Decide faster.

Decisions fatigue is a psychological condition that is becoming more acceptable and recognised. The theory say that the more decisions we make the more tired and fatigued we become as a result. It is therefore no surprise that after a long day of work, especially one that is mentally demanding, we come home and  collapse on the couch, unable to do anything.

Throughout an average day we are faced with choices almost all the time. The choice of clothes to wear, the food to eat, what to listen to or read on our commute.

In business we decide on deals, negotiate, we plan and set strategies for long term. We are faced with a lot of options and have to decide and convince others to our side. Research suggest that average adult makes about 35,000 decisions per day. Whilst large number of these are trivial and almost not noticeable they do add up.


The more decisions we make the more likely we are to become fatigued. One can think about our ability to make decisions as a limited resource. Sort of a battery that is fully loaded when we wake up. Energy available to be spent throughout the day.

Decisions' complexity and consequences. Whilst the number of decisions we make is an important factor, the higher strain on our psychological well being comes from complexity of choice and their impact. For example, should I pivot my business in a new direction, do I buy the house that is just outside of my budget, etc.

Procrastiation. Have you ever heard about Parkinson's law that say: "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"? This also applies to the process of making decisions. The more time we have available, the more time we will take to reach the verdict. Procrastinating leads to build up of a psychological baggage that we carry with us. Decide quickly and mindfully and reduce decisions back log.

How to identify decision making fatigue?

Exhaustion, decisions avoidance and decision delaying are common effects of fatigue.


The most common effect is avoiding or putting away decisions. Alternatively we make choices that we may later on regret. One study in a health sector has shown that doctors and nurses were more likely to make more expensive decisions the longer thay have been on their shift.

Impulsive decisions. The more tired we become the more impulsive or emotional we are. This is heavily exploited by various industries out there. One study has found that through careful manipulation of the order in which potential car buyers are presented with choices the car companies can increase their revenues by an average of $2,000 per sale.

How to manage it?

Outsource it. The president of the United States has someone responsible for his wardrobe, household, meal planning, travel schedule and calendar etc. Many high profile business people or celebrities do too. See what you can outsource in your life.

Simplify. Where possible limit your choices. Simplify your wardrobe and plan your meals ahead in bulk.

Make important decisions first. Make these early in the day or early in your schedule. That way we are also more likely to make the right decisions and limit our regrets later on.

Become a planning master. Having planned your day and your activities the night before helps not only structure the day but also takes out the need to decide on the go. One further benefit is that it helps you get into a flow and ultimately results in greated output over time.

Limit distractions. Although not directly related to making decisions, the more distracted we become the longer it can take it decide on anything. Use focus sprints and deep work / study sessions to get things done.

Take breaks. Sleep. A good night sleep can do wonders to our mood and energy levels. Even taking a short nap can go a long way. If none of these are possible, try a walk, short music session, sports activity, whatever you enjoy to simply switch off.

Hope you found above at least a little bit useful. If you like to read more about tips and tricks on productivity please to sign up to my newsletter.

Until next time

M | K