Decision Fatigue: So Many Questions? Too Many Options!

Remember when you were young and the biggest decision you had to make was what you were going to wear on a night out with friends? Ahh…the good ole’ days. I’m guessing many of you can relate to what I’m feeling right now. As a mom of four active kids AND a business owner, my life revolves around decisions. There is constantly a decision waiting to be made. I literally walk in the door sometimes and I’m bombarded by people with the best of intentions who are waiting on ME to make up my mind about something.

Outfit + Living Room Details:

Blush Sweater (similar here, also love this one that’s 60% off), Madewell Jeans, Heart Wall Art (similar here and here), Anthropologie Candle

Things like, what’s for dinner? Whose turn is it to put away the dishes? Where are my shoes (or any other misplaced item)? Then there are things like what time are practice, play dates, launch dates, and social media live times? Some other fun, but still necessary decisions, often fall to me like what flavor will you make for the next Meal Replacement Shake? And guys…those are only a few. By the time dinnertime rolls around, all I want to do is curl up on my couch and not have to think about ANYTHING. My day is filled to the brim with enough decisions that it dawned on me lately: That overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and the inability to make up my mind about the most mundane tasks is really a thing. It’s called Decision Fatigue, and I’m telling you, it’s real.

What is Decision Fatigue (and Analysis Paralysis)

Decision fatigue is the emotional and mental strain that happens when you have too many choices and decisions to make every dang day. It’s the reason rational people buy the junk food or splurge on clothes when they can make more sensible choices. Sometimes, you just want to throw up your hands and choose whatever is easiest and right in front of you.

You guys, it doesn’t stop there. Decision fatigue can lead to this little phenomenon I like to call “analysis paralysis.” Our minds go into overdrive, and we actually FREEZE. We cannot, under any circumstances (okay, I’m sure there are some exceptions), make one more dang decision. Both of these things together are killing our productivity. They can…

  • Decrease mental capacity/ability to make hard decisions
  • Decrease will power
  • Decrease creative thinking

Obviously, none of this sounds good. If you’re at the point of decision fatigue, deciding the best way to combat it seems daunting and impossible. How on earth can us busy mamas make another dang decision? Ok, ok….before you run the other way or choose a solution that won’t benefit you in the long run, have no fear, I’m here to help you out of this funk.

3 Ways to Adjust Your Routine + Combat Decision Fatigue

The funny part about life is that so many things come back to routine, and that includes decision fatigue. It’s why I stress the importance of routine so much. The fewer decisions we have to make every day, the more room our minds have to make the important ones. Instead of feeling so tired, or frustrated, and just overwhelmed to the max, when we can rely on routine to help us make the simple decisions, it frees our thinking capacity to have space, time, and clear thoughts for the big stuff.

Every decision we make—big and small—takes mental energy. And it’s just like when we’re working out: When we use up all our energy, we’re left feeling tired and spent and like we have nothing left to give. But there IS a way to combat this. The most successful people have been found to follow patterns. And here are three tips for how you can adopt a simple routine to help you save mental energy for the big, important stuff.

Limit Your Clothing Options

Have you ever woken up, looked at a closet full of clothes, and said, “I have nothing to wear?” This, my friends, is decision fatigue, and it’s not a great way to kick off your day. Your #outfitoftheday is making you tired.

Did you know Steve Jobs wore the same clothes to work every day? It was one less decision he had to make. It was simple, he made it part of his routine, and he didn’t have to think every morning when he got up what he was going to wear. It cleared his mind for the day ahead so that he could focus on the big picture items and not waste all that mental space debating stripes vs solids.

Now, I’m not asking you to stick to an outfit of black pants and a white t-shirt every day. And, I can hear you now from the photo above, “Heidi you have too many shoes.” You’re not wrong! What I am asking you—and myself—to do is simplify that one piece of your day, even if it’s setting out your clothes before you go to bed each night. That way, once morning comes, you don’t have to give your outfit a second thought. Save that brainpower for the big stuff coming up later in the day (like, what’s for lunch?!).

Schedule Your Workouts

Prior to jumping right into routines, I was guilty of letting my workouts slide the busier I got. As I wrote about when I shared my daily routine, I now make it a scheduled part of my morning. With most things you need to do, but don’t want to think about doing, schedule them!

Write it in your phone or calendar and act like it’s an appointment that can’t be missed. Once you have it in there, it takes the heavy thinking off your plate, and you’re not left trying to figure out when you’ll cram in that hour of physical activity. Another thing: Try and stick to the same schedule so it becomes routine. I like to work out first thing in the morning before the kids are settled at school and before I head into any meetings. I stick to that every single day so I’ve come to expect it, and it takes the stress out of trying to figure out where and when I’ll get it done.

Plan + Prep Your Meals

You know I’m crazy about meal prep. Not only does this hack save you time, money, and sanity in the long run, but it can set you up for success and, again, take some decisions off your plate. Try and pick one day a week to get your grocery shopping done and dedicate an hour or two to meal prep for the week.

Feeling tired already? Here are some quick and easy meal prep tips and recipes to remove some of that fatigue immediately

When your meals are set, you don’t have to worry about figuring out how you’ll stick to your healthy eating plan or when you’ll fit in a meal. Instead, your meals will be planned out and ready for you to grab and go when it’s time to eat!

What’s something in your life that you could incorporate into a routine? Share it in the comments below and let’s celebrate the fact that our days are about to get simplified!


Related reading:

Keeping Life, Workouts, and Routines as Simple as Pie
Fit on a Budget: Does Meal Prepping Save You Money?
Consistency Is Key: How to Make Your Fitness Goals a Reality
Pantry Refresh || How to Organize Your Pantry for Healthy Eating
A Lotta Tabata || 4-Minute Total Body Toning Workouts

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