alternatives: Walk them through the other options out there. Keep the conversation open and avoid judgment. Use questions to keep the conversation moving forward but set limits based on your deadline. Decision: Let them choose the decision-making style that works for them.

Why is decision-making so stressful? ›

Decision-making can be a hidden source of stress, and being faced with too many choices can ultimately lead to decision fatigue. By doing things to simplify and streamline your life, you'll be able to better manage this stressor and make better choices that will ultimately leave you feeling happier and more satisfied.

Why is making decisions so exhausting? ›

Decision fatigue is thought to be a result of unconscious, psychobiological processes, and is a reaction to sustained cognitive, emotional and decisional load, as opposed to a trait or deficiency.

What are the seven ways to overcome decision fatigue Please provide a brief description of each one? ›

How to beat decision fatigue
  1. Establish routines. Routine helps you get rid of small decisions by turning them into automatism. ...
  2. Make binary decisions. ...
  3. Learn to prioritize. ...
  4. Group together similar tasks. ...
  5. Set deadlines – timely decisions. ...
  6. Don't do it all alone. ...
  7. Prioritize self-care.
Aug 28, 2018

What is it called when a person can no longer make decisions? ›

Mental Capacity Act

Sometimes people have difficulty in making decisions for themselves. The ability to make decisions is called "mental capacity" and there are lots of reasons why someone may lack mental capacity temporarily or all of the time, such as illness, brain injury or mental health.

How can we avoid cognitive bias? ›

10 tips to overcome cognitive biases
  1. Be aware. ...
  2. Consider current factors that may be influencing your decision. ...
  3. Reflect on the past. ...
  4. Be curious. ...
  5. Strive for a growth mindset. ...
  6. Identify what makes you uncomfortable. ...
  7. Embrace the opposite. ...
  8. Seek multiple perspectives.
Jul 6, 2021

What is decision avoidance? ›

Decision avoidance is a choice strategy whereby decision- makers fail to make a decision, postpone a decision, or make a de- cision that does not involve action or change (Beattie et al. 1994; Luce 1998; see Anderson 2003).

How do you make decisions easier? ›

Tips for making decisions
  1. Don't let stress get the better of you. ...
  2. Give yourself some time (if possible). ...
  3. Weigh the pros and cons. ...
  4. Think about your goals and values. ...
  5. Consider all the possibilities. ...
  6. Talk it out. ...
  7. Keep a diary. ...
  8. Plan how you'll tell others.

What is the root cause of indecisiveness? ›

Difficulty in making decisions can be caused by several factors, such as a fear of failure and a lack of confidence or information. Indecisiveness can also be a symptom of mental health conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What personality type is indecisive? ›

Out of the IN personality types, INFPs and INTPs struggle the most with indecisiveness. These types can see endless possibilities, which makes it difficult for them to gain the closure they need to move forward. INPs may struggle to identify a strong sense of purpose and direction.

How do you overcome decision anxiety? ›

To overcome indecision caused by anxiety, try the following strategies:
  1. Avoid choice overload. ...
  2. Avoid perfectionism. ...
  3. Don't catastrophise. ...
  4. Flip a coin. ...
  5. Make a list of pros and cons. ...
  6. 'Ooch' into big decisions. ...
  7. Live with uncertainty.
Sep 17, 2021

How do I limit my choices? ›

To limit your options, try the following techniques:
  1. Filter Options. Eliminate options based on one or more attributes of each option. ...
  2. Divide & Conquer. Split your decision into two decisions by grouping options by a key attribute of your decision. ...
  3. Reduce Overhead. ...
  4. Sort by Importance. ...
  5. Select a Subset.
Sep 18, 2012

How do people make decisions? ›

When making a decision, we form opinions and choose actions via mental processes which are influenced by biases, reason, emotions, and memories. The simple act of deciding supports the notion that we have free will. We weigh the benefits and costs of our choice, and then we cope with the consequences.

