Several studies have shown that we are capable of only a limited number of good decisions. Being forced to make too many decisions or to acquiesce to the decisions of others can degrade our decision making and ability to control our impulses. Keep that in mind when you consider that we make 35,000 decisions every day.
There’s even a name for this phenomenon: “Decision Fatigue.” Decision Fatigue is “no reflection on the intention, intelligence or effort of the decision-maker, but a simple result of depletion of the brain’s resources. After a barrage of choices, people are simply unable to rationally evaluate the choices at hand,” according to Kate Huley. In other words, we run out of decision fluid and need time to refuel.
Decision Fatigue applies to every aspect of our lives, even politics.
And while Huley states that more consequential decisions deplete our decision fluid more quickly than less impactful ones, every decision takes its toll.
What Can We Do?
All we can do to preserve our ability to make good decisions is to limit the number of decisions we make every day.
In our personal lives, we can adopt a kind of uniform. Both Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs had a uniform of sorts. Einstein reportedly had several identical copies of the same suit, although pictures of him wearing other clothes exist. But Steve Jobs had his uniform designed and wore it religiously. You think of Steve Jobs, you think blue jeans and a dark turtleneck. My “uniform” includes blue jeans and a business casual shirt. Clean shirts go to the right in my closet. I take the next on available from the left. No decision, except when I decide to buy a shirt.
In our business lives, we can set up systems to either delegate decisions or automatically make them. For example, there’s the famous formula to decide when to buy a house to renovate and sell or hold. Mandi organizes the bills as they come in and makes sure they are ready for payment in time to make the due date. You can do the same thing by letting companies auto-draft your bank account—if you trust them not to make a mistake or hit your account right after you’ve paid the mortgage.
The more of your decisions you can systematize, the more decision fluid you’ll have for the ones that matter or are unusual. Just remember to periodically check your systems to make sure they give good results.Hermann says please like and share!