Woah! Slow down on all the decision making and read this.
From the moment you open your eyes in the morning, your decision train takes off. Should you wake up or sleep in five more minutes? What will you have for breakfast? What shoes do you wear? What route will you take to the office? Will you eat lunch out or carry packed food? What food will you by in the supermarket? Phew! And that’s all before 10 a.m. This is why decision fatigue is a real thing! We were all raised to believe that having more choices is a good thing but there lies the paradox of choice.
According to Barry Schwartz’ 2004 book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, the presence of choice – say 24 types of jams or the number of hobbies you can choose from to start in 2017 – is great in theory. But with the knowledge that the simplest decision can create a domino effect requiring so many other choices to be made, or that one decision could mean you’re actually missing out on the better deal, leads to the reality that decision-making is actually incapacitating. Deciding not to decide is a decision in itself, Help! One way to stop analysis paralysis in its tracks is to limit your choices and channelling your decision skills to where they’re actually needed. Here’s how you can declutter your mind and cut down on the decisions you need to make in a day without causing your life to stagnate:
Pay Attention to Your Limits
Decision making gets easier if you’ve planned your day out. You can arrange your different types of activities in such a way that you can go hours between big decision making periods. Speaking of major decisions, choose to make these when you’re most alert. For most, this is earlier in the day after a meal. However, if the decision fatigue is real within you, halt on any major decisions ASAP! Because we all know one bad decision can lead to a series of unfortunate events.
Observe Your Habits
Not sure what your limits are? Spend the next couple of days identifying your decision-making patterns and how they impact your overall efficiency. Identify the areas of your life that are taking up too much decision-making energy and which areas are giving you way too many options. Once you’ve done this, you can eliminate the excess options which would reduce the amount of ‘on the spot’ decision you usually make. Which means more time, energy and freedom for you. Yay!
Great change starts with baby steps. Figure what you can do today that can help reduce the fatigue. Is it switching from a mega mall with 25 different toothpastes to choose from to your local mini store that has three good types? Simplifying one thing at a time right now will eventually lead to less dicey decision making problems in the future.
Avoid the Decision Dumpers
You know who they are. The people who have perfected the art of never making a decision about their own lives and getting you to do it for them. It may be a subtle request that somehow leads you to believe that doing it for them benefits you as well. Then, there are those who restraint to the wind and tell you to your face. Refuse this role, despite all their flattery or impatience. Remind them it’s THEIR decision to make.
Throw It To ‘The Universe’
There are some instances where you can let fate decide for you. Say for example, you sign up for a healthy food delivery service that sends you veggies in accordance with your dietary needs. Once it arrives, you simply just have to eat what’s in it. Not sure what movie to see at the cinema? Put all the listed shows in a hat and pick a paper and voila, you have an answer. We wouldn’t advice this for you money-related decisions though. Too many shows on cable? Maybe switch to a smaller package or quit it entirely and choose to rent shows you actually love watching. The notion that there is a right answer to life’s questions is a fallacy which ends up boxing us into limited life experiences. Sometimes, letting go of the decision-making reigns can enrich your life. Plus it would leave your brain free to make decisions that really do need all your attention.