overcoming decision fatigue man facing arrows in many directions

Overcoming Decision Fatigue

Overcoming decision fatigue: A fork in a footpath in the middle of a fores

What to do when Decision Fatigue sets in.

 

I read somewhere that the average person makes 35,000 decisions per day. This seems a very unlikely number so it must include some very small ones like which foot to put forward first. Whatever the actual number, modern life provides us with so many choices/options/alternatives that we are sometimes overwhelmed by them. This leads to the state of decision fatigue or analysis paralysis. Overcoming Decision Fatigue then becomes a skill that modern man needs to develop in order to survive in the 21st century.

Every day you are bombarded by hundreds of alternatives coming at you from every direction. Should you take the elevator or escalator? Is coconut oil healthier or olive oil? Which brand of detergent is better?

Bigger decisions require you to weigh pros and cons. Is it better to stay with your company or become an entrepreneur? Will moving to a new country be a good thing for your family? Should you invest in the stock your neighbor is recommending?

  • overcoming decision fatigue : man in forest facing two paths

On and on it goes. You keep trying to field options and alternatives as they come at you. Sometimes you feel lucky to have so many choices but at other times you feel that you are going crazy. You can become so overwhelmed by this pressure to choose between various things that you can go into a state of complete mental shutdown or analysis paralysis.

You might have experienced this feeling of panic or overwhelm that sometimes comes from the pressure of too many choices. Although such a situation is best avoided by consciously limiting options so that you have minimum Decision Fatigue but sometimes this is unavoidable. It is good to have some countermeasures or remedial techniques at hand for overcoming Decision fatigue:

 

  1. Take Five

When overwhelmed by decision making, it is best to take a break from the situation if possible. Say, you are making travel plans. There are so many choices to make: where to go, how to travel, which hotel to choose? There is so much work involved in the decision making that it sometimes becomes a burden rather than a pleasure to plan a vacation.

When things reach this point, this is the time to take five.

overcoming decision fatigue taking five with tea and books

Just put away the brochures and itineraries and do something different. Taking a short break from the task at hand might be the stimulus you need to get going again.

 

  1. Hang Ten

If you have a high pressure job, constant decision making can take its toll not just on your anxiety level but also on your health. High blood pressure, heart disease or stomach ulcers can all result from the stress of constant decision making.When this “pressure cooker situation” develops, you can save your sanity and your health by taking a little time off.

Come on, put your feet up, read a book, watch your favourite show, light a few candles, put on some music—whatever it takes to wind down. Taking the time to relax recharges your mental batteries and rekindles your analytic skills.

 

  1. Keep Snacking

Low blood sugar can accelerate the onset of Decision Fatigue. This explains why we make wrong choices when hungry. When the state of overwhelm or ego depletion comes upon you next time, try combatting it with a healthy snack. A handful of nuts, a granola bar, or a piece of fruit: none of these will sabotage your diet but can work wonders in overcoming Decision Fatigue.

overcoming decision fatigue with healthy snack

This is one of the situations where eating is actually good for you (just don’t snack so much that you go into a food coma). A drop in blood sugar can cause a drop in performance.

 

 

 

  1. Get Moving

When faced with so many options that you feel you are being sucked into a vortex of choice, get moving. Go for a short walk, or a work out at the gym.

If you can’t leave your office or any other stressful situation, try walking up and down a corridor, or stand up and do a few stretches. It’s amazing how stretching your limbs drives away feelings of panic and overwhelm.

Exercise releases endorphins (feel good chemicals) in our body. These combat depression, anxiety and stress.

 

  1. Sleep on it

If a major decision like a career move or a risky venture is sapping your energy, just shelve it for the moment. Get a good night’s rest and review the situation when you wake up. It is true: things do look brighter in the morning.

cat sleeping on purple carpet

Replenishing energy and recharging your mental batteries rejuvenates your powers of decision. This allows you to make better choices for yourself at home and at work.

 

What are your favourite strategies for overcoming Decision Fatigue? I would love to know.

You might also like:

Decision Fatigue: A Modern Malady

Avoiding Decision Fatigue: 5 Preventive Measures That Really Work

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19 thoughts on “Overcoming Decision Fatigue

  1. Another beautiful piece of work. How often we take ourselves to higher levels of stress every day. Wonderful tips to bring things back in their right perspective.

    1. Thank you for the kind words.
      When the stress of modern living is mounting we tend to become overwhelmed. This is when we need a good friend or a pertinent blog post to help us along the way.

  2. These are all things that I kind of knew intuitively but never really actively thought about. It will be good to try these ideas more intentionally.

    And then there are the times when things like these become avoidance techniques for me, which allow me to put off making the necessary decisions I must make to move forward with something. So sometimes I have to force myself to eliminate all of the distractions and avoidance techniques and leave myself no available option but to make the decision.

    1. You are absolutely right. All the points about Decision Fatigue that I have listed are things that everyone knows.
      The irony lies in the fact that all our knowledge and analytical powers can become swamped in stressful situations. Articles or posts act to remind us of the potential and strength that we have within us.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      1. Totally agree. These small decisions keep taking their toll on us, consciously or subconsciously.

  3. Great tips. It makes a world of difference when you sleep on things, and I love that you’re encouraging that before making big decisions.

    1. Thank you.
      That is most encouraging.

      Hope you also look into two other posts on decision fatigue that I have done earlier.

  4. What a great article with some practical, simple but critical helps to get us through those moments of Decision Fatigue. We live is world that is flying around at light speed, and the need to make it seems life altering decisions on a moments notice. How clearer is the view, when we’ve had the opportunity to step anyway from a situation if for only a few minutes.

    Thanks for posting

    1. You have grasped so clearly, the point I was trying to make.

      Your comment is most encouraging for a new blogger like me.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Sleep, I think is the thing. It’s amazing how the subconscious keeps on working behind the scenes and presents you with the solution in the morning.

  6. I love the advice, my husband has a high stress job and often refuses to make simple choices at home, like what to eat.
    It frustrates me, but after reading this post I understand what he’s saying. Which is, I’ve been making choices all day, I don’t want to think anymore.
    I’ll go easier on him in the future, home should be a place to switch off.
    I find sleeping, or letting big issues rest often brings clarity and a resolution.

    1. I am so glad you found my post useful.
      Do check out my two earlier posts on Decision Fatigue .
      You might like them too.

      And thanks for commenting and following.

  7. Such a great post!! All the ideas are so practical and its good when you see them in writing making them easy to remember and implement. Sleep is definitely my favorite. The moment of “half consciousness” when I am not fully awake yet not fully asleep at dawn is when i get my most clear and best answers. Although food could easily become my favorite after your endorsement. 🙂

      1. Yes i really enjoyed it! Have to say though food could knock sleep off the #1 position on my list. Can’t decide – have to sleep on it 🙂

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