Have you ever found yourself in a place of decision overwhelm? It’s the end of the day, you’re ready to just take your shoes off and REST… but the choice of meeting up with friends for dinner or actually cooking it yourself sounds impossible to make. THEN, your honey asks when, what date and time, should they schedule that thing you’ve been putting off forever. Maybe you didn’t necessarily have a bad day, but you just feel closed in on. Depending on who you are, how many decisions you’ve been faced with in a day, and the type of decisions you’ve had to make it can be really easy to get there.
What Does it Mean to Reach Your Decision Limit
Think of it like a bank. There can only be so much currency in the bank at one time and therefore you can only withdraw so much. (And no one likes overdraft fees, am I right? It’s like adding insult to injury) Everyone’s bank for decision making is going to be different but the point is you have one. We’re human, and if you’re relying on your own strength you’re going to come to the end of it at some point.
The Decisions That We Don’t See
Throughout the day we make COUNTLESS decisions. Most of them are so small that we don’t notice it or really even think about it being a decision. Today’s society has blessed many of us with options, but with that benefit we have to become decision managers. Do you want whole milk, 2%, almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, or coconut milk in your coffee order? Do you want mild salsa, medium salsa, hot salsa, tomatillo salsa, pico de gallo, cilantro rice, spanish rice, black beans, pinto beans, monterrey cheese, mixed cheese, queso, or guacamole on your burrito? (and be sure a couple of those are trick questions if you know what I mean) It’s no wonder that come dinner time we have no idea where we want to eat!! (I refuse to believe that’s just a woman thing. Maybe the reality is that we’re more sensitive to these kind of decisions)
On top of all of those little decisions it’s no wonder that you feel stressed, bombarded, overworked, and emotionally exhausted if there’s any bigger choices to be made. I reached a point in life where even the medium decisions made me feel that way and I thought there was something wrong with ME. But the truth is… there’s nothing wrong with me or you. We just believed we had an endless supply of decisive choosing.
The Benefits of Minimizing Decisions
- No more overwhelm
- More time
- Better focus on what’s truly important you, not just decisions themselves
- Mental clarity
There are the things that I saw improve almost immediately. But if you think big picture each of these benefits can have an effect that equals a ton of other positives. What can you do with more time? How would you act and treat others if you weren’t overwhelmed all the time? What might your mind create if you had more mental clarity? What results could you get from focusing on better habits instead of just ‘hoping’ you choose the right thing each day?
How to Minimize Decisions
Now, I’m not someone that likes to go to the same restaurant and order the same meal every single week… but I’m willing to bet that the people who do things like that have so much less decision fatigue than we do. There’s a lot of ways that you can reduce the amount of decisions you have to make.
Make it a Habit
Once something is a habit you don’t have to make the decision to do it.
- Take the option off of gym days, put it on the calendar, and take away the “decision”. Not only will you save yourself the space in your decision bank, you’ll probably save a lot of time that you would have spent arguing with yourself, making excuses and a case for why you shouldn’t, can’t, or have something that is more pressing.
- Have a go-to breakfast for workdays that doesn’t have to be decided on
- Plan your meals at the beginning of the week so you can just get started on dinner and not have to decide “what’s for dinner”
There’s an endless amount of things you can make a habit and take the guess work out of daily life. It’s much easier to make the decision to make something a habit than to try to make a really great choice every single day.
Defer to Someone Else
A lot of the time we make decisions just because someone else expects us to… reevaluate when people ask you to decide if it’s actually your responsibility or not.
Be True to Your Preferences & Goals
A lot of the time we make decision-making hard just for the sake of having the option. You like options, right? It’s nice to know that there are 20 different kinds of milk you can choose from, 1,000,0001 websites to visit, countless apps for our phones, and an unlimited number of diets to jump on when we don’t like sticking to one.
But… if you want to prevent decision fatigue and keep yourself making the BEST decisions just make a mindset shift.
Things that don’t align with your preferences or goals are not an option, therefore you don’t need to decide.
If you eat mostly dairy-free, then half the milk options at your coffee place aren’t options. If you don’t want to be the type of person that is glued to your phone, then the super time-consuming games aren’t a download option. If your company is founded on social service then you don’t need to worry about investing in things that fall outside of that. If you want your relationships to exude kindness, then you don’t have to consider ‘getting even’. The list goes on and on, but the core of this is if you know what you really want and need in your life you don’t have to have all the options. Less options CAN create a clearer and happier head space.