What are some decisions we make everyday? ›

9 Everyday Decisions That Will Make or Break Your Career
  • Choosing to Give in to Fear. ...
  • Choosing the Pain of Regret Over the Pain of Discipline. ...
  • Choosing to Not Say “I Will” ...
  • Choosing to Not Take Lots of Small Risks. ...
  • Choosing to Not Move. ...
  • Choosing to Not Let Go. ...
  • Choosing to Not Say You're Sorry.
Jun 19, 2020

Why is making decisions so exhausting? ›

Decision fatigue is thought to be a result of unconscious, psychobiological processes, and is a reaction to sustained cognitive, emotional and decisional load, as opposed to a trait or deficiency.

What causes inability decision-making? ›

Fear of making the wrong decision is one of the reasons that many people hesitate when faced with a choice. You may be afraid of failure or even the consequences of success. You may worry what other people will think about you. Perfectionism may be getting in your way.

What is it called when you have trouble making decisions? ›

Indecision can also stem from anxiety. Fear of making the wrong decision and suffering consequences or remorse inhibits some people. Worry about making a mistake and feeling guilty, remiss, exposed, or ignorant is common. Sometimes, people are paralyzed by a fear of hurting or alienating another.

How do you deal with indecisive people? ›

Alternatives: Walk them through the other options out there. Keep the conversation open and avoid judgment. Use questions to keep the conversation moving forward but set limits based on your deadline. Decision: Let them choose the decision-making style that works for them.

What personality type is indecisive? ›

Out of the IN personality types, INFPs and INTPs struggle the most with indecisiveness. These types can see endless possibilities, which makes it difficult for them to gain the closure they need to move forward. INPs may struggle to identify a strong sense of purpose and direction.

What is the root cause of indecisiveness? ›

Difficulty in making decisions can be caused by several factors, such as a fear of failure and a lack of confidence or information. Indecisiveness can also be a symptom of mental health conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What is the 40 70 rule? ›

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, had a particular approach when faced with making a quick decision. He called it the 40/70 rule. He would strive to not make a decision with less than 40% of the information needed, then ultimately make the decision when he had at most, 70% of the information.

How do I overcome my fear of decisions? ›

Tips to Help You Cope with Decidophobia
  1. Take Actionable Decisions: It's okay to acknowledge that making a decision is scary. ...
  2. Reduce the Number Of Decisions: ...
  3. Be Curious: ...
  4. Shift Your Point of View: ...
  5. Empower Yourself: ...
  6. Know Your Why: ...
  7. See Both Sides of Risk: ...
  8. Learn from Mistakes:

In essence, decision fatigue is mental exhaustion resulting from the sheer number of decisions a person must make daily, leading to difficulty making—or making good—decisions.. These mundane decisions combined with more important and pressing issues cause stress and emotional exhaustion, leading to poor choices.. Your manager has asked you to come up with a schedule for a project, and you need to make several decisions about whom to include, what steps are required, and what the end goal is.. The emotional impact of decision fatigue can cause stress throughout a person’s life, not just at work.. Brain fog, decision paralysis, and other symptoms of decision fatigue can impact every part of a person’s day.. Decision fatigue impacts everyone.. The following are examples of how decision fatigue can impact working professionals.. Since one marker of decision fatigue is to just say no due to depleted mental energy, this caused otherwise good loans to be rejected.. The following resources are good examples of how to hone your decision-making skills, which will help prevent decision fatigue.. If you can, make the most of your mental resources by making the big decisions before lunch.. Include your colleagues in your decision-making.. Once you see where procrastination, decision paralysis, and impulsive decision-making come from, you can improve your decision-making skills with practice and awareness.

Decision fatigue is the idea that after making many decisions, a person’s ability to make additional decisions becomes worse.. There may be some ways to combat decision fatigue or limit the decisions a person needs to make to reduce the stress associated with decision making.. The theory surrounding decision fatigue is that a human’s ability to make decisions can get worse after making many decisions, as their brain will be more fatigued.. The underlying cause of decision fatigue may have to do with a person’s stress levels and the number of decisions they have to make each day.. A person experiencing decision fatigue may be reluctant to make these decisions, take longer to make them, or simply make a decision that they later regret.. Procrastination is another form of decision avoidance, wherein a person puts off making a decision for another day or until the need to make the decision disappears altogether.. make many decisions throughout the day feel greatly affected by the decisions they make make very stressful decisions make very complex decisions make decisions affecting other people in a significant way

