Minimalism, The Nemesis of Decision Fatigue and The Overall Bad Day
After good nights sleep your brain has a finite amount of power to combat decision fatigue during the day. The brain has a limited capacity for optimal decision making during the day. Why waste brain power on trivial decisions like what to wear for the day? Then when it comes time to make critical decisions you are experiencing decision fatigue and miss the mark. Think about it this way. You only have an exact number of decisions you can make for optimal brain performance why waste them on trivial unimportant task? The few you waste may come back to bite you later in the day.
Decision Fatigue Acknowledged
Many successful people acknowledge the brains limitations for optimal decision making and manage it for success. I remember reading that Barack Obama works to conserve his optimal decision-making capacity for important decisions by cutting down on the number of trivial decisions he has to make during the day. One of the ways he does this is by limiting his business wardrobe to gray or blue suits and by building routine into his day.
Building routine limits trivial decision making drastically. The routine becomes automatic without thinking. Like being on auto pilot. Breaking away from routine can lead to poor decision making. Like when The President broke the internet when he wore an unfamiliar khaki suit. Maybe it was a present from his mother-in-law and the had to wear it at least once. Or he just did not get a good nights sleep.
‘You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits’ [Obama] said.
‘I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.’
Steve Jobs wore his signature black turtleneck with jeans and sneakers daily. Mark Zuckerberg wears a gray t-shirt with a black hoody and jeans 99% of the time. You always see pictures of Albert Einstein wearing several versions of the same gray suit so that he wouldn’t have to waste time deciding what wear in the morning. Even I limit decision making with a Minimalist Uniform Wardrobe.
Decision fatigue is real as suggested in this study on Judicial Parole Rulings reported by Jonathan Levav of Stanford and Shai Danziger of Ben-Gurion University.
“We find that the percentage of favorable rulings drops gradually from 65% to nearly zero within each decision session and returns abruptly to 65% after a break”
This would suggest the chances of getting a favorable parole decision grow dramatically if the Judge did not suffer from decision fatigue and was well rested beforehand. Or if your ruling was made early in the day or just after a lunch break.
Decision fatigue is seen in sports regularly late in games. The Quarterback making poor passing decisions during late game pressures. The basketball player passing to the wrong player, calling a timeout when his team has none left or fouling because he did not know what else to do. Decision fatigue can happen to all of us late in the day.
Your local supermarket has coined the term impulse buying and incorporated it into their marketing strategy, but it is just a form of decision fatigue. They place the impulse buy items near the checkout. Items you probably would normally avoid. But knowing you have just spent time making a hundred decision about choice, budget, nutrition and value during shopping. Now that you are exhausted and may have been dealing with children they attack you at the check out with the impulse buy an item and a few toys and candy at the checkout. Oh yes! Decision fatigue has cost you money more that you know. LOL
The Minimalist Lifestyle Conserves Brain Power
I guess you see where I am going here. The Minimalist Lifestyle champions striving to cut out the unnecessary out of your life. If it is not essential or brings you the joy it should be discarded is a form of the philosophy. This lifestyle limits the need to make many trivial decisions.
If you only have a few items of clothing to wear, a choice of what to wear in the morning is limited. If you have limited your shopping to only what you need and not things you want just for the hell of wanting it you don’t have to make decisions on what to buy. The impulse buys at the checkout or anywhere else is never a problem. The answer is always no! There is no shopping inspired by advertising, researching online and no time wasted because the decision has already been built into the lifestyle.
Now you have optimal brain power on reserve to make better decisions on critical things that are more important. Spend that optimal brain power on family and good friends. That is a simplification on the subject of decision fatigue but you get the picture. Hopefully, you can end your day still fresh and not mentally fatigued and go enjoy life.
Other Ways to Combat Decision Fatigue
1. Make your big decisions in the morning.
This is obvious but must be said. Prioritize your decision-making. Important decisions should be made early in the day whenever possible. You should plan your day so that this happens. If an important decision needs to be made late in the day try to postpone it and get back to that person.
2. Choose the simple option.
If an important decision needs to be made late in the day and can not be postponed choose the most simple option. Choose the option that will cause the least damage or the path of least resistance. Make this the routine.
3. It does not have to be perfect.
Done is better than perfect. Don’t agonize over the decision. Make the first best choice that will yield the closest to your desired results and be done with it. Perfect is an illusion anyway and taking longer to make the decision will not yield dramatically better results.
4. Limit You Time On Social Media.
I am going to come right out and say it, SOCIAL MEDIA IS A BRAIN DRAIN! SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE DEVIL! I know it is fun and can be great for business but we need to limit out time using it. Sometimes hours just fly by and you are making brain draining decisions the whole time without you even realizing it.
5. If it is not a Hell Yes Than It Is A No.
This is a rule of mine. If it is something that I do not feel amazing about then my decision is no. If I am asked to do something I use that rule. This eliminates me from having to make a decision. This rule eliminates, guilt, peer pressure, and strong arm tactics. I don’t have to make the decision because the rule makes it for me. I forget about it and move on to the next decision that has to be made. If it is not something I feel GREAT about the no decision can’t hurt me. If upon thinking about it and I change my mind I can always change it to a yes at a later date.
Decision fatigue is real and not acknowledging it can lead to making poor or disastrous decisions later in the day. What do you do to combat decision fatigue? Is it possible making poor decisions due to possible decision fatigue been a problem for you in the past? Tell us about it.