How to Manage Decision Fatigue

How to Manage Decision Fatigue


After a long day at work, you somehow wind up in the grocery store, even though you don't recall using the car or walking there. You need to eat because it's almost dinnertime, but there are just too many possibilities. Now that you are clueless about what you need or want, you are mindlessly pacing up and down the aisles. No, there's nothing wrong with you; you're probably just tired and struggling with decision fatigue on top of everything else.

Throughout the day, we make decisions all the time. Making a number of small decisions might be stressful for us even though they may not all be major ones. Let's examine decision fatigue in greater detail, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

Decision fatigue: what is it and what causes it?

Making too many choices all at once

Decision fatigue, to put it simply, is the mental fatigue a person feels after making numerous decisions. It means the more decisions you make, the tougher it becomes to make subsequent decisions. It typically results in one of two outcomes: either you give up and stop making judgements altogether, or you make impulsive or irrational ones.

Or feeling overrun by too many choices

Decision fatigue can develop when you have a lot of options in addition to having to make decisions one after another, according to Dr. R. K Suri, senior Clinical psychologist in Psychowellness Center. Even though people like to have options, having too many options can leave them feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted. For instance, having too many alternatives can cause confusion and discontent in the grocery store, catalogue, or online merchant.

Q. Is there a distinction between indecisiveness and decision fatigue?

Yes, in essence. Indecisiveness can be a character characteristic that develops from a persistent reluctance to make decisions, usually resulting from low self-confidence. Decision fatigue is mental energy depletion that sets in after making a succession of judgements in a fixed time. Decision weariness typically develops after a succession of decisions is taken without any problems, but indecisiveness is typically visible right from the outset.

Someone who constantly avoids making decisions frequently engages in routine procrastination. More specifically, someone who is persistently indecisive frequently fears making the wrong decision. Fearful avoidance is typically at the core of most decision-making challenges for the chronically indecisive person, according to her, even though a person who is habitually indecisive may also have choice fatigue. However, even those who have a tendency to be quite determined might experience decision fatigue. Seek help from the Best psychiatrist in India or Therapists in delhi.

The good news is that both decision fatigue and indecision are treatable. But whereas indecision can take longer and require a lot more work to recover from, decision fatigue can cure itself in a matter of hours to days. 

Q. Is there a relationship between decision fatigue and any specific mental health conditions?

Yes, but keep in mind that anyone can experience decision weariness, regardless of their mental health.

Having said that, those who deal with disorders like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may find it particularly challenging to make choices. For someone who is having trouble getting out of bed or "just making it through the day," a decision that might be simple for someone in good mental health may be agonizingly tough.

What causes this to occur? Mental health issues like melancholy and anxiety can be very mentally taxing and limit one's capacity for sustained attention, which can eventually lead to decision-making fatigue. 4 "Decision fatigue sets in faster than usual in a depressive individual because they are frequently plagued by negative thoughts, have low self-esteem, and lack ambition," the author notes. An anxious person has a propensity to fret about every choice they make; even minor choices can escalate into major problems, leading to decision fatigue. You can search for the Best psychologist delhi.

Common Signs of Decision Fatigue: 

Not sure if you or a loved one is suffering from decision fatigue? The following nine warning signals to watch out for are:

  • Inability to focus or think clearly

  • Frequently putting things off

  • Decision-making duties are avoided

  • Anger and irritability brought on, at least in part, by their own frustration

  • Impulsivity

  • Being overburdened and perhaps even feeling despair

  • Making judgements over a long period of time

  • Physical signs like weariness, restlessness, headaches, and nausea

  • A feeling of unhappiness with any decision that is finally made

Advice and Techniques for Dealing with Decision Fatigue

If you recognise a few of those symptoms, you might be suffering from decision fatigue. We suggest the following coping mechanisms on how to deal with it successfully (and ideally, move past it: 

  • No more than a few (three or four) significant decisions should be made each day.

  • Schedule crucial meetings for the morning and make the majority of your significant decisions in the morning while your mind is relatively fresh. Save lighter decisions for the afternoon. So that you may get a head start the following day and be better prepared, plan your schedule a day in advance.

  • Take frequent breaks from your job to refuel your brain, and plan timely and sufficient meals and snacks, as well as appropriate water, throughout the day.

  • Asking a supportive friend or partner for their opinion on your most challenging decisions might be useful.

  • When faced with too many possibilities, pick one from the final three after whittling your list down to three. Don't second-guess yourself.

  • Avoid second-guessing your final choice; just accept it and go forth.

  • If you get into trouble, make a quick pros-cons list, which can aid in making wise decisions that are unbiased.

  • Set deadlines for yourself and prioritize a list of tasks.

  • Maintaining a regular schedule or framework might help you save time and give your life more consistency. Additionally, it eliminates the need to make decisions about when to wake up, what to eat, and how much to exercise. If necessary, set reminders on your phone. You can take guidance for a schedule from a Online counselling or the Best psychologist in India.

  • Avoid making snap decisions. If necessary, put off decisions rather than taking a course of action that you'll come to regret.

If you're handling decision fatigue, there's a strong likelihood that you're already under a lot of stress. Your mental health can be greatly enhanced by reducing the stress and annoyance brought on by your incapacity to make decisions—beginning with recognising the symptoms of decision fatigue.

Additionally, you may schedule an appointment with the top professional psychologists and receive Mental health counseling at the Psychowellness Centre, which has many locations in Delhi NCR, NOIDA, Faridabad, Janakpuri, Dwarka, and Vasant Vihar.

Contribution: Dr (Prof) R K Suri, Clinical Psychologist, life coach & mentor TalktoAngel & Ms. Varshini Nayyar, Psychologist.