6 Ways To Overcome Decision Fatigue
As the decision maker for every facet of their business, entrepreneurs are highly susceptible to decision fatigue, or the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after too much decision making. Here are 6 practical ways to overcome decision fatigue and maintain clarity throughout the work day.
1. Plan out your outfit the night before.
Steve Jobs and former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes were known for their iconic black turtleneck outfit. Both cite their daily uniform for allowing them to preserve their mental energy while running their businesses. Don’t worry, we’re not forcing you to wear a turtleneck everyday – but planning out your outfit the night before is an effective way to alleviate decision fatigue in the morning and preserve your willpower throughout the work day.
2. Bring lunch from home.
Your lunch break becomes less of a break when you spend 15 minutes walking down the block trying to decide what to eat for lunch. Preserve your finite mental energy for more productive decisions than caesar salad or ham sandwich?
3. Work on top priority tasks in the morning.
Not surprisingly, we make our most informed decisions in the morning. What is your top priority right now? Is it a client project that you’re working on? Is it networking with other entrepreneurs? Is it scaling your business? Work on your top priority tasks in the morning so you can channel your best energy into it.
4. Schedule it.
After a long day of decision making at work, the last thing we want to do is decide whether we should go to the gym or agonize over whether we should go meet that friend for happy hour. Turn decisions into commitments by scheduling a specific day during the week for activities that are important to you. You are far more likely to hit the gym on Mondays than “when you’re feeling up for it.”
5. Introduce “staple foods” into your diet.
A traditional Japanese diet consists of rice, miso soup, and okazu, or “side dish.” Staple foods like rice and miso soup take the decision-making out of dinner prep while also eliminating the need to whip up a fancy “entree” meal everyday. Introduce staple foods into your diet so you get your daily nutrients without draining whatever is left of your decision-making abilities.
Making decisions about things that aren’t important to you – even if it only takes a few seconds out of your time – is a drain on your mental energy and can diminish your willpower and well-being in the long run. Eliminate toxic relationships, “drama”, and frivolous purchases from your life. As the author of "Atomic Habits James Clear puts it, “Willpower is one area of life where you can most certainly improve your output by reducing the number of inputs.”