It’s 8:00 a.m. on a Wednesday. You went back and forth for so long over what gym class to take during lunch that by 8:30 a.m., it hits you – decision fatigue! You’ll still go to the gym because, well, you already put in all that effort to plan. After all, you couldn’t pick a class that would make you sweat too much because you have plans after work. It’s just that now you’re not feeling all that motivated or excited about it all.
When you’re making multiple decisions in a day, it can feel like you’ve reached your decision-making limit. This decision fatigue is real, and it doesn’t only impact people who have to make life-altering decisions. The smallest daily decisions impact our minds in subtle ways. And until you cut down on some of the non-essential ones, decision fatigue can muddle your mental clarity, leading to higher stress levels and burnout.
Here are some tips on combatting decision fatigue so you can live your life feeling less overwhelmed by its choices.
Create a schedule and stick to it.
You likely already have some straightforward habits in the morning, such as getting up, making coffee, checking your emails, and eating breakfast. And in the evening when you get home from work, maybe you like to keep things a bit unscripted because it’s your free time.
Understandably, not all of us want to live life according to a rigid schedule! But whatever the reason for your lack of a plan, it will always leave room for decision fatigue. For instance, when you kind of feel like exercising but also really want to knock out some pages in your new book, how often do you find yourself side-tracked or losing time because you veer off to start a load of laundry?
One ideal place to start when working to combat decision fatigue is to set up a weekly schedule for what you will accomplish on certain days.
For example, you can create a weekly schedule where you:
- Stick to doing laundry and other specific chores on the same day.
- Filter through a weekly meal plan.
- Follow a weekly workout schedule. It doesn’t have to be the same workout, but maybe you plan it according to category and time. For example, Mondays are Pilates for 45 minutes, Wednesdays are Cardio for 30 minutes, etc.
Streamline your life.
In what ways can you set things up to where actions are essentially carried out for you? For example, you can set up automatic payments for your bills, deciding once what day of the month is best. You can build a budget that, in all honesty, helps make some decisions for you. You can decide that everyone is getting the same category of Christmas gifts this year, choosing a theme like self-care!
In any way possible, decide what needs to be done and when, schedule it, make yearly calendar reminders where it applies, and spend your time making big, exciting decisions like where to travel next summer!
Limit your options
More options mean more time spent considering potential choices. The simple act of limiting these choices can go a long way toward reducing decision fatigue. The idea is for you to make important daily decisions with as little mental effort as possible.
Maybe you love fashion or shopping, but you’ve reached a point in life where the number of stores you have to choose from is stressful. Reflect on the impact of things like this, and be honest with yourself. Then, maybe you make the decision only to buy second-hand clothing or environmentally friendly brands. So you have two online consignment sites you browse on occasion and two brands to explore during seasonal sales.
When it comes to making decisions that support your health and values, think simple.
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