I’ve been a member of the Transformational Leadership Council for the last 12 years. It is a group of innovative and out-of-the-box leaders that meet twice a year from all around the world, and last week we met in Napa Valley, California. I use this time to expand my mind, brainstorm new content for my blog and articles and most of, all learn from the incredible teachers around me.
One of the topics that really got my attention was the idea of “decision fatigue.”
In decision making and social psychology, decision fatigue refers to the exhaustion that sets in when someone is presented with the need to make one decision after another, back to back, over and over again. This can play out in several ways–for example, it can be as simple as going to a grocery store and being confronted with one bad choice for food after another. By the time you are checking out, your willpower becomes weak and you buy that candy on the way out of the check stand (that’s why they have it there!)
It can also be related to a very long day of making many decisions. If you’re making tough calls all day long, the quality of the decisions will drastically diminish by days end. Or it might play out over a very long period of time (weeks, months, or years) where you are confronted with one challenging decision after another. Over an extended period of time, you feel exhausted and drained from having to make so many decisions about so many different issues that it is easy to experience “burnout” as a result.
In running a global organization with an incredible amount of competing demands, this last consideration really rang true for me. I often felt that the serious nature of the ongoing decisions that needed to be made, could create a massive amount of long-term stress for me. One way I combated this stress was to schedule dedicated “mental health days” to reset my mindset and get in a better place.
Decision fatigue is a real condition. What, if anything, do you do to combat this feeling in your life?