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Do you suffer from Decision Fatigue?

My 5-Top Tips to avoid Decision Fatigue

Decision fatigue. Heard of it? It’s that feeling of overwhelm that gradually builds up, to the point where if you have to make one more decision, for yourself or someone else, it may just tip you over the edge.

Let’s face it – life is one decision after the next. If you are a (recovering) perfectionist like me, trying to make the “right” decision whilst keeping everyone happy, reduces your capacity to make excellent choices when it really matters.

Personally, I have learnt that by trying to make the “right” decision about every logistical arrangement for the family, every group fitness session, every post on Facebook and every minute of my day is not only impossible and exhausting, but it leaves me mentally and emotionally drained to make great decisions about the things that matter the most.

I was sweating the small stuff!

So rather than trying to make the perfect decision, or not make a decision at all in case it’s the wrong one, I now try to make a choice that meets a basic standard of satisfaction, and then move on.

This is what I like to call “its good enough”. Decision made, move on.

In practice, this allows me to get more done because I’m not wasting precious time or energy on decisions that in the grand scheme of things, don’t really matter.

For example – So I didn’t get the best possible price for my new runners. Meh. Move on. So my choice of salmon at dinner didn’t look as tasty as the chicken my husband chose. Move on. So I didn’t correct the typo in the Facebook post before I pressed publish? Move on.

Here are my 5 top tips on how you can avoid “Decision Fatigue”

  1. Don’t fall into the comparison trap! Despite your best intentions, if you compare there will always be someone who made a better (cheaper, tastier, better looking, easier, quicker results etc) choice. Make the best decision you can with what you know and leave it at that. So your shoes cost $50 more than Sarah’s who bought them online, OK, move on, let it go.
  2. Limit your choices. I love the idea of a uniform. Why? It takes away the need to make a decision about what to wear each day. Steve Job’s was known to wear only blue jeans and either a black or white t-shirt to work every single day so he didn’t’ have to waste his energy each morning on deciding what to wear. By applying this principle to those things which aren’t really critical, will free up your time and brain space for the meaningful stuff. Long live activewear!
  3. Lower your bar or standard. This has possibly been one of the harder things for me to do, but also the one that has made the most difference. By lowering the decision-making bar to what is a ‘good enough’ choice rather than what is the perfect choice, has saved me hours of unproductive research, worry, and indecision. 80% is good enough.
  4. Make it irreversible. Some decisions we make, such as what to wear to work, are not going to change the course of history or damage your health if you simply make the decision and move on.But, if you make an open-ended decision by keeping your options open just in case you change your mind later, or hedge your bets, this will leave you wide open to constantly second-guessing yourself which is exhausting. Make a choice, stick to it, end of story.
  5. Be decisive despite your uncertainty. Hands up if you’ve let the fear of making a wrong decision stop you from making a right decision…or making any at all. Yep, my hand is UP. Of course, there are genuinely important decisions that we need to make throughout the course of life – and these are the ones we want to save our energy for. We have so much data, information and a plethora of possibilities at our disposal that if we analyse the small stuff for too long we miss out on living life and allow potential or opportunities pass us by.

Research has found, the most successful people don’t sweat small decisions and they don’t spend years analysing and researching the big ones. Instead, they make the best decision they can at that time with the available data. If the outcome is less than ideal, they pivot and move on. Delaying a decision at the time can seem like the safest thing to do, but can often be the riskiest.

What I’ve come to realise is that good enough is truly good enough. By letting go of the fear of making an imperfect decision I am no longer distracted from making great decisions about the things that matter the most in life. Living life, being in the moment, that’s what really matters x