Don’t Make Important Decisions Late in the Day - Deepstash

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Fatigue influences performance

Fatigue influences performance

Research suggests that we need to think strategically about how the time of day will affect our decisions and performance.

As a day passes, we become increasingly tired and more likely to underperform on work tasks. This suggests that we should tackle tasks that require a great deal of attention and mental energy first and that we should take regular breaks.


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Persistent cognitive fatigue

Ongoing cognitive fatigue results in burnout at work, lower motivation, distractibility, and poor information processing. It also lowers the quality of judgment and decisions, including those of experts.

For instance, scientists found judges were more likely to pass favourable rulings when they felt refreshed, but by lunchtime, the proportion of favourable rulings was close to zero. When the court was back in session, the pattern repeated itself, starting high and ending low.


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The time of day can affect performance

Research found that the time of day affects students' performance in schools. The effect of both time of day and breaks on students' performance on standardized tests were measured. The findings were:

  • The later in the day the test was, the lower student's performance on the test.
  • A 20- to 30-minute break caused an improvement in test scores.
  • Low-performing students were more affected by breaks than high-performing students.


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