How To Work With Your Decision Fatigue
I think the thing is with decision fatigue is that it is one of those things that people talk about quite a lot, but we do not implement it do we? We see these excellent blog posts and these inspirational people talking about all about streaming our lives and automating and outsourcing but how much of that do we then go away and use?
We think oh that is a good idea, but then we overload with the blog post or the resource telling us about this particular thing, and then we end up getting decision fatigue and actioning none of it. It’s ironic when you think about it. So in this blog post, here is what we are going to delve into:
-Why we should care about decision fatigue.
-How to minimise decisions.
-The process: Where to start (so that you do implement something).
Why should you care?
Why is decision fatigue something we should be conscious of? What we choose to do on a daily and consistent basis, is what creates our lives.
As the famous saying goes (there seems to be a lot of discussion over who really said it) “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
If we are habitually spending time on decisions that will, in the long term, have no bearing or positive effect, we are in that case, ill spending our minimal decision making energy levels. As the day goes on, the quality of our decision making decreases.
How To Minimise Decisions
I was thinking about this topic the other day when I (in a sleepy haze) turned my alarm off and woke up an hour after the time I wanted to get up. I was angry at myself for getting up late, wasting the day and thus putting myself back in my schedule.
But then I thought about decision fatigue. What if, I could still get everything I needed to get done, in the little time I had, by minimising the decisions and maximising my focus?
At this moment I made two firm decisions that I was going to stick to:
1. I was going to choose the idea that I was still going to get everything done. Although I had woke up late, I wasn’t going to let it set the tone for my day. I was going to choose to get it all done.
2. I was to write a list in order detailing the steps that I would make right up until being on track with my day. I was going to follow that flow, checking everything off and I was not to stray from the list. Now although I still had to make the decisions (sometimes you cannot reduce them completely) but what I could do is prevent any additional or variations of the choices. As soon as it was added to the list, that was what I was doing.
So I wrote my list.
I put my phone aside, so that there would be no temptations to unlock the screen into another vortex of decision making.
And I actioned the first item on my list…
First I was going to make coffee and while that was boiling and brewing I was going to get stuck into the most significant task on my to-do list. Yes, that is right before I even showered or did anything else. This task was a juicy one, and I wanted to save my decision making energy levels for that.
Next, I decided that once this task was done, then and only then, would I get ready for the day. This also acted as a bit of an incentive as of course, I wanted to get ready, and not only that, but it also set a time frame to work towards. This plan also coincided with Parkinson’s Law, ‘Parkinson's law is the adage that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”’.
Then I just got on with it. The decisions had already been made, all I needed to do was to follow the steps. And that was exactly what I did. And do you know what? I managed to get back on track.
So let’s drill in deeper to the list. What else had gone on behind the scenes?
Well, luckily the night before I had done a little prep.
-My clothes were out.
-The first 3 facial products that I use were set out.
-My laptop and resources were already in place.
This made actioning the list more manageable. It is something I do before bed even when I do wake up on time. Having all of this prepped just means I do not spend my core decision making time on things like ‘what am I going to wear?’ Or ‘where did I put my laptop?’.
Routines and Rituals
I implemented my routines and rituals. I do have a routine in place for the times that I oversleep. It is like a streamlined version of my average daily routine, including only the basics and the things I need to do to feel good.
I have a backup outfit, one that I know I will feel good and put together in, one that is suitable for most situations. That is why my clothes were technically put out because I knew exactly what I was going to wear. Even when you are not running late, routines and rituals are a form of habit. They are comforting to turn to.
A Mind Food Schedule
So, remember when I said that in my streamlined version of my morning routine I only included things that I needed to do or the things that made me feel good? Well, that involved mind food. Your mind food intake is what keeps you inspired. So, even when you are busy, it is important not to skip it. Even setting aside 10 minutes to work on yourself a day, or listening to some audio while you get ready is a good place to start.
Like I said at the start, with this blog post, there are so many things you can action immediately. But the thing is, actually implementing them. So where now? What next?
First, you are going to want to note down your current system or routine. For example, the basics could look like this:
-Getting washed, dressed and ready.
-Commute or get started with work.
Within this list, you can then look at what you can prep the night before.
Within this list, you can look at the rituals, routines and habits that you can form.
Within this list, you can look at the mind food schedule that you can create.
Start with the initial list, and then build from there. Remember, perfecting this can take time but the benefits are worth the trial and error.
About the author
Chloe Slade is the Marketing Manager here at Cone and focuses on creating content that brings business and lifestyle together. Chloe is a keen makeup lover, foodie and loves to work from luxurious destinations.