How Simplifying Our Lives Can Reduce Decision Fatigue
In today's fast-paced world, we are constantly bombarded with choices and decisions, from what to wear in the morning to what to eat for dinner. This can often lead to decision fatigue, a state of mental exhaustion caused by the constant need to make choices throughout the day.
Fortunately, simplifying our lives can be an effective way to reduce decision fatigue and increase our overall wellbeing.
What is decision fatigue?
The more decisions we make, the more our decision-making abilities become depleted, leading to poor choices and a decrease in overall productivity and wellbeing.
Decision fatigue can occur in any area of life, whether it's at work, at home, or in our personal lives. It can manifest as a lack of motivation, a sense of overwhelm, or a feeling of being stuck or paralysed by the many options available to us.
In today's fast-paced world, chances are most of us are suffering to some degree.
We have thousands of choices and decisions flying at us at any moment.
From small decisions like, What should I wear today? Do I have toast or cereal for breakfast? Should I answer my emails now or later? What do I need to do, and when is the best time to do it? What do I need to buy? Where do I look for missing things?
To the bigger, more noticeable, more complicated decisions that involve our emotional, physical or financial wellbeing.
Not only are we presented with decisions in our own selves, but we also face decisions being put in front of us by others - our children, family, friends or work.
HOW DECISION FATIGUE CAN AFFECT US
While having many choices might seem like a good thing, when it comes to making those decisions, more options make life much more complicated.
Every decision we make throughout the day depletes us of energy and focus.
As women, we wear many hats, and our strength and multi-tasking skills allow us to tackle almost anything. But, at some point, we have to realise that our ability to make the best choices can eventually wear out due to decision fatigue.
When our mental energy begins to run low, we're less able to override basic desires and more likely to go with whatever's easiest.
Using up our energy on inconsequential decisions takes away our ability to be decisive when it matters.
Even though decision fatigue affects us much more than we realise, it can be difficult to identify as it often feels like a deep sense of tiredness and overwhelm.
Classic signs of decision fatigue include; procrastination, Impulsivity, avoidance and indecision.
simplifying our lives can reduce decision fatigue
Whilst decision-making is a normal and inevitable part of daily life, simplifying our lives can be an effective way of reducing decision fatigue.
Simplifying our lives means eliminating unnecessary choices and distractions and focusing on what's truly important.
By reducing the number of decisions we have to make each day, we can conserve our mental energy, increase calm and clarity and our overall wellbeing.
WHAT WE CAN DO
The more we can eliminate small or unnecessary decisions, the more we can automate everyday decisions, and the more we can whittle down our options to a manageable number - the happier we will be when it comes to c
Here are some tips to help you get started
Eliminate unnecessary decisions
Things that have little impact on our lives can actually take a lot of decision energy.
A way to simplify our lives is to eliminate unnecessary decisions. This could mean reducing the number of clothing options we have, decluttering our homes, or automating and organising certain tasks. By doing so, we free up mental space and energy to focus on more important decisions.
"If we weren't weighed down with the meaningless decisions we make in everyday, perhaps we'd have the clarity for choices that make a difference in the world" - Courtney Carver.
Can you create a daily routine, so you don't have to make those decisions over and over again?
Create rhythms and routines
Creating rhythms and routines is one of the most effective ways to simplify our lives and reduce decision fatigue.
Rhythms and routines are things you do habitually, as part of your typical day to keep things running smoothly, except you don't need to make decisions about them - they're like automatic parts of your daily checklist. Even the time of day they're accomplished is rhythmic.
By creating a rhythm and flow in our day, we eliminate the need to make decisions about what to do next.
You can create rhythms and routines for your mornings, evenings, work days, and any area of your life. What time you'll go to sleep, the days you'd like to work out and when works best to do your grocery shopping.
Essentially you work out what needs to happen, what you would like to happen and what is realistic in. the time that you have. Then it's about experimenting with a sequence that works for you while still offering flexibility and space for spontaneity.
