We make a lot of decisions every day. What to eat for breakfast, when to leave for work, coffee or tea, what to wear—and these are just a handful of the decisions we make before heading out to work.
As it turns out, each of these decisions takes a bit of a toll. Every time you make a choice, it depletes your willpower a little. If you’re making big life or work decisions, it uses up your decision-making ability even quicker. That’s part of why it’s so easy to go with the quick dinner choice instead of cooking up something fresh.
Don’t worry, all hope is not lost for later in the day. There are steps you can take to limit your decision fatigue come the evening, helping you make effective choices—all. day. long.
How to beat decision fatigue
Make early morning decisions the night before
A good way to cut back on the countless minute decisions you make every day: Prep for the day ahead before going to bed. Pull out the outfit you’ll wear tomorrow. Figure out what you’ll have for breakfast (and maybe even lunch). Plan out a to-do list for the next day. If there’s a minor decision you can make the night before, do it. You don’t need to be at full decision-making capacity for these things.
Reduce the overall number of decisions you make
You know that to-do list you made the night before? Use it. You’ll know everything you need to do and the order you need to do it in. That means you won’t actually be making any decisions.
Let your friends, family, and co-workers decide where you go to lunch if you don’t have a preference. If you work from home, pick a consistent place to work. Then, you won’t have to worry about which coffee shop to go to—you’ll already know.
Rely on a daily routine
This will help you reduce the number of decisions you make. Eating, brushing your teeth, and getting dressed in the same order will help you form a morning habit you can count on. Get up when your alarm goes off without debating whether or not to hit snooze. By relying on a morning routine, you save your willpower for the moments when you need it.
Make important decisions in the morning (or at least eat first)
Each decision you make uses up a bit of your reserve, so, when it comes to big decisions, you should make them as early in the day as possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re making a big budget decision for work, deciding to move, or committing to go on that month-long trip abroad, make the final decision in the morning.
No way around deciding something important in the afternoon or evening? At the very least, take a few moments to eat first. This will provide short-term relief from the day’s decision fatigue.
Now, you can go forth knowing the decisions you’re making aren’t the result of decision fatigue.