Decision Fatigue

Decision Fatigue, also known as "ego depletion," refers to our ability to make decisions when we run out of energy or focus.

 Young Woman Contemplating

What is decision fatigue?

 

Decision fatigue occurs when we are unable to make good decisions due to a lack of energy and focus. Researchers tend to view our decision-making ability as a battery. Each decision we make reduces the “charge” on our battery resulting in less energy to weigh out our options in the decision-making process. In fact, decision fatigue often leads to reckless behaviors like compulsive spending or the inability to make a decision at all.

 

What are the symptoms?

 

There are 4 main symptoms of decision fatigue. The main symptoms are:

  • Procrastination

  • Impulsivity

  • Avoidance

  • Indecisiveness

 

Note: Decision fatigue is also closely linked with anxiety

 

What causes decision fatigue?

  • Making too many decisions in a day 

    • e.g. not utilizing a grocery or to-do list​

  • Taking on too much responsibility

  • Not making important decisions in the morning when you have more "brain power"

  • Having too many options (which can cause distress)

  • Not setting deadlines or spacing out decisions

  • Having too many commitments to the point of being overwhelmed

How can I prevent decision fatigue?

 

There are day-to-day things you can do to prevent overload in your decision making. A few of many things you can do include:

  • Make fewer decisions by utilizing a to-do list or grocery list

  • Delegate decisions to others when you can

  • Make big or important decisions in the morning when you have more "brain power"

    • Our brain power depletes throughout the day​

  • Limit options – too many options can cause distress

  • Set deadlines and space out decisions

  • Simplify your life – drop any excess commitments you have in your life

    • Fewer activities or commitments = fewer decisions to make