05/24/2016

Decision Fatigue: The Struggle is Real

How to reduce decision fatigue

Good morning!

Wow, is anyone else feeling like summer craziness has already set in? I definitely do. The first wedding of the season has already happened, it’s report month at work, but I’m super excited because my next adventure is on the horizon: Memorial Day in Lexington!

One thing that has been on my mind is: how do I balance this busy season while making sure that I’m taking care of myself, i.e. not letting things like meditation/prayer, exercise, nutrition, and day to day chores fall to the wayside – especially when I’m feeling stressed out and depleted? I’ll be honest, when I wake up in the morning, I feel anxious right off the bat. For example, even if I’ve picked what workout I’m doing in the morning, something always happens – I sleep through the alarm, I have to go around my roommate’s bathroom schedule, I’ve tweaked a muscle and might have to change the workout that day… the list goes on. I know these sound like excuses, but really, it just seems like there’s simply too many decisions I have to make before my day has even begun.

I’ve heard before that our willpower is at its greatest in the morning and wanes as the day goes on – this is why taking one step towards your goals in the morning is so key, you’re more like to actually do it. But could it be that the reason that this is true is because in the morning you make the decision, get it done, and then don’t have to think about it anymore? Versus if you put it off until the evening, now your mind is constantly going back and forth all day, trying to decide if you’re actually going to get it done – or if you even CAN get it done (’cause #LifeHappens).

James Clear explained what I have been experiencing perfectly:

Decision fatigue happens every day in your life as well. If you have a particularly decision-heavy day at work, then you come home feeling drained. You might want to go to the gym and workout, but your brain would rather default to the easy decision: sit on the couch. That’s decision fatigue.

Here are some ways I am going to try to help myself out this upcoming month:

  1. Pick out my outfits and/or pack my gym bag the night before.

    This is a big one that I have been lax on lately. There’s a reason Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg basically wear the same clothes every day: we have to make enough decisions every day, what we’re wearing shouldn’t be one of them. As a woman, it is that much more stressful to pick out an outfit I feel good in and actually want to wear. Sometimes if I pick out an outfit the night before, my mood changes and I don’t want to wear it anymore. Which leads me to…

  2. Create a capsule wardrobe.

    After completing the KonMari project, my closet definitely has the kind of open space I could only dream about. But I haven’t quite replenished some staple items as quickly as I had hoped. Shopping has never been something I particularly enjoy (unless it’s a social outing with friends), so I began planning a capsule wardrobe, beginning with a capsule wardrobe for work (since you know, I basically live in my office).

  3. Continue to meal plan and prep on the weekends.

    I generally eat pretty well, but in light of my decision overload and recent migraines, I’ve decided to hire a nutritionist to help me take a fresh look at how I am planning and prepping my meals. I keep track of my nutrient levels and macros to help mitigate migraines. Even though I’d like to think I can do it all (plan workouts, plan meals, track macros, etc), I have to remind myself: there is a reason we pay people to do this. It takes the guesswork out of it for me, and I am excited to see how it pans out.

  4. Keep my workout schedule simple.

    Every Tone It Up girl knows, there’s always infinite workouts to be done each day. My goal is to stick to one or two a day and keep it that way, despite wanting to “do it all.”

  5. Stop deciding and start scheduling.

    If there’s something I need to decide on, I will either schedule time to make the decision, or schedule the next step in moving towards whatever it is I need to do. Make the appointment, phone call, or send the email that will take me to the next step. I have found an amazingly simple cleaning schedule I’ve started to implement from CleaningMama. It helps keep me on track. When will I clean the bathroom?  I don’t have to think about it: Mondays because that’s just what I do now. I’m also in the process of scheduling my workouts and setting a routine (i.e. Resistance MWF, Cardio TThSa, Yoga errday).

  6. Do the most important tasks first.

    This is more important at work for me than at home, but sometimes it translates to the domestic sphere too. If there’s something I really don’t want to do, I do it first.

And there you have it, my plan moving forward. What I don’t want is a checklist of things to get done every day. I want to enjoy the mundane tasks of life with a quiet attitude of gratitude. I believe that streamlining some of the decisions I have to make in a day will help me to remember to appreciate the ordinary.

What about you, do you experience decision fatigue? Do you have set routines that help you glide through your day? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas or what has worked for you. Comment below!

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