Every day we make hundreds of decisions and most of those decisions are trivial, like what to wear and where to eat. Unfortunately, studies have shown that there is a finite cap to our ability to constantly make well thought out decisions. This means that the more decisions you make throughout the day, the weaker your decision making process will become – or as many people call it, your “willpower.”
This process is called decision fatigue and describes how an individual’s ability to make quality decisions deteriorates with excessive decision making. For instance, a study describes court judges as making less favorable decisions later in the day than first thing in the morning. This same concept may also lead to consumers making poor choices with their purchases.
The Benefits of Fewer Decisions
Many famously successful people have chosen to pair down their daily decisions by streamlining their wardrobe. The idea is that less time spent on making decisions leads to more brain power for more important topics.
President Obama described his path for control decision fatigue in an article by Michael Lewis for Vanity Fair,
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”
Building Your Own Routine
In an effort to save your mental power for the important decisions take some time to create a routine that will eliminate the mundane decisions you make every day. Here are a few easily implemented routines:
- Meal prep breakfast and/or lunches on Sunday for grab and go meals
- Schedule a regular time to exercise to eliminate excuses
- Simplify your mid-week wardrobe to reduce morning decision making
- Create a morning routine with pre-made decisions
- Plan your schedule before the week starts to avoid last minute decisions