how to prevent decision fatigue

Make your big decisions in the morning. Your mind is clearer and you’re not worn from the the day’s activities yet. You could also include decision making within your Most Important Tasks (MIT’s) and commit to finishing them first. In Zen Habits, Leo Babauta points out that no matter what else you do for the day, those three MIT’s are what you want done.

  1. Choose the simpler option. What makes you feel less overwhelmed? What’s the easiest thing to do right now? These questions are more for the lesser priority items on your task list then the bigger items. Depending on the complexity of the issue, big decisions will require more time and will require you to think about long and short term goals. But for something more immediate, the path of least resistance is probably the better choice.

Limit your options. If you have too many, narrow it down to three choices.
At McKinsley, the consultants only present three solutions at a time to clients. For instance, instead of providing nine items to choose from, they’ll only present three solutions at a time, then the next three in order to simplify decision making.

So, if you’re at a restaurant and you’re trying to decide what to eat, narrow down to three choices. If you don’t like any of those three move on to the next three, then the next until you decide. Although what I’d do is if I know where we’re eating ahead of time, I’d research the menu choices the night before or during some down time and then mentally bookmark my choices in order to save time.

  1. Go minimalist. This is particularly when it comes to clothes. If you think they’re boring then use accessories as the variable depending on your mood or the season.
    Look at Steve Jobs, Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg - they all wore pretty much the same outfits everyday giving themselves one less decision to think about.

  2. Done is better than perfect. Good enough is good enough. If the task is at 80% for the things not at the top of your list, live with it. Otherwise this perfectionism is nothing more than procrastination. You could always revisit the task at later date.