The average person makes about 35,000 decisions per day according to scientific research conducted at Cornell University. One secret to being happy, healthy, and successful is to avoid reaching ‘decision fatigue’, a definition used to describe a deteriorating of good decisions being made as the day progresses and mental fatigue sets in. This paves the way to states of analysis paralysis resulting in decisions being made more impulsively based on what’s quick and easy, and not necessarily the best choice.
Here are 5 ways you can you start avoiding decision fatigue and make better decisions:
• Make your most important decisions first thing in the day. The best decisions are made in the morning. Your mind is clearer and you’re not worn from the day’s activities yet. Here’s an example: In one study, researchers looked at more than 1,100 parole hearing decisions made by judges in the US. What they discovered, was that the most influential factor in whether or not someone was granted parole wasn’t their crime, background, or sentences, but what time their case was heard. “Prisoners who appeared early in the morning received parole about 70 percent of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were paroled less than 10 percent of the time.”
• Create more healthy habits and routine. Decisions that are rooted in habitual pattern use an entirely different portion of the brain and therefore don’t contribute to mental fatigue. Block in more of your time with beneficial habit and it will reduce the number of decisions you have to make so that you can prioritize that part of your mind for important decisions. This is why so many of the most successful business owners in the world (i.e. Steve Jobs) wear the same outfit or suit style every day, And they stick to an organized effective routine. So build more healthy habits! One of the easiest ways to form a new habit is to attach your new action to an existing habit. For example, after I brush my teeth, I do some stretching. After I wake up in the morning, I drink a glass of water. If you can stick to your new habit for a couple of weeks, soon it will become a completely automatic behavior and waste no brain power
• Limit your options: If you have too many options, narrow it down to limited few only. If you are offered ten choices, you cannot make a better decision of choosing one out of ten. The best course is to start eliminating the options one-by-one based on your decision parameters. Only after you are left with three choices, then make your decision.
• Don’t make big ticket decisions,when you are hungry. When you are hungry, your stomach produces the hormone, ghrelin, which decreases impulse control. A study showed that if your blood level lacks glucose (the body’s fuel) due to hunger, you can’t make decisions which are beneficial for long term. Lack of glucose adversely affects your will power and you tend to choose smaller but short term reward. Make important decisions, when your brain has more inventory of glucose as energy. Take a lunch break as both a mental break and a time to refuel. Snack throughout the day on something healthy.
• Excuse yourself from the situations or places that are simply distracting. For example, to avoid getting in the trap of social media, you need to build self-discipline to use it during a specific allocated period only.