What is decision fatigue?
This is the idea that your willpower and ability to make good decisions have a limited amount of mental resources. For example, you are at the last exercise of a very hard workout, you are out of breath, your muscles are burning and all you want to do is give up. The same thing happens to your mind.
The more decisions we make, the worse you are going to be at making a smart decision.
Making decision after decision makes an impact on everyone’s mental capabilities. For example, the effects of decision fatigue were tested in a courtroom for parole hearings. The study looked at 1,100 judges in the US and their rulings for parole throughout the day. What they found was that it wasn’t the crime that influenced a person’s sentencing but rather the time of day. “Prisoners who appeared early in the morning received parole about 70 percent of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were paroled less than 10 percent of the time.” It’s not because the judges were being unfair, as they day progressed they were unable to spend the time to weigh the pros and cons of their decisions. They simply chose the decisions that were the easiest for them.
How to make decision making easier?
Make your most important decisions in the morning.
First thing in the morning your mind is still clear and hasn’t been bogged down by the decisions of the day. This is the best time to make the more important decisions – maybe after that first coffee.
For less important decisions, consider doing the simpler option
At the end of the day we’re all tired and usually don’t want to spend a long time thinking about what to make for dinner. This can cause us to resort to the easiest thing, like ordering takeout, but not always the healthiest (or cheapest). However, if you meal plan at the beginning of the week, this takes out the need to think and helps avoid falling back on the convenient decision, ultimately setting you up for the week ahead.
Set priorities early in the day
Be honest, there are a limited amount of things we can get done in the day. Set a list of things that you want to get done that day, and remember that the best decisions are made in the morning. Plus, if you have a game plan for the day, it saves you from making those decisions later on.