You make a lot of decisions throughout your day – from mundane choices such as what to wear to more complex decisions about how best to approach work tasks.. Making decisions is a cognitively demanding task and your ability to make good ones declines the more you have to make .. A long session of decision making can leave you exhausted, leading you to make bad decisions – this is known as decision fatigue.. 3 ways how to avoid decision fatigue Make fewer decisions Give yourself time to think Recognize decision fatigue. To put it simply, decision fatigue is the exhaustion and reduced ability to make good decisions after a long sequence of decision making.. It’s a decision-intensive process—what will I cook, what products to buy, what brand to choose—and, by the time you reach the check-out register, it’s normal for decision making fatigue to set in.. People with decision fatigue typically have an impaired ability to evaluate options and often seek to avoid making decisions at all.. Beyond making worse decisions, sustained decision exhaustion can have further adverse effects : it can impact confidence in oneself, hamper productivity, and cause full-blown burnout .. This is one of the most obvious yet powerful ways to fight decision making fatigue – reducing the total number of decisions you have to make.. Decision fatigue typically sets in after you have made multiple decisions in succession.. It can push you to postpone demanding decisions for a time when you’re in a better position to make them, allowing you to make better choices about important topics.. If you notice that you’re tired, have had insufficient time to think about the decision at hand, or find yourself at the end of a long list of decisions, then it’s a great time to recognize that you’re prone to decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue is the decline in energy and focus you experience after making too many decisions.. Decision fatigue impacts everything from the meals we eat to the profits we make.. If your brain is faced with too many decisions, it will avoid making one altogether or make an impulse decision that can hurt your wallet, all because of your depleted willpower.. This also causes you to make impulse purchases.. Learning how to avoid and outsmart decision fatigue is vital to productivity and smart financial decisions.. Set a start and end time for tasks and split up your day into time block categories for work, exercise, family time, and bed-time.. You can maximize your time, and limit your decisions, by time blocking your schedule each day.. Decision fatigue is impacting all of us, but high-achievers recognize that the key to a productive day is learning how to outsmart it.

But there’s other things that are making us tired: decision. fatigue.. Since COVID first hit our shores, and increasingly since. then, we have been forced to make decision after decision on a daily basis. about things which we may never have previously considered.. Decision fatigue occurs when we’re low on mental energy, and it can mean. that without realising it, we take shortcuts in order to avoid further sapping. our tired brains.. Although it should be acknowledged that many researchers who. talk about the concept of decision fatigue suggest further research is. warranted, many scientific experiments demonstrate its plausibility and many. people claim to feel its effects.. Firing off a rushed email response,. buying the chocolate bar at the register after doing your big grocery run or. delaying a decision like what to have for dinner (or waiting for someone else. to make the decision for us!). Whilst some of these decisions are low in the sheep station. stakes, we want to make sure we give ourselves the best chance of making appropriate. decisions when this is most needed, not only for us, but given our roles in. taking care of others.. If possible, plan out your next day schedule. the day before to minimise the number of decisions you need to make on the. fly.

So here’s the deal: when you are overwhelmed with having to make multiple decisions, each decision you make reduces your ability to make good decisions.. Decision fatigue actually refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making that often leads to making poor choices or impulse spending.. These decisions include even the little things like what to wear today, what to make the kids for lunch, what to focus your time on.. These self-destructive decisions often come after a long day of making important decisions at work.. Avoid decision fatigue by requiring others to make some decisions.. You seriously don’t need to make every decision yourself.. You’ll avoid torturing yourself over all of your decisions you have to make if you understand which decisions matter and which don’t.. The more decisions you need to make, the more risk you run of experiencing decision fatigue.. After making too many decisions, you’re more likely to argue with your partner, make unnecessary purchases, and eat junk food.. When you understand the power of a 5 second decision and you understand that you always have a choice to go from autopilot to decision maker, everything in your life will change.

