Decision Fatigue: Creating a generation of people which is forever tired!
Imagine a long day at work. You reach home, extremely tired, have a glass of water and boom you’re asked to get involved in an intense and serious discussion with your flatmates. How many of us would be up for it.. ?
I hope the count is not much unless the conversation has to happen with everyone boozed up.
You check your smart band and it says: “Buddy, you’ve still got to walk 5000 steps more to finish that daily count.”, implying you didn’t do any severe physical work too. But you feel tired, too devoid of energy and no one knows the reason, why is that?
Decision Fatigue — In simple terms, every single day, we make thousands of decisions. What time shall I put my alarm clock at? Shall I go exercise today or just pass? Shall I Zomato, Swiggy or cook the food myself today? And this one is for ma ladies out there : Whaaaat should I wear todayyy?
So, as humans, our capacity to consistently make well thought out decisions is finite and when we run out of that finite energy, we tend to feel worn out.
There is something common between Elon Musk’s classic Black T-shirt, Mark Zuckerberg’s Grey T-shirt and Steve Jobs signature turtleneck and sneakers, which is — these never change. These people have a lot of decisions to make on daily basis which has a wider impact on society and the world. So, they try to reduce at least one decision of the day by not pondering over what to wear today. Hence, It’s always the same genre of clothes to wear every day.
Now, let’s deep dive a bit about the biological science behind it. A small brain structure called Frontal Lobe plays a key role in the decisions we take each day. When we choose between an apple and a banana, some neurons assign a value to the apple, some neurons assign a value to the banana, and other neurons represent the choice outcome. Taken together, these different groups of cells seem to form a neural circuit that generates decisions.
So basically, no matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t keep on taking decision after decision without paying a biological price for it.
Now, you must be wondering. It’s a real problem. Yes… but duhh, everyone is talking about the problems. (eyerolls bombardment coming straightaway). Where’s the solution? What can I do about it? For this, I have three keypoints to help you combat:
- First and the most obvious one : Cut down! Cut down on needless decision-making by jotting down your top priorities for the day and ensuring you tackle those first. This way, your most important decisions get done when your energy is at its highest. This is one of the major reasons that important meetings in organizations do not happen at 4 pm in the evening. Organise & set up your day so that you have to make the fewest decisions possible.
- Naps : Physical fatigue has a direct correlation with decision fatigue. Some people might simply make worse decisions when tired. Taking rest breaks throughout the day as needed can help you recharge.
- Reducing distractions (#Hashtag everyone is cribbing about it) :
Choosing to look at your cell phone, browsing social media to check that cool video of the famous influencer you follow, or even a glance at the television really drains your willpower and ability to take well thought of decisions. Hence, reducing the time you spend on these distractions can be really helpful.
So, the next time you’re unable to take a decision during the dusk of your biological clock, it is highly likely that you are devoid of your finite brain juice and you definitely need a recharge. ;)