Every day from the moment we wake we make thousands of decisions. From when to get out of bed, to what to wear, when to leave for work and which email to respond to. While hard to measure it is estimated that we make around 35,000 decisions every day, 226 of those in each day according to researchers at Cornell University, are based around food alone.
An Israeli university study followed 1,100 court decisions over the course of a year. Prisoners who appeared early in the day received parole about 70% of the time, while those that came late in the evening had less than 10% chance at landing parole.
Why? Judges, being human, were worn down by a day full of mental work. They had fallen victim to decision fatigue.
All those small and seemingly insignificant decisions we make over the course of a day add up. And the results of fatigue are poor choices, impulse purchases, and irritability (just ask your partner or kids about that one). And as the day progresses our earlier choices and mood affect the quality of our bigger more significant decisions. These more significant decisions are where the real work and progress is made.
So how do we combat decision fatigue? Reduce the number of choices you should make and build these habits into your routine.
- Simplify the morning by having the same breakfast each day;
- Make only important decisions before lunch;
- outsource simpler tasks to a (virtual) assistant;
Or take a cue from some very successful business people, such as President Barack Obama who while in office only wore gray or blue suits. Or Mark Zuckerberg who wears the same outfit every single day: a gray t-shirt, jeans, and a hoodie. Obama not only kept his wardrobe minimal he simplified and limited his low-priority email to one of three responses: Agree, Disagree, or Discuss.
By reducing the non-critical decisions, you save your energy for the big stuff. As Joshua Fields Millburn from The Minimalists says “we all have the same 24 hours in a day, the only real difference lies within the decisions we make and the actions we take”.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by decisions, out of balance, an over-scheduled agenda or never-ending to-do list contact sorted.by Melissa. I can help you find more space, focus and time to do the things you love.
I want to help you live a more organized life. Let’s get you sorted.