6 Questions To Help You Conquer Decision Fatigue

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tired woman trying to make a decision
Self

Decision-making can drain you and also be terribly time-consuming. People often use shortcuts to lessen the energy and time in the decision-making process but the science is still not clear on this.

However, there's very compelling empirical evidence to suggest that decision fatigue is a real phenomenon. 

I’ve experienced it myself and I know other mothers have as well.

Parenting and working from home can cause fatigue. We often just want to get a number of decisions over with so we decide by default and don't make conscious choices.

RELATED: Decisions Are Tough — But Here Are 4 Ways To Always Make The Right One For Yourself

What does decision fatigue look like?

According to the Decision Lab website, "Decision fatigue is a cognitive shortcut that causes irrational trade-offs in decision-making. One prominent example is Barack Obama’s presidential outfits. He claims to have worn the same colored suits every day to limit the number of decisions he had to make. Obama understood decision fatigue and how it can compromise the quality of important choices."

I had someone recently get upset with me for taking "too long to decide." What I noticed is that they (the group) expected that decision to be a priority over everything else in my life. They also did not consider the things I was going through in those few days.

In the conversation, there was no mention of a deadline for an answer. My answer was "no," but I did say I would think about it. I did, but it wasn’t fast enough for the others. 

In those few days, I had a health issue I was forced to deal with. At that time, the decision was still on my mind. However, I didn’t rush it as I was exhausted.

I set aside the pressure of getting back to them and actually did think it through carefully when I felt well enough. In the past, I would have caved to the pressure of someone “needing to know.” Possibly, I would have regretted that decision later.

To wait or move on?

The misconnection in this conversation was not discussing a deadline with me and me not being very clear that my answer was no and likely wouldn’t change.

Making healthy decisions takes balance within yourself. If you make the decision because someone is "waiting on you" and you "don’t want to offend them,” then it’s not your true decision. 

Making decisions that you are clear on and feel more true to your true nature is important because the more you make them, the stronger your trust builds with yourself and you eventually will make those decisions easier as you build on that trust.

Also, in relationships, if someone is taking a bit longer to make the decision, you notice that silence is your answer. 

It’s something that is an inner journey to build intimacy and authentic trust in yourself and with others.

Intimacy doesn’t happen without trust in decision-making.

With that said, I once dated a man that took an extremely long time to decide on everything and I learned patience with his process.

However, later, I came to know that he did it to control me. To make me wait and be uncomfortable. This was an opportunity for me to learn to let go of an outcome, not wait, and make my own move.

It also created mistrust in the relationship. How you make decisions does affect your relationships. 

RELATED: 4 Questions You Must Ask Before Making Any Hard Decision

Here are 6 question to ask yourself to help with decision fatigue:

1. Do you allow someone to pressure you?

2. Do you feel rushed and overwhelmed, due to an overloaded life?

3. Do you feel confused and want to check out?

4. Do you just make it quick to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of fear of making the wrong decision?

5. Do you feel you have to make the decision soon to avoid inconveniencing others?

6. Do you take the time needed to make a healthy decision or just go with what has less resistance?

Mental shortcuts also help ease decision fatigue.

You might use mental shortcuts to make decisions to avoid taking the mental energy and time to really sit with a decision.

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These mental shortcuts can be one reason why you continue to have things show up in your life that aren't desirable. You use the same mentality to decide each time.  

When making decisions, it can feel gruesome on occasion.

It gets better as you build confidence and start seeing the positive results of taking the time needed to take all possibilities into consideration and have a clear answer that feels better to you rather than taking a quick shortcut due to decision fatigue.

I’ve been working on being conscious of when I’m making decisions and really focus on the actual importance of each decision. 

When I’m fatigued and my brain is struggling to say the correct words, that is my sign that major decisions need to happen when I’m more rested. 

I love Andrew Huberman’s work, a neuroscientist at Stanford University. On a podcast, he said that he works into the early hours of the morning and he knows not to make decisions at 3am because he knows his brain is fatigued.

By making decisions consciously, you can avoid the trap of "just getting it over with" by noticing what's going on with your mind and body during the decision process. 

If you’ve made a decision that later you regret, take a bit of time to go back and reflect on what was going on when you made the decision.

Curiosity opens your mind up to a state of understanding your choices. It also creates healthier, more thriving intimate relationships. 

RELATED: How To Find The Relationship Of Your Dreams (Even If You Constantly Make Terrible Decisions)

Lisa Hawkins is a certified life coach, certified cognitive-behavioral therapy coach, and a dating and relationship coach. For more information, visit her website.