What is Decision Fatigue? (And How to Avoid Bad Choices) - Deepstash



Deepstash brings you key ideas from the most inspiring articles like this one:

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

What is Decision Fatigue? (And How to Avoid Bad Choices)



What is Decision Fatigue? (And How to Avoid Bad Choices)
Imagine you are at the end of a hard exercise routine and you can hardly push your body to do any more work.Your muscles are suffering from fatigue, and you are ready to give up.


Key Ideas

Save all ideas

Decision Fatigue

Decision Fatigue

Is the decline in the quality of decisions that are made by a person after many decisions have been made in a row.

 Just like your muscles tiring out after a long cardio workout, your brain is also a muscle that becomes exhausted. 




Decision Fatigue in Your Life

It explains why you may start to look for shortcuts in your decision making throughout the day. You may even decide to give up and do nothing when you are faced with a decision.

Having a routine limits the number of decisions you have to make each day, which increases your odds of doing the right thing.



Recover from Decision Fatigue

  • Make your most important decisions in the morning.
  • For the lower priority things, go for the simpler option.
  • For daily decisions, plan them the night before.
  • Don’t make any decisions when you’re hungry.
  • Limit and simplify your choices: where and what to eat, what to wear, etc.
  • Aim for “good enough” instead of perfection.
  • Don’t make decisions in places that are full of distractions.
  • Focus on making decisions for items on your to-do list only.




Default options

Deciding is too much effort so we’re likely to just stick with the default or safer option if it’s already been chosen for us. 

When we get offered too many choices, the same...

Best decision making happens in the morning

This is when serotonin is at it’s natural high, which helps to calm our brain. Thus, we feel less risk averse and so we can face risks and make harder choices.

The part our bodies play in decision-making

If we’re feeling hunger, thirst or sexual desire, that can actually spill over into the decision areas of our brains, making us feel more desire for big rewards when we make choices. 

This can lead us to make higher-risk choices and to want for more.

one more idea

2,000 decisions per waking hour

Research has shown that the typical person makes about 2,000 decisions every waking hour. Most are minor ones and we make them automatically. But many have serious consequences.

That's why...

Decision fatigue

Our ability to perform mental tasks and make decisions wears thin when it’s repeatedly used.

Identify the most important decisions you need to make, and, as often as possible, prioritize your time so that you make them when your energy levels are highest.

A steady state of distraction

Our brains process five times as much information today as in 1986. Thus, many of us live in a continuous state of distraction and struggle to focus. 

To counter this, find time each day to unplug and step back from email, social media and news.

Milton Friedman

"The best measure of quality thinking is your ability to accurately predict the consequences of your ideas a..."

Milton Friedman

Think in Years, Not Days

Before jumping to a conclusion, think about the long-term consequences of your decision.

We may respect those able to fling themselves into a hard problem and make a quick choice with seemingly little thought, but making a meaningful decision needs to be done with care for the long-term effects.

Understand Decision Fatigue

It’s important to be aware of what state of mind you’re in before tackling a hard choice.

Decision fatigue happens when the mental energy required to weigh the tradeoffs of our decision becomes too much for us to handle.