Have you ever had a moment where you were so exhausted you couldn’t make a decision? You know, to the point where you have all the information in front of you and still can’t decide what you want? You’re asked whether you want to eat sushi or steak, and you simply look at the person with a blank stare and can’t provide an answer. Ever experienced analysis paralysis? Well, this is what we call decision fatigue and it is something that we experience ever day.
It is said that our unconscious mind can process up to 30 million bits of information at a given time, but only 2,000 bits are utilized and make us aware of around surroundings. Of those 2,000, only 7 bits plus or minus 2 reach our conscious awareness. According to multiple sources of the Internet, the average amount of remotely conscious decisions an adult makes each day equals about 35,000. From what to eat or what to wear to whether or not you should reply to an email. When you decide to reply to that email, then you just sit there thinking about what to say. There are so many indecisions – big and small; should I start with this or that? Do I want water or soda? You get the picture.
There are those days when you just feel completely burnt out, and once you get home, you have absolutely no desire to do anything besides loaf out in front of your television. Instead of being productive, you fall asleep right then and there. That’s because your brain is exhausted, and you are experiencing decision fatigue at its peak. Now that you have an idea of what decision fatigue is, and you’ve brought decision fatigue to your conscious awareness – you are about to proactively wage war against what’s been holding you back.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, claims that he tries to make as little decisions as possible so that he can expend energy he’d rather use on making tough choices for his company that is being used daily by billions of users.
“I really want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible, other than how to best serve this community.”
This was Mark Zuckerberg’s response when asked why he wears the same style t-shirt every day. He is clearing himself up from decision fatigue – leave the decision-making to the bigger fish. He is not the first person to wear a uniform, though. Steve Jobs created his famous trademark look with his black turtleneck to create the identity of Apple today. But there are many things you can do to preserve your energy for making decisions. Here are seven tips you can apply to your life to increase your work endurance.
- Make your big decisions in the morning. In the morning, you have the most energy to give towards the important decisions. Your mind is clear and combined with Rule # 4, you will be able to prioritize what you have that is important and put your energy on finishing them first. Everyday you should make at least three big decisions that would further you in life. As long as you focus on those in the morning, you are on your way to where you want to go.
- Pick your top three. When making a decision, you should also have options. Through experience, I have found that three is the perfect number of options to have. When an issue arises and you are forced to make a decision, decide on the top three solutions – go for the option that is best for you. Remember to always decide fast and change slow. The more time you spend making a decision, the more fatigue you experience from it.
- Have a Minimalistic Life. By simplifying everything in your life, you will end up creating a routine. The more minimal your life is the less obstacles you will run into. By trimming the excess fat from your life and sticking to the bare essentials, you will then come across things in habit. So, immediately, you will know how to handle them. This leaves your energy to focus on the decisions that don’t come your way every day. Therefore, you are now able to focus on decisions such as who you should hire or what direction you should take your business.
- Rule of Five. Every night you should make a list of the five most important tasks that need to be done the next day. That way, when you wake up, you know what the most important thing to get done is. By applying Rule # 1, you can focus your energy in order on the important tasks at hand. If you keep this up every day for a full year, you will have done more than 1,500 important decisions yearly. If that pushes you to your goal, then you are one step closer to retirement.
- Go Cold Turkey. You really need to stop browsing random web pages, social media sites like Facebook, and stop swiping left or right on Tinder. These micro decisions really add up and take a toll on you. When on these social media applications you make micro decisions like which pictures or posts to read, comment, and like or dislike. These micro decisions add up and take a toll on the ability to make a solid decision for the things that matter.
- Keep it Super Simple. Remember simplicity is your best friend. The more simple it is, the less time you need to focus on it. The more complicated something is the more energy you put into it. By creating a systematic simple routine, you make a process streamline and automatic instead of making a decision every step of the way.
- Delegate. This is a lifesaver. I am a huge advocate of delegation. You may think that it requires energy to delegate but in reality you just group tasks for certain virtual assistants. When a problem arises, I empower my virtual assistants (and property managers) to present me with their top three solutions, their ideal choice decision from the three, and an explanation as to how they reached this solution. This way I empower them to make decisions for me and I can use less energy on making it myself.
You only have so much energy a day. When you’re going to the gym, you’re making decisions about your exercises. If you’re playing sports, you’re deciding on whether to pass or shoot. You’re out at a club, and you’re deciding on whether or not to introduce yourself to new people. If you waste your energy on decisions that aren’t important, the big ones that come around will be too much to handle. You don’t want to look back and kick yourself because you made the wrong decision in the wrong state of mind. So, now is the time to simplify your life, delegate the minor, and focus on the major. Congratulations! You are now one step closer to being the best you possible.