Break up or stay together? Heels or flats? Latte or cappuccino? Cheese or pepperoni — or healthy pizza? Text or call? Every day you make millions of decisions. Every decision you make takes a toll on your mental energy. Your brain is working hard to make good choices, but eventually it will fatigue and sh*t hits the fan.
In the New York Times, Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist, and his colleagues discuss how they have tapped into the reality of decision fatigue. Through their series of studies, they have discovered that making decisions can weigh on our willpower, leaving us impulsive or apathetic. As they have discovered, “No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy.”
How to Avoid Decision Fatigue
1. Eat a Snack: Your brain needs glucose to function. If you’re feeling tired while making decisions and your hangry monster begins to sneak out, you probably just need to eat before you make the next choice. “Even the wisest people won’t make good choices when they’re not rested and their glucose is low,” Baumeister points out.
2. Make a List. Making a plan always helps with decisions. For example, going to the grocery without a list can suck all your mental energy. Go in there with a list, get what you need and check out. This will help you avoid the junk food impulse purchase while you’re waiting in line too!
3. Take a Short Break: At work, schedule meetings with small breaks in between to regroup or grab a snack. Back-to-back meetings can leave you worn out and unfocused. Try to hold important meetings in the morning, when you have more willpower. Later in the afternoon, you may be reaching your decision-making cap.
4. Don’t Drink + Decide: Happy hour is for socializing and enjoying a cocktail. Every #girlboss knows you don’t make life decisions while drinking, since alcohol lowers your self-control.
5. Schedule Exercise: Plan for the decisions you don’t want to make on the spot. For example, schedule exercise into your day — that way, you don’t have to decide if you should go to the gym or stay on the couch. If it’s on the calendar or planned with a workout buddy, it’s one less decision you have to make.
Got tips for conquering decision fatigue? Tweet us @britandco and drop some knowledge!
(Photos via Getty)