Just like any muscle in the body, the brain can also get tired.
According to Medical News Today, a human’s ability to make decisions can worsen after making many decisions, as their brain will be more fatigued. This can lead to an emerging phenomenon called decision fatigue, which can cause mental fatigue, increasingly worse decision making, impulse buying, procrastination, decision avoidance, lack of focus, pessimism, and lapses in judgment.
And it could be the reason you find it hard to get stuff done. It’s not your fault. It’s just your brain’s natural defense mechanism.
When the brain becomes depleted, it shuts down non-essential services, including the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain responsible for complex decision-making.
Unfortunately, entrepreneurs can be affected by decision fatigue because they make many decisions throughout the day, feel greatly affected by the decisions they make, and make stressful and complex decisions.
Luckily, there are steps that you can take to alleviate the mental toll of constant decision-making.
7 Steps to Overcoming Decision Fatigue
Find ways to reduce the number of decisions you have to make in a day by simplifying your life and creating habits.
For example, create a minimalistic wardrobe. Food prep or form consistent meal plans. Develop habits, so you no longer have to decide whether or not to do something. You start to do it automatically.
2. Plan Ahead
Plan the night before for the day ahead.
This will limit the number of decisions you’ll need to make during the day. You’ll no longer have to decide if you should do this or that. It’s prewritten. You just need to follow the script. Much easier.
3. Hard First, Easy Second
Tackle the hard stuff first when your brain is the most energized.
Some may find it tempting to take on the easy tasks first in order to ease into the day. But, when you reach the more challenging items, it will be much harder to complete because your brain is already depleted. You’re not doing yourself any favors.
4. Take Breaks
Small breaks energize your mind and make you able to continue working optimally for longer.
These breaks could include a meditation (focus on breathing for a set period of time), a short walk, or even a power nap. You’ll come back energized and ready to conquer the rest of the day!
5. Self-Care Matters
Take care of yourself.
Your brain and physical body function optimally when you are eating right, sleeping well, and not overworking yourself.
6. Don't Go It Alone: Outsource
Reduce the number of decisions you must make by outsourcing them.
For example, hire virtual assistants to cover the simple business decisions or hire extra employees to tackle more complex decisions.
7. Stand Firm
Once a decision is made, stick to it!
You already spent quite a lot of energy making that decision. There’s no need to go back, spend more energy, and change decisions. You’re just increasing your workload and decreasing your mental energy.
It's Start with Your Mindset
Interestingly, it could be beneficial to change your view on how mental energy is used.
A study was conducted comparing Westerners and Indians. The Indian participants believed that exerting willpower was energizing, while the Western participants believed that exerting willpower was draining. The Indians performed better. Therefore, perhaps just changing your mindset regarding the brain’s energy could affect your energy levels.
A world full of decisions can be draining, but luckily there are multiple strategies to help you combat decision fatigue.