For example, if we establish a morning routine of waking up at the same time, exercising, and having breakfast, we don't have to think about what to do first thing in the morning.
I've found in my own life that rhythms are key to escaping survival mode - they give me flow and avoid bottlenecking in life.
You can read how I organise my days using Time Blocking here.
Once you've got your rhythms in place, you've already done that work and made the majority of the decisions; it's just a matter of going through the steps already in place.
Each day write down your top priorities and tackle those first. This way, your most important decisions get done when your energy is at its highest.
SIMPLIFY YOUR WARDROBE
If you've ever looked in your wardrobe and thought, "I have nothing to wear", whilst staring at hundreds of choices, you've experienced decision fatigue.
One of the first decisions we make in the mornings is what to wear. If you have a wardrobe stuffed with clothes, you are overloaded with choices, and it takes far more time and energy to decide.
You can save time and reduce stress by reducing the number of items in your wardrobe.
Steve Jobs, Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg famously wore the same clothes every day to reduce the number of decisions they had to make.
Try experimenting with a simplified or capsule wardrobe. Declutter anything that no longer fits; you never wear, are past their best, and the things you don't feel your best wearing.
Putting together a couple of your favourite go-to outfits you can quickly grab in the morning removes the daily decision attached to the question, "what should I wear?".
For extra calm points - lay your clothes out the night before.
MEAL PLANNING AND PREPARATION
Spending a little time each week planning our meals can remove the inevitable daily question of "what's for dinner?" which is usually asked at some point late afternoon when we're tired and our decision-making skills are already waning. That's usually when we pick up something quick and easy on the way home because it all feels a little too hard to decide.
Meal planning is one of those changes your future will always be grateful for.
DECLUTTER AND ORGANISE YOUR HOME
A clutter-free home is essential for creating calm. Possessions that are no longer useful or loved contribute to stress, clutter and decision fatigue.
If our homes are full of clutter, our brains become exhausted trying to decide what actions need to be taken with each item - do I need to do anything with it? Where does it live? That's why clutter is so overwhelming.
A less cluttered, organised home means our brains have less to process and eliminate before we can get on with whatever we need to do in each space, whether that's a task or relaxing.
When our homes are organised, our brains already know where things go, and we waste less energy on those decisions. Putting things away is on autopilot.
Limit technology use
Technology can be a major source of distraction and decision fatigue. Constant notifications, emails, and social media updates can be overwhelming and lead to a feeling of being constantly "on." By limiting our technology use and setting boundaries, we can reduce the mental fatigue caused by the constant need to check our devices.
The introduction of technology gives us a huge amount of options that we didn't even know could be options - making our lives more complicated than they need to be.
Self-care is essential for reducing decision fatigue. By caring for ourselves physically and mentally, we can increase our overall well-being and conserve our mental energy for more important decisions.
If you have no energy, you're feeling irritable or overwhelmed you might be dealing with decision fatigue.
As with any stress response, when the human system becomes overloaded, self-care is essential.
Take regular time to reset. This could mean taking time to exercise, meditating, relaxing in a bath or simply unwinding with a cuppa.
Everyone gets overwhelmed with decisions at times. It's important to pay attention to how you're feeling emotionally and physically - and your responses to situations or challenges that may arise. It will help you understand which areas of your life may be overwhelming and where you can simplify and improve. Choose one area to simplify at a time.
Simplifying the choices in your life can be incredibly freeing.
In conclusion, simplifying our lives is an effective way to reduce decision fatigue and increase our overall well-being. By creating routines and habits, eliminating unnecessary decisions, limiting technology use, and prioritizing self-care, we can conserve our mental energy and focus on what's truly important. By doing so, we can live a more fulfilling and productive life.
By changing your habits and setting up the right routines, you can decrease anxiety and conserve your energy for the things that really matter.
Over the next month, be mindful of what decisions you are having to make on a regular basis. Are there any that you find stressful? How could you simplify or reduce them?