Growth & Grace Podcast Episode #30
EP 30: Decision Fatigue
Do you ever feel mentally exhausted?!
I have felt this way recently want wanted to do a little research to figure out what is the deal.
I work at a church, and most of my job is meetings and planning and reading and email and putting out fires….and some days I have done nothing but SIT all day long, and I’m exhausted like I've run a marathon.
So I learned about something.
It's called Decision Fatigue. So 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.
THIS happens to me all the time. Especially in long meetings or in planning sessions for this podcast or the growth & grace brunch or photography stuff…There come a point where I’m just not being productive anymore. I hit a wall, have you ever said that?
THAT is DECISION FATIGUE!
It is low mental energy.
I came home from work the other day after a long day. I had just reached my limit for the day, and I told Andrew that I needed him to just fix dinner. I don't want to answer any questions about it. I don't care what it is. I don't want to think about it at all.
Of course that was hard for him…he wants to ask things like, "but what sounds good?"
I felt myself going into 3 year old tantrum mode…NOOOOO, do you not hear me?! I'm not answering any questions about it!
Making decisions, even small, seemly harmless ones, can wear us down over time. Every day we must decide how to spend every waking minute -- what we eat and wear, what we work on, what we do with our spare time. By bedtime, the average person has made 35,000. Every decision requires time and energy, and depletes our willpower.
And side note, I think this is even MORE for women who are also running a household. I can only imagine what it like for moms and dads who are not only making decisions for themselves, but also for their kids.
It can be exhausting!
Decision fatigue is different than physical fatigue. You’re not consciously aware of being tired-- like after hiking a mountain or running a marathon, but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts. This may cause you to become reckless in your decision-making, acting impulsively instead of thinking things through.
Raise your hand if you are relating to any of this at all! I see you in the back.
I have a few tips to help us combat decision fatigue just a little:
Obviously, one way is to make fewer decisions and you can do that a few different ways:
SYSTEMS to streamline
This means letting go of some control.
LIMIT YOUR OPTIONS
Having too many choices will stress you out. Simply your life.
I really struggle with this. I like to have options. I like to keep my options open, but what I have found is that it makes me a lot less productive.
If I spend sometime narrowing down my options, then it can be easier when it is decision time.
Local middle school wears uniforms. High school doesn't. Caroline said she liked uniforms because now she has to think about what to wear.
Simplifying your options makes decisions easier.
Make be decisions in the morning
Researchers have found that time of day impacts our judgment and our ability to make the best decisions. It might seem to make sense that morning people make their best decisions in the morning and night owls make their best decisions at night, but researchers have found this just isn’t so. For most of us, the best time of day is in the morning -- that’s when we make accurate and thoughtful decisions.
In the afternoon we all start to hit that wall we were talking about earlier, and it is easier to make quick careless decisions.
Trust your gut!
Stop 2nd guessing yourself. Once you make a choice, stick with it.
Let go of the pressure we put on ourselves.
Most of the time there aren't right and wrong options, it's usually right and right options. We are choosing between two good things. So just trust your gut and don't look back!
So those are the tips I have for decision fatigue!
Personally I'm going to work on simplifying and streamlining.
If you have any tips that have worked for you, then let me know!
I hope you all have a great week, and I will catch you next week!