I’ve been reading about decision fatigue a lot lately and how it affects us.
For those of you who don’t know, decision fatigue “refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making.”(Wikipedia)
In other words, because our brain is capable of making only several great decisions before it starts to tire out — our judgement becomes impaired with every other decision made afterwards.
This is huge, because whether or not you realize it, we all make decisions every single day from the moment we wake up:
Should I wear this shirt or that one?
What should I eat for breakfast?
Should I bring an umbrella?
Should I fill up on gas at this gas station or wait for a cheaper one?
Should I take this road or the other one?
Should I listen to this playlist or that one?
Before we’ve even gotten to work, we’ll have already made a dozen or so decisions, most of which are unimportant and won’t actually make an impact on our lives.
And the cycle continues — by the time it’s lunch, we’ll have already made close to 30 or so decisions. Without knowing, we’re already experiencing decision fatigue.
And the worst part about decision fatigue isn’t necessarily even about making decisions. It’s the gradual lack of willpower that comes with it.
Roy F. Baumeister, a prolific writer and psychologist who’ve studied decision fatigue and its effect on will power says:
“Making decisions uses the very same willpower that you use to say no to doughnuts, drugs, or illicit sex.”
This is the reason why so many of us find it difficult to reject junk food, or do the things that we shouldn’t — because whatever willpower we did have would’ve been already been used up from decisions made that morning.
Ever wonder why Steve jobs wore the same black turtle neck every day?
Because it’s one decision less he’d have to worry about every morning.
Decision fatigue is real and if we allow our brain’s capability of making decisions to be wasted, we’re going to be less successful as a result. All it takes is a simple change here and there — if you limit the number of decisions you’ll have to make in the morning, you can change that day’s outcome.
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. 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.” — Barack Obama