From the moment we wake up, we are bombarded with choices, and with the world at our fingertips, our digital devices ensure that we’re plugged in and ready to respond to whatever notifications come our way.
Leaders make critical decisions every day. Effective leaders have to be thoughtful about how much energy they put into each decision. Why? Because with every decision we make, our focus, motivation, and will power starts to decline until we eventually hit what’s known as decision fatigue.
What is decision fatigue?
Decision fatigue is the deterioration of our ability to make sound decisions after a long day of decision-making.
The concept was first coined ‘ego depletion’ by social psychologist Dr. Roy F. Baumeister. Baumeister was studying mental discipline in a series of experiments when he discovered that humans have a finite amount of mental energy available for exerting self-discipline.
When our mental power weakens, everything starts to feel more intense. We become more frustrated, irritated, and impulsive, which ultimately leads to the demise of our ability to make good decisions.
If your job requires you to make many decisions a day, you’re bound to reach your limit eventually. To avoid burnout at work, try protecting your focus, energy, and willpower by implementing the five strategies that follow.
1. Establish a Uniform for Yourself
By simplifying your wardrobe, you’ll have more capacity to tackle complex decisions. Many highly successful people like Barack Obama, Richard Branson, and Mark Zuckerberg maintain a minimalist closet to save brainpower.
Barack Obama explained in a Vanity Fair interview:
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
2. Never Get Hangry
By marinating glucose levels, you’ll keep your brain charged and ready. When you start to feel the 3 o’clock slump settling in, nourish your mind with nutritious, brain-boosting foods like blueberries, dark chocolate, nuts, or green tea.
3. Move Daily
Studies show that exercise can boost memory, enhance concentration, improve mood, spark creativity, and slow cognitive decline. Again, the key is to establish a routine so that you don’t have to think about it. Set a recurring alarm for the same time each day, lace up your shoes, and get moving – no matter what! Don’t know where to start? HERE are a few exercises you can do at work right now.
4. Prioritize Sleep
Sleep helps us think clearly, remember information, and promotes better decision-making. New research suggests that depriving ourselves of sleep can lead to making riskier decisions, without us even realizing it. While sleep requirements vary from person to person, ensure that you’re getting at least 7 – 9 hours each night to boost your performance during the day.
5. Eliminate Distractions
It goes without saying, distraction are everywhere. When it’s time to get down to business, protect your focus by turning off push notifications, silencing your ringer, muting alerts, and blocking access to websites or mail servers for a pre-set length of time. Disconnecting and quieting the noise will give you the space you need to choose wisely.
Is your team exhausted after making decisions all day long? Cenera’s Executive Coaches can support your organization in navigating important choices, streamlining processes, strengthening willpower, and alleviating stress. To get started on a coaching program that will help you beat decision fatigue for good, contact us today!
Never miss an update, click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.