The term “decision fatigue” is used in psychology to describe the deterioration in decision quality after a long period of decision making.. For example, choosing which cereal to eat – corn flakes or raisin bran – may not seem important, but every time you make a decision throughout the day, it takes some mental energy.. After seeing all of these options for what seems like forever, you are overwhelmed and must leave without buying anything because you cannot make a decision.. Decision fatigue can greatly impact your daily life- from your food choices to your outfit – when every decision is difficult.. For example, coffee consumers who suffer from decision fatigue may purchase the same cappuccino brand or flavor each time instead of trying something new.. A person suffering from decision fatigue may feel exhausted, have brain fog, or experience other indications of physical or mental tiredness.. A person undergoing decision fatigue might be hesitant to make decisions, take longer to do so, or simply choose something that later makes them unhappy.. The more decisions you make during a day, the harder each individual decision is for your brain.. Do tasks that don’t require much mental resources during times of increased mental capacity.. Most people, for example, find early mornings the perfect time for doing things they don’t want to do, such as paying bills or tackling complicated work issues that have been bothering them all week long.. A study at UC Berkeley found out that decisions made after being awake for an extensive period of time are not only sub-optimal, they are also forgotten more quickly compared to decisions made after sleeping.. Despite what people say about “cat naps”, I think getting a full 8 hours is optimal for good decision making.

Psychologists have found that, even though we generally like having choices, having to make too many decisions in a short amount of time may lead us to make decisions that are less than optimal.. The researchers found that participants who had seen the display with more choices were much less likely to actually buy a jar of jam, compared to participants who saw the more limited display—suggesting that having too many choices may have been overwhelming for consumers.. The researchers found that their hypothesis was confirmed: participants who made choices spent less time studying math problems, compared to the participants who hadn’t been required to make choices.. In a follow-up study, the researchers found that even making enjoyable decisions can cause this type of fatigue, if one is tasked with making decision after decision.. One way to avoid decision fatigue can be to streamline the choices we make and find habits and routines that work for us—instead of making new choices from scratch each day.

We are actively making choices in our lives.. 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.. 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.. 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 Problem: Spending 1 hour deciding what to eat or what to wear for the meeting?. The Solution: Well, how about saving your energy, efforts, time, and resources by assigning a deadline to your task?. When you can share it and focus on one thing at a time, eliminating decision fatigue.. A reward system will just push your brain to work on decisions in a healthy light, eliminating decision fatigue.. Additionally, you can also eat vitamins and minerals that are great for your mental health.. Does that mean you have to sleep in between making big decisions?. 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?

Eventually, we hit what’s called decision fatigue : Where our lack of energy and focus leads to making poor decisions.. And by understanding decision fatigue and how we can counter it, we can make sure we’re operating at 100% all day long.. Simply put, decision fatigue is the deterioration of our ability to make good decisions after a long session of decision making.. In other words, the more decisions you need to make, the worse you’re going to be at weighing all the options and making an educated, research-backed choice.. No matter how rational or sensible you are, you simply can’t make decision after decision without paying a mental price.. You have limited willpower, so when you use it up you’ll make poor choices Working for an extended period of time or being forced to make multiple complex decisions uses up your stores even faster. If your job means making constant decisions and complex trade-offs, you’re bound to get burnt out and start making poor choices at some point.. Instead, we need to look at ways to counteract all the factors that go into decision fatigue—from protecting our focus and willpower, to making sure our energy levels are high throughout the day.. Just like the judges who were more likely to grant parole earlier in the day, your best time to make hard decisions is when you first start.. A little understanding of how willpower affects our ability to make choices can go a long way in making sure we’re doing the right work, not just whatever is easiest at that time.

In addition to facing periods of making decisions one after the other, decision fatigue can also set in when you have an abundance of options, explains Carla Marie Manly, PhD , a clinical psychologist in Sonoma County, California, and author of Joy From Fear and Date Smart .. "While decision fatigue is mental energy depletion that sets in after making a series of decisions in a fixed time, indecisiveness can be a character trait that results from chronic inability to make decisions, usually stemming from low self-confidence ," explains Dr. Parmar.. "An anxious person tends to worry about every decision they make—even smaller decisions get exaggerated into bigger issues, which induces decision fatigue.". Inability to think clearly or focus Frequent procrastination Avoidance of decision-making tasks Irritability and a short temper caused—at least in part—by frustration with themselves Impulsivity Feeling overwhelmed and possibly even hopeless Spending a lot of time making decisions Physical symptoms like fatigue, poor sleep, headaches, and upset stomach A sense of dissatisfaction with any choice that is ultimately made. Make most of your important decisions early in the day—when you're relatively charged with mental energy—leaving lighter decisions for later in the day, and schedule important meetings in the morning.

