How to avoid Decision Fatigue

Decision fatigue is the accumulation of exhaustion we get from being bombarded with decisions from the second we wake up in the morning, to the time we’re setting the next days alarm. At first, they can be easily settled, as the day progresses a simple decision can somehow feel more complex, and by the end of the week we are so over it that we can end up making poor decisions, or none at all, just for the avoidance of making yet another decision.

Decision fatigue is a tiredness that anyone can fall prey to. That is simply the by product of too many options. Thankfully there is a very simple solution: Create a routine.

How to Create a Routine

Step 1:  In daily life we have choices at every turn; tea or coffee, toast or eggs, what to wear, what to take for lunch, where to meet friends, what to give the kids for dinner, to go to the gym or not.. To take a step towards minimising your decision fatigue, start at eliminating the simple questions. Monday-friday, set yourself a game plan. ie.

  • Breakfast is:
  • On these days I will go to the gym:
  • Plan your outfits the night before.

To help your weekday game, set aside time on the weekend to preserve your weekday decision brain power. Setting up a routine for days that are predictable is one of the easiest ways to give yourself a break from making decisions. 

Step 2: Contingency/ Default decisions. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, thats why it’s good to have a backup plan, or a default. A Default decision gives you an answer for every occasion. When you’re presented with an option, you’re not really making a decision because you’ve already made that decision. You will always have your default. The decision is already made for you.

Step 3: Habits minimise decision fatigue, the more habits we create – i.e., habitually going to the gym on monday night –  removes the question of whether or not we should do something. If your schedule is hard to predict and you find that planning is tough, make life easier for yourself and create habits with the clothes, or items you need to make it happen.  Creating healthy lifestyle habits, like keeping fresh vegetables in the fridge at work, can help you change your daily habits simply due to the convenience of them.

Step 4: Make life easier. To give yourself a hand, use alarms or calendar events to remind yourself of things like ‘drink more water’ or ‘walk outside’ to reinforce your heathy habits, and eliminate a decision – as long as you follow your prompt. Being reminded to go for a walk and then choosing not to is counter productive!

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