Recently, a friend was sharing her experience of choosing the details for a new home. She described choosing the floors, the wall colors, the fixtures – everything in the home in a single, three hour appointment. I was amazed that she was able to make all of those choices in such a short amount of time. I shared my amazement and asked her how she did all of that in such a short amount of time, she simply said, “It was exhausting.”
Most of us can likely identify a time where we felt tired or overwhelmed when we’ve had to make a lot of decisions or make decisions quickly. As a matter of fact, we are faced with multiple decisions over the course of the day and can get so bogged down that one of two things happen: we either make a poor choice or we do nothing. This is commonly referred to as decision fatigue. You can learn more about that here. Learn 5 ways to combat decision fatigue in a world filled with many choices.
Simplify your choices
If you have a decision to make that has a lot of options, reduce or eliminate ones that you know you will not choose. Work to cut the options down to three and then make a decision from there. Having too many things to choose from contributes to decision fatigue and feeling overwhelmed.
Focus on what is important
Try to make decisions that directly impact your to-do list or goals for the day. If it is not an immediate concern, choose the easiest option and move on to the next thing on your list. There are a lot of distractions in life. Focusing on less important things can get you off track and result in decision fatigue.
Make a plan
For basic daily decisions, make a plan the night before or even on one specific day of the week. It may take a small amount of time up front but, will save you from experiencing decision fatigue on simple choices throughout your day; what you are going to wear, what to eat, etc. Also, when you make your to-do list, keep it short and focused for each day and try to make your most important decisions in the morning when your brain is well rested.
Give yourself a break
Allow yourself time to make a decision. It is more than acceptable to ask for time to think something over. This will provide you the ability to process your thoughts and make a good, informed decision. It is also helpful to manage your expectations of yourself when making a decision. Striving for perfection, which is unreasonable will often lead to decision fatigue in the form of procrastination. If you make the wrong decision, that’s okay, in most cases, you’ll have an opportunity to right the situation.
Sometimes there is just too much on your plate. Maybe it is time for you to take a hard look at your to-do list and begin to eliminate some of the demands on your day, if possible. This will help to reduce the amount of decisions you must make. Set things aside and come back to them when you are feeling less overwhelmed. Let go of the things that are taking up too much time and energy and just aren’t that important.
If you find that you are experiencing decision fatigue because you are so overwhelmed that you avoid making decisions or you are making poor decisions, it may be a good time to seek some guidance on how to better manage your expectations, your time. It’s also important to take a look act how you are caring for yourself. Learn more about why self care is so important.
What are some helpful ways you’ve found to make difficult decisions?