This is decision fatigue.. What is decision fatigue?. Does the time of day, or the judges’ level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making?. However, as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision.. You don’t have to choose all the time.. In fact, they have been known to limit their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision fatigue.. Small or less important decisions can eat away at your time and productivity.. It’s Your Routine—Control It to Create Time for Other Activities Instead of having to decide multiple times per week if you should have a healthy lunch, create a daily routine sufficiently ahead of time by dictating what healthy food you’ll eat for lunch every day.. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

Making decisions all day saps your energy and willpower.. The term “decision fatigue” refers to the burnout your brain feels after making choices all day.. Instead, at work and at home, find opportunities to delegate decisions so you can make fewer choices throughout the day.. If you usually hit a wall halfway through the day, you’re going to have a harder time making decisions later on.. Life may get in the way sometimes, but stick to your bedtime routine as much as possible — it’ll help you fall asleep and stay asleep, so you can tackle the next day with properly renewed energy and focus.. It’s okay to be picky — your time is valuable, and the way you spend it determines how much energy you have to make decisions with the rest of your day.. Pick a day and time every week or month that generally works with your schedules, and stick with it — that way, you won’t have to deal with trying to cram a brunch date last-minute into your already busy schedule.

Schedule what you will work on certain days of the week.. Whatever you can work into your schedule becomes one less thing you have to decide upon later.. One important way to reduce decision fatigue is simply to start making fewer decisions each day.. Think about the daily choices you make.. Start by setting specific criteria to focus your options.. As you are working to streamline your life, remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.. If there is some aspect of your life that is eating up your decision-making energy, turning to role models and experts can be a great way to simplify your life.. Keep in mind that the decision made was the right decision at that time given those circumstances.. Decision-making can be a hidden source of stress, and being faced with too many choices can ultimately lead to decision fatigue.

It is a way of explaining why, the more decisions we make, the more difficult it seems for us to make good decisions.. Decision-making fatigue is the theory that we have a limited supply of the self-control needed to make good decisions.. Decision fatigue occurs when you feel exhausted after being faced with too many decisions \ Image source So, decision-making fatigue makes it more difficult for you to make good decisions, but what exactly does that mean?. So it takes self-control to make the long-term reward decision.. So, when it is suffering from decision-making fatigue, and it is faced with a tough decision, it can do everything in its power to avoid making that decision.. Eliminate some unnecessary decisions allow you to have more time for more important decisions \ Illustration by Hanna Barczyk Our self-control muscle is regenerated after periods of rest, so it is often the strongest first thing in the morning (or after a nap).. Prioritize important tasks \ Illustration by LIVCON Yes, our decision-making muscle works better first thing in the morning, but fatigue can also be long term.. For example, if you are working on a big project at work, burning the candle at both ends, and making tough decisions every day, your decision making is likely to get progressively worse as the weeks pass.. This means not working, or even thinking about work, for periods of time each week so that you can recover from that part of your decision making life.. Give yourself time to relax \ Image source If you can see decision-making fatigue affecting you, there are things that you can do to ensure that you have a bit more will power and self-control “in the tank” for those tough decisions.. First, be aware of how decision making-fatigue affects you, and schedule important decisions and creative work for when you are fresh.

Baumeister permitted some students to eat the cookies, and he told others to avoid eating any of the treats.. They were able to focus for longer because they apparently had more mental resources.. You’re probably just hungry, tired or in need of a change of scenery.. Decide on your most important work or creative tasks the night beforehand.. I also find meditation helps me deal with mental fatigue over a creative problem.. Maintaining good physical energy levels are key to enjoying creative work.. If you feel like you’ve no mental energy sleep, eat or go for a walk.. If you believe you don’t have energy to make a big decision, eat, sleep or go for a walk.. If you believe you don’t have energy to make a big decision, eat, sleep or go for a walk.

