Decision fatigue, simply put, is the idea that people become overwhelmingly weary of making decisions or being in charge for a certain amount of time. Those required, by choice or appointment, to make decisions consistently will eventually face the phenomenon known as decision fatigue. This is a certain hazard that comes with being the boss or managing certain aspects of a company’s operations.
This explains why some of these individuals may be short tempered, more likely to lash out at coworkers and family members, or make irrational decisions. Just a like a quarterback is more likely to throw an ill-advised pass right into coverage in the fourth quarter rather than in the first, a person is not at his or her best at the end of a long day or prolonged period of stress. Decision fatigue is more than just a bad mood or lack of motivation–it is a type of genuine mental and emotional exhaustion.
If you believe that you suffer from decision fatigue, you already recognize that there are times when you are not able to perform at your best. Acknowledgement is the first step to overcoming this obstacle, but you may also consider some of the following in order to avoid this issue as much as possible:
- Schedule important meetings earlier in the day
- Deal with personnel issues only in the mornings when you are mentally alert
- Make sales calls and contact referrals at times when your mental acuity is higher
- Commit to making a daily schedule so that you know what to expect out of every workday
- Take short mental breaks throughout the day
- At the end of the day, leave work-related issues where they belong–at work
Even the wisest people have times where they face decision fatigue. This is not a reflection of your intellect or practical understanding as a businessperson, but rather a signal that your body and mind need a break. Recognize these moments for what they are, and give yourself permission to deal with decision fatigue, or any emotional or mental struggle, appropriately.