The second you wake up, the decision making starts… to press the snooze button or not, what to wear, what to eat, what to pack for lunch, what to pack your kids for lunch… the list goes on and on and on.
Research shows that we make an average of 35,000 decisions every day! Making so many decisions can be exhausting, so exhausting in fact, it has its own name: Decision Fatigue.
This term was created by Roy F. Baumeister, a world-renowned social psychologist and author of, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. According to Baumeister, long bouts of decision making tires your brain, in the same way, a long bout of exercise tires your muscles.
This phenomenon doesn’t just make you tired. Decision fatigue has a negative affect on your self-control, willpower, and productivity which can lead to a slew of negative consequences.
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For example, you might get annoyed and lose your temper at a loved one if they ask you a question when you feel decision fatigue. Or you might say “I don’t care, you decide.” when you really should care and be involved in the decision, you just don't have the energy to do so.
During decision fatigue, your brain might short circuit completely causing you to freeze and make no decision at all. This is sometimes called analysis paralysis.
Decision fatigue is particularly troublesome in the digital age because we have so much information being thrown at us every second of the day. This means our brain is constantly getting bombarded with information to make decisions on: to click or not to click, to scroll or not to scroll, to buy or not to buy.
Here’s the good news, there are a few strategies you can use to combat decision fatigue especially during a decision-heavy day.
Keep reading to learn the 5 simple strategies (plus bonus strategy!) you can use to combat decision fatigue.
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Here are your 5 strategies, plus one extra for good measure :)
1. Prioritize Quiet Time
Have you ever noticed how your best ideas come when you are brushing your teeth, when you’re in the shower, or while you're on a leisurely walk? That is because these activities take no conscious effort. This means your conscious mind (the thinking/logical part of your brain) can take a break. This allows you to tap into your subconscious mind more easily.
This is where all your new creative knowledge lives that gets blocked by all the conscious work your mind has to do every day. Taking time to quiet down the conscious mind will work wonders for your stress levels (decision fatigue increases stress) and can actually improve the neurological connections in your brain. This is also why meditation and POSITIVE AFFIRMATION TRACKS can be so powerful. They give your conscious "thinking" mind the break it needs.
2. Create Habits and Routines to Decrease Decision Making
Ever wonder why geniuses like Steve Jobs, creator of Apple, wore the same black turtleneck, round glasses, and jeans every single day? He didn’t do this just because he really liked black turtlenecks. He did this because it gave his brain extra energy to spend on more important decisions, like building a multi-billion dollar company. As a matter of fact, Baumeister found that the most successful people in the world combat decision fatigue by developing habits and routines like this.
You can help combat decision fatigue in your life by creating a calendar of breakfasts, dinners, deciding what to wear to work the night before, and scheduling in quiet time every single day. This will give your brain a break from decision making so it has the energy for important things.
3. Chunk Your Day
Chunking or batching your work is another way to combat decision fatigue. What this means is to block off specific days and/or times for certain work. For example, you can book in specific times to check your emails every day. You can choose specific days to work on certain tasks like Monday can be an article writing day and Tuesday can be a day you see clients while Friday can be your catch up day. Chunking your work in this way will cut down on the decisions you have to make because every hour of every day you’ll know what you are supposed to be focusing on.
4. Give Yourself a Deadline
Setting deadlines for your decision making will stop you from going into analysis paralysis which is a huge energy drainer. Generally, the more time you give yourself to make a decision the longer you will spin your wheels. Setting deadlines also gives your brain an intention to focus on which will help you make a decision quicker. (Next week we will learn just how powerful intention setting is so stay tuned next Tuesday for that email.)
5. Make Sure to Bring Snacks
This one might sound funny but it’s actually super important. Not only is your brain’s main fuel source glucose but it has been scientifically proven that hunger can cause people to make impulsive decisions. What’s really interesting is that the hormone ghrelin (which is produced by your stomach when you are hungry) has been shown to decrease impulse control.
Having a healthy snack handy during long meetings or when you know it’s going to be a while until your next meal can give your brain and body the fuel it needs to make decisions more easily causing you less decision fatigue.
If you'd like to discuss and learn even more about Decision Fatigue and how it affects entrepreneurs join me LIVE today (Tuesday, Jan. 29nd) at 1:15 pm EST. All you have to do is CLICK HERE to join the private Mindset By Design for Her Facebook group where I will be going live. Can't wait to hang out with you there!
At the end of the day, there is no way you'll ever be able to stop making decisions but you can use these 5 strategies to help stop decision fatigue before it causes negative consequences in your life.
Has decision fatigue ever had a negative affect in your life or in your business?
Leave a comment and let me know.
Wishing you so much love!
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