Overcoming Decision Fatigue

Photo by 

Are you feeling exhausted at the end of the day?

It could be decision fatigue. I recently learned this is real for many of us. Human minds were not created to be walking computers taking in rapid fire information and spitting out decisions from sunrise to sunset. It uses incredible amounts of creative energy and willpower, leaving us living on the edge of life, some days barely able to remember our name!  

One solution is, where possible, to structure routine decisions in advance. Identify things you do each day or each week that are repetitive: deciding what to make for dinner, exercising, calling mom, organizing kids play dates, bathing times...Then make as many of these decisions all at one time, and schedule them on your calendar. That way, your mind is wiped of the need to think about them, opening up white space to enjoy life.

Another key is to make BIG decisions - those things that need your creativity or willpower - early in the day. The French can inspire us here. After work each day, many Parisians flock to cafes. You don't see them staring at their laptops while sipping their coffee or wine. They are laughing and chatting with one another. They have figured out that most good decisions are made early in the day, and that few good decisions are made after this transition time. Instead they refuel their reserves with pleasurable activities in order to make smart decisions the next day.

Try it yourself. Avoid making big decision after "cocktail hour". I know many American employers expect us to work in the evenings. Hopefully, one day more companies will realize it's counterproductive, using up creative reserves needed to innovate. But for now, if you have to work after hours, maybe getting up earlier instead can work. The hour before the sun rises can be an amazing time for the human mind to make decisions.

If we want to create a more compassionate world, we must first start by living like human beings not human doers. Overcome decision fatigue and notice how alive you feel. (Read this story if you want to see one thing our family did to address it).