Decision Fatigue

Decision fatigue [1] is a new term I learned today, and it’s a problem that I’ve unknowingly had. There are way too many options in the world. The internet has created a high level of variety for almost everything.

On Netflix or YouTube, I spend more time browsing options than watching videos. I look at numerous menus on Uber Eats or DoorDash, just to end up getting shawarma. Usually, I end up avoiding decisions, procrastinating what should be a simple choice.

How can I reduce the number of decisions I make?

This was the question I had.

As I reflected on it I realized that most decisions are fluid. They can be reversed. I had decision fatigue because I placed too much significance on decisions. The question I should’ve been asking was:

Are most of the decisions I make significant?

The common answer is no. The decision is trivial, the output would be neutral. If the output was bad, it could be reversed. If I felt I made the wrong choice I can pivot to another option without much consequence.

How can I reduce insignificant decisions?

Even with decisions being fluid, it would be nice to eliminate the ones that didn’t matter. This was a prioritization issue. I wouldn’t need to make so many decisions if my priority was clear.

If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will” - Greg McKeown, Essentialism

This phrase from Essentialism immediately came to mind. In my case however, someone else” happened to be convenience [2].


My takeaway from this is to have a strong sense of priority. After clarifying what is important, I’ll have an idea of what I need to do at any given moment.


[1] Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making.

[2] Convenience in this context refers to how easy something is to choose. The easiest and most gratifying option isn’t the most optimal.

May 19, 2020 · Mental State

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