[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou hit the floor running when you wake-up. No thinking just doing. What should you wear, what’s for breakfast? Who’s taking the kids to school? Do you need gas? What’s for lunch? And dinner? What are you going to talk about in your meeting today?
From the moment you wake up you're making decisions. What to do and when to do it. You feel mentally strong in the morning but as the day progresses your brain begins to throb.
You’re now mentally fatigued.
As you bake in the overwhelming scenario of life, you wonder how you're ever supposed to get anything done.
Your busy day comes to a screeching halt. Your ability to make decisions has dramatically decreased.
Decision paralysis sets in and impulse decisions affect you while you're at the grocery. This is all followed by impaired self-regulation.
As a business professional you’re tired after a busy day at work and your personal life suffers. Your family is a victim of your decision fatigue.
What are you to do?
What are decision fatigue symptoms?
Decision fatigue symptoms are most commonly seen later in the day. They affect you as you’re driving, talking with family, making business calls and while shopping at the grocery.
Decision makers have a finite store of energy to be used in making decisions. As you deplete this limited storage your ability to make crisp, cognitively sound decisions decline.
Declining mental energy is harmful to business professionals and several effects are identified.
Reduced ability to make choices: Decisions where options are preset is energy-consuming, especially if cost and benefits are being analyzed. People with decision fatigue find it difficult to make trade-offs or they make poor decisions.
Decision paralysis: Decision fatigue can also cause leaders to simply not make decisions. When people face multiple buying options they often find it difficult to buy anything at all.
Impulse decisions: Later in the day your brain is looking for shortcuts and would rather act impulsively instead of spending more energy analyzing options and making a decision.
A Florida State researcher found a link between impulse decisions and low glucose levels and that when the decision-maker replenished the glucose they restored their ability to make effective decisions.
Try the Delicious Coconut & Berry Recipe to restore glucose levels.
Impaired self-regulation: There is evidence that decision-making may drain your internal resources leaving you less capable of handling other activities. This is why it’s difficult for you to control your impulses at home after a long day of decision-making at work.
Solutions to your decision fatigue woes
Running from decisions isn't an option. When things get tough you don’t pack up your office and leave do you?
I hope not.
The trick is being smart about your decision-making.
Let your task management software do the heavy lifting. When you have things to do put them down on paper (so to speak). By getting them out of your head and into a task management system you're less likely to reprocess things that aren’t important now. I recommend Nozbe. Read the review here.
Use a To-Do list for common routines. There's nothing worse than having a list of things to do and forgetting bits and pieces. You try to remember but can’t. Get the list out of your head and into your task management software. You’ll spend less mental energy on little things.
Plan your day. Then night before plan what your day is going to look like the next day. Review your plan in the morning and try to stick to it.
Set time limits. If you find yourself taking a long time to make simple decision give yourself a limit. Start with 5 minutes to think it through and decide. If 5 minutes gives you too much time cut it down so you’re not wallowing.
Delegate more often. Start giving decision-making roles to people you trust will make the right decisions. If it can be delegated then quite wasting the time and mental capacity on the issue.
Sacrifice to find the best decision for now. Often times you won’t have hours to think it through. Find the first solution that fits the current situation.
Take mental breaks. Get outside and take 10 deep breaths. Give your brain a break and some fresh air.
Right-size your decision-making efforts. Don’t spent $100 on a $10 problem.
Feed your brain. Impulse decisions are shown to be in correlation with low glucose levels. When your brain is tired, feed it glucose.
No matter what you do or how hard you try, decisions will be a lingering reminder to upgrade your mind, body and soul.
Decision fatigue symptoms will show their face but it’s up to you to take advantage of simple strategies to stop their occurrence.
Do you have decision fatigue symptoms? Comment below.