Can you Relate to the Symptoms of Decision Fatigue?
It’s 6AM, you wake up to the sound of your alarm – the sound of which once was a good decision you made, but now regret as you can’t bear to hear it each morning. Do you snooze it… or get up and start your day? Finally, getting out of bed and your struck with the thought, ‘what should I have for breakfast’. A quick decision of toast and honey is made once you realise you are running late and also need to decide what to wear…
The very beginning of a day and only 2-3 minor decisions have been made. The average person makes around 35,000 conscious decisions in a single day. How many decisions have you already made today? Most likely, too many to count.
If decision making is part of your role does this mean you could end up making double the amount of decisions? 70,000 decisions a day? 14 percent of C-suite respondents say they spend more than 70 percent of their time making decisions.
A study was carried out using Chess players. These players make large numbers of decisions in each game, choosing one wrong move could result in losing (the same could be applied in business).
Overall, it was discovered players made “slower and more accurate decisions” in the morning and then hitting a “plateau” in the afternoon, then making quicker and more hazardous decisions in the evening.
It’s 12PM, Starting to feel the ‘plateau’ in the last 10 minutes of your final morning meeting you know it’s important to grab lunch before your next meeting at 1PM. Just before heading out of the meeting you’re asked to make a final decision; you can’t bring yourself to decide knowing you’ve entered the ‘plateau’. The meeting ends - a decision wasn’t made. Not having much time – you consider your options…enough time to grab a sandwich from the shop? No, but you remember you have a granola bar in your drawer and quickly grab it, hoping it will be enough to keep you going…
Not only should you make your most important decisions in the morning but, you should make them before you get hungry. Many studies have shown lack of Glucose can affect cognitive ability.
A study, by Dundee University discovered: making decisions whilst hungry will lead to poorer choices in the future. When making decisions it was found people will take whatever is more rewarding in the short term even if waiting longer for the result will create more benefit.
The less decisions that are made through out a day means the less likely you are to near the end of your day with decision fatigue.
Some of the world’s great decision makers have produced ways to tackle this issue:
- Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same thing to work every day, since it removes their need to make a decision about how they're going to dress.
- Barack Obama is also known to respond to emails using only “Agree”, “disagree” or “discuss” in order to not overload on decisions.
- Tim Ferriss American author and entrepreneur is known to have the same breakfast each day in order to save making a decision.
Like these well-known decision makers, it must always be considered how important each decision is that you’re making and how you are feeling at the time. This will ensure you are always making the best decisions to benefit your business.