How do you know if you are suffering from Decision Fatigue?
My first 30-day Facebook challenge is well underway, just a few more weeks to go. And I have loved it! Getting to know all of you more, dig into issues that matter to you and help you grow the skills to begin to start to pay attention to your thinking. I’ve been observing from clients lately, and from me too really, that a lot of us busyaholics are in a place of “decision fatigue.”
What's decision fatigue anyway?
When you have a lot going on, which for us busyaholics feels like almost always, and you’re not making decisions about things that are on your mind. You’re ruminating over and over about the many different decisions you have to make, yet you may not even be aware of it, or just slightly aware. It might come in the form of a repetitive thought like, "oh no, what am I going to do about the holidays?!" And the energy you’re putting into having unanswered questions on your back burner is tiring you out.
I’m living in France right now and, with the Thanksgiving Day holiday that just passed, I was thinking a lot about “should I throw an International Thanksgiving Holiday party here, or should I not?” This isn't a life-altering big decision, right? But to a busy mind, this represents more clutter, more things to have actively jumping around in our heads.
Are you stressing unnecessarily?
I was stressing over this unnecessarily, and I realized I was thinking this thought over and over, and not answering it, "Do I want to have a holiday party?" When you ask your mind a question it always answers, and the answer was, "I don't know," and that spun me out in confusion and rumination." This was not a super conscious process until I realized how tired I was of asking myself this question all day with no real conclusion.
Did you realize that you are so busy doing that that you don't make time for decisions making, and therefore are plagued by running worrisome inner dialogue that burns your precious energy?
This is what I call background noise. It's the undercurrent of thoughts throughout the day, a buzzing that never quite dies down. This background noise is a habit. And the good news is you can change a habit. That's what we are doing in the 30-day challenge. A thought download a day, and a model a day. It takes about 30-days to break a habit, and or start a new one. Not too bad...
Sometimes, the clearest way to quiet your mind is to schedule the time to make your pending decisions. How to do this:
Specifically put aside time to look at the open decisions on your list. Focus only on those items. And commit to coming out of this time having made a choice. I do this in 4 steps – (1) thought downloads – a big help for getting the noisy thoughts out of your head and onto paper (write for two minutes and get out all those thoughts running wild in your mind), (2) Pros & Cons List and (3) Thought Models and then (4) Choose my decision.
Commit to making a decision.
And here’s the deal, I commit that at the end of the time I’ve put aside I will give myself the gift of making a decision, consciously making a choice. No more tiring myself out by going back and forth.
So try this out.
When you thinking about what you may be stressing about, can you see that you may have been engaging in this kind of background noise decision making fatigue? Can you get more conscious with the choice you have to make, and decide on purpose by using the exercise above?
Let me know how it goes. Tell me what decisions are plaguing you. Come to my next community coaching call and I'll help you through it.