Exhaustion robs us of so many things. The pay off and trade off can be detrimental. Really, it’s no different to that one time I micro-slept on the M4 motorway in Sydney at 1am going 90km p/hr – I’ll save that story for another time.
For me, poor quality and lack of focus is right up there as the gateway to the downhill spiral. Only truly mitigated by – besides more sleep … self awareness (though sleep is critical! regardless of ample sleep, we still have our limitations). We need to know what our baseline capacity is, and where the edges of compromise are.
John Tierney describes decision fatigue as “The deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making.”
I’ve put together 7 ways that I often fall back on to overcome and mitigate decision-making fatigue in business and life. With the clear goal of enabling more purposeful, conscious, quality decisions.
Try implementing these 7 ways:
- Self check where your mental and emotional energy is at
- Simplify down to what’s most critical to your absolute need
- Prioritise that with which is most critical at the start of your day
- Focus on your schedule not on relying on discipline or external motivation
- Plan the night before for the day ahead
- Listen to your body and get adequate sleep
- Stop the negative self-talk if the schedule shifts.
I love this excerpt from John Tierney; a science columnist for The NY Times. His essay is adapted from a book he wrote with Roy F. Baumeister, “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength”:
“Good decision making is not a trait of the person, in the sense that it’s always there,” Baumeister says. “It’s a state that fluctuates.” His studies show that people with the best self-control are the ones who structure their lives so as to conserve willpower. They don’t schedule endless back-to-back meetings. They avoid temptations like all-you-can-eat buffets, and they establish habits that eliminate the mental effort of making choices. Instead of deciding every morning whether or not to force themselves to exercise, they set up regular appointments to work out with a friend. Instead of counting on willpower to remain robust all day, they conserve it so that it’s available for emergencies and important decisions.
“Even the wisest people won’t make good choices when they’re not rested and their glucose is low,” Baumeister points out. That’s why the truly wise don’t restructure the company at 4 p.m. They don’t make major commitments during the cocktail hour. And if a decision must be made late in the day, they know not to do it on an empty stomach. “The best decision makers,” Baumeister says, “are the ones who know when not to trust themselves.”
I’ve had to learn the hard way. The more important the decision, the more space needs to be created. Stop. Have a conversation with yourself. Gather the self awareness, honesty, and more importantly … the kindness to feed information back to your heart and mind. Acknowledge if your day or week involves 1 critical decision or 20 critical decisions. Then, create fertile ground to prepare yourself for that decision-making capacity.
I hope this helps?
If you need some help navigating your way – or if you feel stuck, I’m offering no obligation complimentary 30 min online consults for new clients.
By: Ram Castillo