“I don’t want to even think about what to eat for dinner – if I have to make one more decision, I’ll scream!” Amy exclaimed as she shared with her women’s leadership forum. She went on to explain that the number and amount of decisions she must make daily have gone up exponentially during the pandemic and at the end of each day, she’s exhausted. Amy (not her real name) sees her team struggling and reports that some suffer from the “deer in headlights” syndrome, they appear stuck and look to her for support. More decisions.
Amy and many others are suffering from what some psychologists call decision fatigue. Simply put, decision fatigue is the eroding of your ability to make good decisions and stay energized after a long sprint of decision making. The more decisions you need to make, the more fatigued you might feel and worse yet, the quality of your decision making deteriorates. For someone in a leadership role, the fatigue may become chronic. Decision fatigue can lead to burn out and worse.
The more decisions you need to make, the more your quality of your decision making deteriorates.
Decision fatigue has been known to lead to impulse purchasing and impaired self-regulation. Not a happy thought as we head into the holidays with on-line shopping and virtual cocktail parties.
Here are signs of decision fatigue:
- Procrastination – “I’ll get to this later…”
- Impulsivity – “What the heck…”
- Avoidance – “I don’t want to deal with this now…”
- Indecision – “Not sure what to do….”
If your holidays don’t involve as many festivities as usual, you might consider taking a break from work and from making decisions. Even a few days to unplug can make a difference.
Here are a few more things you can do to minimize decision fatigue:
- Prioritize your decisions and make the most important ones first
- Reduce distractions as you make decisions and avoid multi-tasking
- Create a meal plan where you have a weekly schedule to minimize making daily choices
- Take frequent breaks and when possible, change the scenery (e.g. go outside and breathe fresh air in between calls
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Have you experienced decision fatigue? Do you have any suggestions that you’d like to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.