March 7

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5 Ways to Beat Decision Fatigue 

Do you feel continuously stressed and sapped from mental energy?

Has your day become a vicious cycle of tasks that never get done, new tasks piling up and just no time to get everything done? 

It’s pretty likely that you’re suffering from decision fatigue.

The problem isn’t that you need more detailed to-do lists or schedule your day better or even delegate tasks. 

When you get to the core of what is really going on, the problem is typically the inability to make quick, effective decisions that get things done! 

Decision fatigue is your number one enemy and the number one productivity-killer.

If you are a victim of decision fatigue, these five simple but powerful tips will quickly put you back in control of your day — and your sanity!

1. Practice binary decision-making

Binary decision-making means thinking in black and white. This method is the best way to eliminate stressful indecision and dramatically speeds up decision-making. 

Once you have all the options in front of you, simply categorise them under two headings: ‘good’ or ‘bad’. 

Of course, not all the options will be totally good or totally bad, but forcing yourself to do this will help you avoid that grey area of indecision that can keep you scratching your head for ages.

You can pare down the ‘good’ options further into ‘great’ and ‘less great’ until you finally have two or three to make your ultimate choice from.

The key here is that binary decision-making needs to be done quickly. Reflecting and deliberating for ages really defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? 

However, once you have two or three final options before you, you can take a bit more time to weigh the outcomes of each one.

2. Limit your number of daily decisions 

This is easier said than done, right? Actually, it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it. It can also help cut down decision overload significantly.

The secret is to make a quota of key decisions you will commit to making per day and eliminate the unnecessary ones so that you aren’t bombarded all day long.

For example, let’s take food. Research tells us we make about 226 decisions every day about food! What to cook, what to order, where to eat for dinner, what to buy at the grocery store… it sounds trivial, but it is these kinds of mundane decisions that clog our brain and cause decision fatigue.

You can eliminate this kind of decision overload by making a weekly meal plan, coordinating food shopping lists with this meal plan, scheduling days for eating out or getting take-aways. 

You can apply this same tactic to other areas in your life, such as what to wear, your morning routine, and shopping habits.

Next, make a quota of key decisions you will deal with every day, pick a number to start with, say limit to 10. 

3. Do not multi-task

Recent studies suggest that multitasking is actually detrimental to productivity. 

Dividing your attention between several tasks and priding yourself on being a super-charged multitasker can drastically affect your decision-making for the worse. 

Think about it; what kind of decisions will you make when you are distracted by a dozen other things? 

Instead, set aside time specifically for decision-making and nothing else. Focus your full attention on what needs to be done. Don’t check email, don’t work on spreadsheets and turn off your phone. 

Without distractions, it will be easier to assess outcomes and quickly make an efficient decision. 

4. Get difficult decisions out of the way first

Difficult decisions will not go away so, the sooner you make them, the better. ‘Eat that frog’ as Brian Tracy would say – start your day with the biggest, most important, and most dreaded task.

Tackle important or ‘dreaded’ decisions first thing when your mind is at its most alert and focused. Once you have gotten them out of the way, you will have a much smoother, hassle-free day.  

Otherwise, the weight of those decisions, if delayed, will keep nagging at the back of your mind and reduce your effectiveness.

5. Price your decisions

Putting a price-tag on your decisions is the best way to get your priorities clear. 

For example, the decision to buy a new car is worth way less than a decision to quit your job and go into business on your own.

Putting a price on your decision in terms of how much it is worth, or the impact it will have, is the best indicator of which decisions you should tackle first and how much time you should spend on it. 

Fix a price range to evaluate your priorities. 

Conclusion

Decision fatigue is a common problem in the lives of most professionals today. 

So, get smart and beat decision fatigue for good the right way, by incorporating these five powerful tips into your day:

1. Practice binary decision-making

2. Limit your number of daily decisions 

3. Do not multi-task

4. Get difficult decisions out of the way first

5. Price your decisions.


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