This applies regardless of the decision’s magnitude: Cookie vs. Fruit for dessert / Take the promotion and move to Boston or stay where you are. Each one burns valuable time, energy and brain cells. Plus, your ability to make a good decision, or the best one for you, diminishes as the day goes on.
It’s the reason that diets are so easy to follow at breakfast and nearly impossible by dinner time.
Kids inherently know this. Each time they ask to play video games rather than doing their homework, they instinctively know that they are creating decision fatigue. It’s only a matter of time before you cave and say yes. (I’ve often thought that negotiating classes should be taught by 6 year olds. They are masters at that age!)
So what do you do about it? We are faced with thousands of them every day and not making decisions is not really an option.
Here are 5 tips to help:
1. Create routines- For me that includes a work out every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 5:30 am. I don’t have to spend time deciding or procrastinating about when to fit it in each week.
2. Make your biggest decisions early in the day, when you are better at it.
3. Stop multi tasking- Constantly switching gears means that you are making several times the decisions about when to switch, what to do next. Create a list and work from that, one item at a time.
4. Automate whatever you can- Set your bills up on auto pay, etc. so that you don’t have to decide when to fit them in.
5. Set a timer- You’ve heard the phrase that work expands to fill the available time, well so does decision making. When you realize that you have been agonizing over the font for your next newsletter for way to long, take a deep breath, set a timer for 60 seconds and commit to making a decision before it goes off.
When you get a framework in place to take care of the basic decisions you will find that you free up not only your time and your mind to focus on more creative ones that make a bigger impact.