Have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the decisions you have to make?
Like, if you have to make one more unexpected decision, you’re just going to walk into your living room and fall face-first onto the couch for the rest of the night.
And if you are building a home or doing a renovation (or any big project, really) then getting done with work is only half the battle.
You still have a lot to do and potentially some big decisions to make.
Being a project manager in multiple industries, including construction, I’ve seen firsthand all the decisions that go into a project. And it can be overwhelming and stressful. And sometimes put off for far too long.
So what’s happening, and what can you do?
Your Hardest Working Muscle
If you’ve ever felt this fatigued by all this, there’s a real reason.
Well, 35,000 reasons.
That’s the number of decisions you make daily, on average.
And it starts right when you wake up: what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, and which side of the bed to get up on, just for starters.
Minor or not, these all add up and lead to exhaustion and loss of willpower.
And as your willpower decreases, your potential to make an ill-advised decision increases. At the very least you will lack motivation and care in the decision you face.
You are experiencing decision fatigue.
Think of your willpower as a muscle, and every time you make a decision, you’re taking a little more out of it.
And when it’s time to make a big decision, we often care less than we should, put it off for another day, or even make a terrible decision…
So what can you do to keep some willpower left in the tank for later?
How can you avoid decision fatigue?
Below, we will go through some ways to avoid decision fatigue so you can be on your A-game when you need to be.
1. Start Planning for Your Day Before You Go to Bed
The best time to prep for the next day is the night before.
Take a little time so you can set tomorrow up for success. Take some easy things, for example:
- Set your clothes out the night before.
- Plan your breakfast.
- Plan your morning routine (if you have one).
Think of anything small that you can plan out quickly the night before, and you will avoid needing to make those decisions the next day.
I take ten minutes to plan out as much of my day as I can on a project management app, Trello (think of it as a to-do list that OD’d on caffeine.)
So not only do I have at least my first few tasks outlined the night before, but I also have my morning routine to relieve me of any decisions (as you’ll see below).
So I can hop out of bed, put on my clothes, make breakfast, and sit down to work on task numero uno. No decisions needed.
2. Big Decisions? Schedule Them Strategically
As you know, your willpower wears out throughout the day. So focus on the most important decisions early if you can.
It could help you avoid an ill-advised decision.
Can’t make a decision right away in the morning?
At least take some time to eat first.
Studies have shown that it’s best to make a decision right in the morning or soon after a meal.
Much like our muscles after a workout, our willpower needs to be replenished, so play to that timing.
3. Give Some Decisions Away
If you have a massive project, delegate or split some decisions, so they don’t all fall on you.
If you are working a large project with a team, spread the responsibilities around. If you’re building a home, maybe you want to focus on the kitchen, while another member of your family focuses on the living room.
Be creative. Divvy up the workload to prevent yourself from overworking and burning out.
4. Limit Your Options
Have you ever had a choice to make but there were just so many options you couldn’t decide? So you walked away?
People walk away more from decisions when given over three options, because it can be overwhelming.
What does that mean for you? As you’re pouring through decisions, try to limit the number of options you have to make it easier on yourself.
5. Schedule Your Decisions
With any large project like a home build or remodel, you likely have hundreds of choices to make.
Space them out to help yourself out.
If you space out the decisions not only do you have a deadline to hold yourself to, but you avoid getting burned out by the decision-making process.
So put them in your calendar and stick to it.
6. Simplify Your Life
If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a hard look at what you can eliminate.
Even if it’s just short term, if you’re working on something that is taking up more of your time, maybe you have to drop a commitment or two until things get back to normal.
Sometimes life is about prioritizing the important things, and sometimes it’s best to shuffle things around or put them on hold.
Reducing the number of inputs will reduce the number of outputs and will save your willpower for what’s needed.
And if it’s only temporary, you can always jump back in when your schedule lightens up.
7. Stop Second Guessing
Once you decide, go forward and don’t dwell on it anymore.
Constantly second-guessing, regretting, or pondering a decision you’ve made only forces you to dwell on that decision more.
So you can move on and focus on the next important thing, start to get into the mindset that once it’s made – it’s made.
8. Even Your Most Powerful Muscle Needs a Break
Research shows that, on top of the 35,000 decisions we make in a day, we have 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts.
Put another way – our brain could probably use a break.
Do calming exercises, shut your eyes and let your brain wander a couple of times a day, or schedule some time to meditate.
Your brain will thank you and may just be recharged enough to finish your day the right way
9. Use Your Brain’s Automation Tool
Have you ever gotten home from work, and you don’t even remember the drive?
That’s your brain eliminating the need to think deeply about something you do every day, or creating a habit. Habit is your brain’s automation tool.
For example, I have a morning routine, I then make breakfast and sit down every morning at 7AM and write for an hour.
So my morning from 5 AM – 8 AM is almost exclusively habit.
Then add in that I already prepped for my day the night before, and I could have my next couple of tasks aligned too.
Is there anything in your life you can automate?
Make the Decision to Avoid Decision Fatigue
You can keep going on like this – getting home from work with a ton to do, but so exhausted you can’t put in the effort needed on important decisions.
Or you can reverse course.
You can make sure you’re set up for success every day because you’ve implemented some advice above.
And by doing so, you’ve given your mind a rest, replenished your willpower, and you come to any crossroads with a clear head to make the right decisions when they’re needed.
These changes will benefit any project you’re working on, but they will also benefit your mental and physical health as you move forward.
So take action today to avoid decision fatigue and mental exhaustion so you can make the right decisions later.
H-1 Construction is consistently recognized as one of Hawaii’s best custom home builders, and we are here to help – whether working on your new home, renovation, or just helping you make the right decisions.
If you would like more information or a free consultation, you can visit our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.