What we call decision fatigue is referring to the psychological problem of someone finding themselves increasingly unable to make decisions on a daily basis.
This may also be if you make ones which are lacking in quality compared to ones which you could otherwise make.
Decision fatigue is being cited as one of the causes of seemingly irrational behavior during decision making and also less favorable decisions.
This same fatigue can be used to discuss poor purchasing choices, with many famous people openly admitting to reducing their day to day outfits and accessories to a minimum, solely to reduce the number of decisions they might need to make each day.
Decision fatigue is ironic in that. People always want and strive for the right and the freedom to make all the decisions they can. But when they find that they can have that freedom, they often don’t want it, or can’t use it, due to the sheer number of decisions which need to be made.
Decision Fatigue and Willpower
Decision fatigue is linked with our conception of willpower – how much we have, and how long it will last. Many people believe that willpower is a finite thing, and it is these people who have shown themselves to be more susceptible to decision fatigue over time.
This was found by dividing research groups into two specific groups based on their views about willpower – one group thought that willpower did not run out, and one did.
The group which thought that willpower was a finite resource were discovered to have much higher levels of decision fatigue than the group which saw willpower as endless, leading to speculation that decision fatigue is intricately linked with our conception of ourselves and our abilities.
If having willpower is linked to decision making, then it makes sense that the people who don’t think willpower is limited will be less prone to decision fatigue.
Do You Suffer from Decision Fatigue?
There are ways to tell if someone (or even yourself) has decision fatigue – if you pay attention to the decisions being made on a regular basis, then it becomes plain to see.
Decision fatigue shows itself in poor decision-making skills, although those decision-making skills can manifest in different ways depending on both the person and the situation at hand.
If you find yourself struggling with any of the below symptoms, you might have decision fatigue and need to reset in order to get back to a position where you can make decisions with ease.
1. Can you resist the snacks and magazines which are available at the checkouts in supermarkets?
These extras are specifically put there because marketers know that shopping is a frustrating and tiring experience. By the end of it, people might just put a sugary snack in their trolley without thinking much about it, because all of their willpower has been sucked out of them by the preceding time spent buying food.
If you find yourself putting snacks and magazines in your trolley, you might have decision fatigue.
2. Have you recently found that you were able to exert yourself for one task, but not for one immediately afterward?
Research has found that some people might find themselves unable to handle a decision-making process if they have found themselves needing to exert their will over something else recently.
3. Do you find yourself paralyzed by decisions in shopping?
Needing to decide between what types of candles to buy, whether plates should have a pattern or be plain, or whether or not they could be different colours? You might end up with decision fatigue if you feel like this at the end of a particularly long shopping trip.
4. Do you find that you can’t will yourself to do certain things?
Research has shown that some people have difficulty with tasks that they would normally be able to handle well if they were not suffering from decision fatigue. If you are having problems with self-control, you could possibly be suffering from decision fatigue.
5. When you are feeling overwhelmed by the choices
Finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the choices which are being offered to you on a single purchase, then you may also be suffering from decision fatigue, as this shows that you can’t handle the many different ideas which can go into one purchase.
How Can Нou Deal with It?
Decision fatigue can be dealt with, and dealt with easily; the way to go is to make daily decisions as easy as possible until you feel more in control.
1. Keep things simple
Try and avoid extra-complicated ideas and options, as this will make your decision much easier, and keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
When looking for clothes, look for the simplest options – the same goes for food and other small decisions that need to be made on a regular basis. Big decisions do need to be weighed out and thought about because they involve lots of potentials, but smaller ones can be kept simple.
2. Go minimalist
Minimalism is often the key to combatting decision fatigue. Minimalism in home décor, clothing, food choices – all of these decisions can be changed and made easier by simply having a set selection to work with, and some additions for when that tiny decision becomes too small.
3. Limit your choices
If you don’t want to go entirely minimalist, make sure that each decision has three choices only, and then work from there. Having three options will still allow you to make a decision (therefore avoiding any frustration with needing to stick to one pre-prescribed idea), but that decision will be much simpler.
4. Make decisions in the morning
Make your decisions in the morning, when you are well-rested and have just had breakfast. This will make sure that your energy levels are at their highest, giving you the best chance of making good decisions.
5. Take away distractions
Distractions and distracting areas can keep you from making the best decisions you can. Try and minimise the distractions which you have to put up with when making decisions, as distractions will only get in your way and make you less able to come to a final decision.
Decision fatigue is definitely a problem, and it is what a lot of people suffer from. Willpower comes into it quite a lot, but there are a lot of factors in it, and more are being discovered every day.
There are more ways to see if you have decision fatigue, and to try and counter it, that are available in this article, but this is a good start for anybody with decision fatigue, especially if they want to counter it and move on.