What is Decision Fatigue?
Do you ever start out your day exhausted? Do you dread starting your work day? Are your paralyzed with choices to make? Do you find yourself making bad decisions at the end of the day. If so, you may be experiencing decision fatigue. What is decision fatigue? The definition of decision fatigue refers to “the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making.” It is simple the brain getting exhausted from making decision after decision. Now to explain, we only have so much capacity in a day to make decisions and as the day wanes we find that our ability to make good decisions usually suffers.
Think about dinner each night. You start the day with a plan to eat healthy but unless you plan out your meals you find yourself stopping at the nearest fast food restaurant to pick up a quick, hot meal. Anything will satisfy you that is quick and doesn’t require thought. It’s why when we are tired or stressed we go to our comfort foods. Decision fatigue is responsible for many bad food choices, ranting Facebook posts, or yelling at your kids or your colleagues. We become overloaded from the choices we constantly must make and have a meltdown of sorts. So what does this mean for business owners?
Business owners are faced with lots of important and potentially helpful or harmful decisions each day with regards to their businesses. Decisions on contracts, social media content, marketing, accounting, sales, customer relations, etc.. are the norm. We must continually choose what is the best choice for our business and our customers. Have you ever found yourself making quick decisions that you regret later or paralyzed from making a decision at all? Below are three tips to help you avoid decision fatigue in your business.
Tips to Avoid Decision Fatigue
1. Save your big decisions for when you are refreshed and ready – We all function best at certain times of the day. Some people are night owls, some are early risers. You know yourself best and when are your peak hours of productivity. Use that to your advantage not only to be productive but also in making good decisions. Don’t make big decisions when you are tired, hungry or just spent. That is definitely a recipe for disaster. We only have so much bandwith in our day. Reserve the best part of you for the biggest tasks and the biggest decisions.
2. Eliminate the need for small decisions – What to wear, what to take to a meeting, what to eat. I try to simplify my life as much as I can and this involves removing the decisions that take up precious time. In our house, everyone picks out their clothes for the week. On Sundays I check the weather for the week and plan accordingly. I do the same with my daughter. It makes mornings so much smoother. Lunches are packed the night before so no one is hangry. Yes, we all know what it is to be hangry. I prepare as much as I can for the next day, the night before. Why? To make my days simpler and smoother. I even write out my “To do” list for the next day. It is so much easier to knock tasks off your list or make big decisions when the little stuff is out of the way.
3. Limit your options whenever possible – We all have watched a child who is unable to choose from all the candies at the candy store. There is so many good things in front of them they simply can’t choose just one. Adults are no different. You give us too many options and we become victims of the shiny object syndrome. We are so focused on the choices in front of us that we forget to make a choice. Remember that not making a choice is a choice.
Keeping these three tips in mind whenever you are feeling fatigued from all the choices will help you make better, smarter decisions for you and your company.