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What Is Decision Fatigue and How You Can Prevent It

I recently watched a video from YouTuber bestdressed about her experience in trying a capsule wardrobe in London. In the video, she discusses how having such a limited selection of clothes lessened her chances of undergoing decision fatigue. I had never heard the term “decision fatigue” before, and I wanted to research it further. After all, just the word “fatigue” itself sounds unpleasant and is something I want to avoid, so I was intrigued by the term.

I learned that decision fatigue refers to the phenomenon where the quality of someone’s decision lessens after they are prompted to make a string of several decisions, no matter how small. In fact, throughout the day, the brain becomes increasingly overwhelmed and exhausted by the choices that it has to make, and so it starts to put forth less effort in such choices. Thus, one’s decisions become worse and worse.

This means that the more decisions one has to make, the faster the brain becomes clouded by decision fatigue. According to Psychology Today, humans make about 35,000 decisions a day, so no wonder the brain is tired. I have almost always been a rather indecisive person, but I wonder if it is because I have been making too many unnecessary decisions that are prematurely tiring my brain out during the day. I want to try and avoid indecision as well as poor decisions. I have been attempting to implement some steps in my routine that can help prevent decision fatigue. They assist me in making more sound and reasonable choices.

First, I have found that planning is my best friend. Planning ahead of time takes some pressure off of the brain. For example, I always try to plan my outfits the night before because then I am not scrambling and trying on a million different clothes on in the morning. Not only does it save time, but it keeps the stress off of me after I have just woken up.

Additionally, planning can apply to other areas such as meals. This can be tricky based on cravings and appetite, but planning what to eat can take some decision out of the day. I have never been a meal prepper, but it can be an efficient option. My strategy is to consider how much time I have and then use that to plan to cook certain meals on specific days. Maybe this means cereal rather than eggs and toast for breakfast, but at least I know what I will be eating beforehand rather than deciding in the moment. In fact, a cooking schedule has become part of my routine and in general, having a daily routine is so essential when it comes to avoiding decision fatigue. The stability of a daily routine means that fewer choices need to be made.

Scheduling myself to complete tasks and giving myself a deadline not only keeps me productive and accountable, but it keeps me from questioning what I should be doing next. I cannot deny that spontaneity is of course going to occur, and that is okay. However, overall, it is good to have a plan and to stick to it.

Lastly, it is important to note that naturally, choices in the morning are going to have more rational thought than those in the evening. Try to make those more critical decisions in the beginning of the day to ensure a clearer thought process that has not been bogged down by decision fatigue.

Making these improvements toward avoiding decision fatigue not only helps in making more sound choices, but it can enhance life overall! Establishing a routine and implementing these recommended steps into that routine can make each day better. Try them out and see what works!

Emily is a UCLA graduate with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Musicology. She is a huge skincare enthusiast as well as a fashion and makeup lover who likes to experiment with her style. When she has some free time, she can be found obsessing over music and musicians, painting or going outside to enjoy the sun.
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