As adults, we make thousands of decisions each and every day. From the mundane, "what will I wear today?" to the more serious, "should I really be spending that money?" our brains certainly get a workout. I was getting frustrated with myself on the way home from work today because I couldn't decide which route I should run, and ended up haphazardly running, and my mind wasn't in it.
What is decision fatigue, you ask? Well, I didn't even know it was a real term until a few years ago when I heard it on a podcast. My dilemma today made me think of the term again and I wanted to explore it a little further and do a little research on how I can stop it from happening. When I am fatigued, I make the wrong decisions... and can often end up regretting them the next day (much like shopping on Amazon after a few too many glasses of wine!).
Think of your willpower like a muscle. The more you use it, the more tired it will become throughout the course of the day. This is exactly why the most successful people do their most important tasks first thing in the morning. Even if that task is planning out your day, by visualizing the day you have in front of you, you will then be less likely to derail. The more tired your willpower becomes, the more your self control goes down.
Here are a few tasks I need to stop derailing from:
- working out
- designing my workbooks
- going to the grocery store
These seems like simple tasks that I should be able to get done in the course of the day. But from the moment I wake up (generally after a 5 am alarm and then resetting for 6 am), I just go - go - go. Getting my son ready for school. Driving to school and then to work. Putting in a 9 hour day. Picking my son up from school, making dinner, bringing him to practice, cleaning up the house..... where's my me time? Oh, that's right. it was in the hour that I snoozed.
By the time it gets to be 8 pm, all I want to do is sit on the couch with a glass of wine. I usually don't - it is currently 8:30 pm as I write this, and I ran a few miles today and went for a 40 minute walk with my dog. But, I am tired and know this post can be better. How could I have avoided this trap of wanting to do better, but not having the willpower to do it?
Oh, that's right - not hit snooze.
My goal for the next month, and I hope you join me, is to get up when my alarm gets off. Get my morning stretching in (I'll wait to run in the morning until it's at least above freezing), plan my day out, and write. If I plan my day, if I can just write down in my planner what I need to get done, I know it will happen. I know that my choices will be different throughout the day, and that when I get home and it's 8:00 pm, I would have already made my choice of the work I need to put in before bed. I will know that this is how I am going to move forward. This is how I will succeed.
Stop the decision fatigue. Make a plan. Execute said plan. Boom!