Don’t Let Your Decisions Become Fatigued
If you climb ten flights of stairs you will be fatigued (most of us anyway). We all know about physical fatigue because it’s so easy to see the cause and effect. Spend twenty minutes on a treadmill and there’s no question what tired you out. Did you also know you can get decision fatigue?
Limited mental energy
In the same way you only have a limited amount of physical energy on a given day, you also have a limited amount of mental energy, and too many decisions saps that energy.
The more choices you have to make during a day, the worse the quality of your decisions becomes. If you are decision fatigued you won’t take the time to weigh out all the consequences of what you’re doing. You’ll make rash, impulsive choices or you’ll choose to do nothing rather than make any choice at all.
There are a few things you can do everyday to help battle decision fatigue
The amount of mental energy you have every day will be related to the quality of sleep you got the night before. You might think staying up late to wrap up all the things you want to get done will clear up space for tomorrow, but it might just be mucking up your ability to make strong decisions tomorrow. Get a good night’s sleep and bring your full mental energy to each day’s decisions.
Prioritize your decisions
When possible make the most important decisions early in the day and save the ones that matter less for later. For example deciding where to go out for dinner is much less important than which person you are going to choose to be team leader on your next project. You may think those are completely different sorts of decisions and the order in which you make them won’t matter, but your mental energy isn’t going to differentiate. The decisions you most care about should be made early on, while you’re still willing to spend the mental energy.
Remove some decisions from the day altogether
Do you get kind of peckish in the middle of the afternoon? When the coffee truck rolls around do you find yourself reaching for that chocolate chip cookie even though you know it’s not healthy and it goes against the promises you made yourself in the morning? That’s because your decision making facilities are depleted.
Instead of putting yourself in a situation where you could make poor decisions think ahead. Bring snacks you know are good for you to work. Have them sitting on your desk or in your drawer so the cookie doesn’t even have a chance to infiltrate your weak defenses.
Create solid schedules
Should I go to the gym today or shouldn’t I? Should I make my scheduled calls now or in two hours? If there are certain things you do, or want to do every day, then schedule them into your day. Make it so there are no questions, this is what I do at this time every day.
Successful people build schedules that remove unnecessary decisions from their days so they can focus their limited mental energy on what’s most important.