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6 Ways to Deal With Decision Fatigue

Sam Curtis Coaching - Best Ways To Handle Decision Fatigue: Woman with her head in her hands


Decision fatigue is a real thing that affects everyone at times.

Plan The Day

Rest Your Mind

Trust In Others

Focus On Values

Design A Process

Know Yourself

Fundamentally decision fatigue is natural and ever-increasing in our fast-paced world

"We all make choices, but in the end, our choices make us."
- Ken Levine

We all experience many different types of fatigue. We can be physically tired where our legs just don’t want to move. Or fully exhausted as often felt during the first week of a new job. And brain-dead at the end of a busy day. Feeling low on mental energy could be decision fatigue. Our brain feels overworked from too many decisions throughout the day and it starts to look for shortcuts.

Decision fatigue is a real thing that affects everyone at times.

We can confuse decision fatigue with willpower and overwhelm and get frustrated when we want to take the easy option at the end of a long day. Munching on chocolate rather than preparing a healthy meal, and yet perhaps your brain’s need for rest rather than your emotions are holding you back.

Therefore here are some tips, in no particular order, for handling decision fatigue so you can make better choices.

Plan The Day

A key part of decision fatigue is that it grows more likely with each decision we have throughout the day so the best place to start is in the morning. First thing, sit down and make your key decisions and put it into a plan. I appreciate this means you make a lot of decisions early on, but we all know how quickly the day can spiral away.

Making these important decisions before the myriad of little ones that infiltrate is a good way to set yourself up for success on the things that matter most.

Rest Your Mind

When the decisions seem to have got the better of us and our brain simply won’t decide or is determined to choose the simple option. Instead of letting your inner critic bully you, take a moment to rest the mind.

You can do this throughout the day with micro-breaks, short and restorative moments such as making a cup of tea, staring out the window or chatting with a colleague.

Another way to allow your mind to rest is to simplify. Actively reduce the number of decisions you need to make each day. This could be taking a leaf out of Steve Jobs’s book by always wearing the same outfit, it could be meal prepping your lunches or saying no to organising or planning that next dinner party.

If you are not able to (or have forgotten to) give yourself little breaks and reduce the number of decisions you are making then you can of course turn to everyday mindfulness and sleep. Even a short activity such as counting your breaths or a nap will recharge your mind ready for more decision making.

Trust In Others

Fellow perfectionists, how guilty can we be of moaning at others for not helping and then setting extremely high standards we make it impossible for them to succeed?!

If you frequently experience decision fatigue then this might be the area you need to focus most on.

Delegate and trust. Good enough IS good enough.

If that sounds like a step too far right now, then seek out a mentor or an advisor. Someone whose decisions you trust so that you can reach out for their advice when your brain fog means you are struggling to find an answer.

Focus On Values

We make thousands of daily decisions – 35 thousand some say.

Some of these decisions move the needle in our lives, others less so. Therefore we cant afford to expend the same amount of energy on all decisions.

So how to know which requires focus? The answer is in your values.

All your goals and dreams should be focused on your values. The things you are good at and are important to you (at least that’s my definition). This question of importance helps to define which decisions deserve the most energy.

Ask Yourself:

  • Does this decision impact my values?

  • Is this important to me?

  • Will this help me achieve my goals?

If the answer is no, make a quick decision and reserve your precious cognition for decisions that answer yes to all three.

Design A Process

Still unsure on that key, important decision? We all have them, from changing careers to buying a house, to raising a family. They deserve time and focus.

Therefore there is no better time than to create a process, a decision matrix uniquely designed for yourself and your big life decision.

Utilise the amazing resources that already exist and create your own version of:

Know Yourself

Key to this whole process is to find compassion for yourself for an incredibly normal part of being human. Knowing your triggers and the best ways to recover are so important and part of a lifelong exploration.

Simple actions like feeling into where you are in a moment and knowing it isn’t the time to make a tough decision is great place to start.

So is allowing yourself some compassion and wiggle room on your bad days.

Also remembering that whatever the decision you make, it’s not back or white, good or bad and that you are allowed to change your mind.

If all else fails a good mantra such as ‘I did the best I could with the information I had at the time’ might be the perspective and self-kindness you need.

Fundamentally decision fatigue is natural and ever-increasing in our fast-paced world

We must all find way to manage the overload of information and decisions that come our way each day. And we must do so with a huge dose of compassion.

These tools are just a starting point for you to discover what works for you. Expect some trial and error and if you could use a guiding hand, book a free session and we can personalise your process.

With Love

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