From the moment you wake up, you are faced with decisions—what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, what task to accomplish first. While it’s easy to make certain kinds of decisions, other decisions require significant amounts of brainpower. The more complex the decisions you must make, the faster your energy level will deplete.
Decision fatigue, according to Medical News Today, is a psychological phenomenon surrounding a person’s ability or capacity to make decisions. Each decision you make reduces your energy, leaving you with less energy to make decisions later in the day.

Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce decision fatigue, according to consultant and speaker Marlene Chism. We share her hacks to avoid feeling worn down by making too many decisions in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Begin with intention. When you must make a difficult decision, start from intention. Chism says that an intention is not just about outcome but also about purpose and journey. It’s a goal with a soul, she says. While you may have a goal to improve a sales rep’s performance, your intention is to improve performance, discover any obstacles, and guide the employee in the right direction. The best intentions involve more than a productivity or financial outcome.

Embrace the truth. Before you can make a decision, you must first admit the truth of the situation. For example, if you are carrying an extra 50 pounds but you avoid the scale, it doesn’t change the fact that you should still lose weight. You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge, Chism points out. When working with your team, you need two points of reference—the intention and the truth—to make the right decisions.

Create constraints. Remember that you have a finite amount of energy to allot to decision-making. If you waste your time scanning dozens of drink choices at the coffee shop and then perusing a menu at lunch, you’re setting yourself up for mental fatigue later in the day. Chism recommends creating time constraints so you’re not faced with limitless options on how to use your time. For example, if you need to work on sales reports, set the timer for an hour and work for the allotted time. According to Chism, when you repeat this day after day, you have created a constraint that includes a time of day and an amount of time, and you’ll be amazed at your focus.

Be okay being uncomfortable. Your habits might make you feel distracted, overwhelmed or frustrated, and your body has grown accustomed to these feelings. Chism says that humans have become addicted to the chemicals of adrenaline, cortisol, and the various hormones that contribute to feelings of anger, frustration, irritation and impatience. To help reduce decision fatigue, embrace discomfort. It won’t be easy fixing a habit that might not be serving you well. Rather than giving into a distraction instead of focusing on a project, give up your need for comfort. Decision-making will be so much easier.

Making decision after decision is a surefire way to sap your energy. Don’t let a mountain of small decisions impact your ability to think through the bigger ones. You can conserve your decision-making brainpower by following the quick hacks above.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Marlene Chism is a consultant, international speaker and the author of Stop Workplace Drama.