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Less Is More: Decision Fatigue

Less Is More: Decision Fatigue

Bart and I have finally found a house! We couldn’t be happier and excited, but I can’t deny that it has been overwhelming. Of course, I am fully aware that renovation and moving are stressful, but it has made me all the more aware of the number of decisions modern day life demands us to make. It never occurred to me for instance that we would have to choose a color for the front door. Who thinks about these things? Well, not me anyways. I realise that all of these decisions are first world problems. However, decision fatigue really is (becoming) a problem in our part of the world. That is why today I will focus on decision fatigue and what we can do to minimise the strain it lays on us.  

Less is More

More choice is not always better. While indeed more choice theoretically makes it more likely that there is at least one variant that you would like. However, too much choice actually makes that we end up not choosing one at all. It can end up producing “choice paralysis”.

Even worse, too much choice also reduces the satisfaction of the choice made. Every new option subtracts a little from the feeling of well-being. I can totally relate to this for sure. Trying to decide on a light grey paint was pure horror. There seriously is an overkill in light grey colours and it is making me doubt everything color we have considered. Including the one currently applied by the painter.

For those of us who are driven by efficiency, less for sure is also more. The more options there are, the more time and effort it takes to determine all the costs and benefits and weigh the different options. If the anxiety caused by the overload of options wasn’t enough, the inefficiency paired will only make the situation worse.

Tips and tricks

During a day we already have so many decisions to make. With decision making draining our mental energy reserves, a lot could be said for trying to reduce the number of decisions to make. A couple of tips of tricks to take the heat off our mental energy reserves:

  • Eliminate decision making on what to do next by scheduling and creating routines. For instance, planning dedicated times for your mailbox or analysis.

  • Use your energy wisely by starting with prioritisation and determining which choices are important enough to lose your valuable decision-making energy on. It sounds counterintuitive to decide on even more, but in fact you will end up spending your energy only on the things that actually matter to you without depleting your reserves.

  • Like Steve Jobs you could eliminate certain decisions on what to wear for instance. The same goes for what you want to eat and drink. I must admit that none of these are viable options for me, “unfortunately” I care way too much.

  • Set a timer for making certain decisions. Spare your reserves by responsibly using your mental energy. Deadlines always work like a charm to get things done, so if it isn’t to save your mental energy from yourself then at least do it to get more stuff done.

What is you take on decision fatigue? Are you a less is more kind of person or a maximalist when it comes to options? Let us know in the comment section below!

Goals I am not planning to achieve

Goals I am not planning to achieve