Decision fatigue occurs due to the mental exhaustion we face from having to make too many decisions.. Decision fatigue can also lead people to avoid making decisions all together, a phenomenon referred to as decision avoidance.. Managing and maintaining blood sugar levels can be done by snacking throughout the day, or only making decisions after eating, which can help prevent decision fatigue.13 Also mentioned earlier on is that we make better decisions earlier in the day.. Twenge investigated the impact of decision fatigue and self-control on students when making decisions.. Example 1 – Parole Decisions Decision fatigue is notable in judges when granting parole for prisoners in the judicial system.. This behavior occurred in the judge’s decision making because as the day progressed, decision fatigue would further influence the judges’ decision on parole approval.. How to avoid it Individuals can avoid decision fatigue by reducing choices in their everyday lives, creating routines, managing glucose levels, resting, and making decisions earlier in the day.

Decision fatigue refers to exhausting mental energy as you make decisions through the day.. Our ability to make good decisions deteriorates after making many decisions.. Decision fatigue is a phenomenon where we start making poor decisions after making several other decisions.. The cause for decision fatigue is our mental energy depletes with every decision made before finally running out altogether.. By the end of the day, you cannot make a good decision because your brain has depleted all its energy making a large number of decisions.. As the judges made more and more decisions, the chances of them making favorable decisions decreased greatly.. Here are some steps to avoid decision fatigue and improve your decision making skills:

More likely what you’re experiencing is something called ‘decision fatigue’ – a scientifically validated phenomenon in which you have literally become exhausted by the constant requirement to make lots of decisions.. The first thing to realise when discussing decisions fatigue is that you have a fixed, finite amount of decisions you can make in a day before you will run out.. Some productivity gurus will go as far as to eat the same thing every week, to wear the same clothes every day and to automate and remove other decisions in this manner so that they won’t tire themselves out having to make those choices.. While this might sound a little strict, what’s key to remember here is that studies show that we are actually more satisfied with our purchasing decisions when we consider fewer options (and this is true for all decision making).. In the extreme you can end up with something called ‘options paralysis’ where you end up unable to make a decision at all because there’s just too much to pick from.. Now you’re using up your decision making potential on a decision you can’t even affect!. To really save yourself energy on decision making, just try to care slightly less about the outcome and to stop stressing about decisions you’ve already made.

With each decision you make, you have less energy to make future decisions.. Beyond that decision you might not have sufficient energy for other important decisions.. If you’re a leader who has to make a large number of decisions each day, you’re more susceptible to decision fatigue.. If you believe that asserting your willpower along the lines of decision making is impacting people in a good way, you’ll find that you have more energy to make these types of decisions.. If I could give you any piece of advice when it comes to combating decision fatigue it would be to make decisions with integrity.. Making your high IQ decisions first thing in the morning means that these decisions have access to the most amount of energy.

Videos

1. How To Avoid "Decision Fatigue" | Productivity Hack
(Little Might)
2. [GUIDE] How To Prevent Decision Fatigue
(Coaching Expatriates)
3. The 5 Magical Steps to Prevent Decision Fatigue
(Dan Silvestre)
4. Decision Fatigue: How Making Less Choices Gives You More Freedom
(Marie Forleo)
5. How to Simplify Your Life by Reducing Decision Fatigue
(Courteney Louise)
6. Fighting Decision Fatigue
(Maryland Smith)

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Manual Maggio

Last Updated: 07/02/2022

Views: 5868

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Manual Maggio

Birthday: 1998-01-20

Address: 359 Kelvin Stream, Lake Eldonview, MT 33517-1242

Phone: +577037762465

Job: Product Hospitality Supervisor

Hobby: Gardening, Web surfing, Video gaming, Amateur radio, Flag Football, Reading, Table tennis

Introduction: My name is Manual Maggio, I am a thankful, tender, adventurous, delightful, fantastic, proud, graceful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.