In this post, I talked about how the paradox of choice affects your productivity. When presented with a lot of choices, the brain is forced to set parameters to choose the 'right' option. The more the options, the more is the strain on the brain. The inability to handle this leads to decision fatigue.
Here are three proven ways that you can use to ease your decision fatigue.
1. Build steady habits and healthy routines
By developing routines, you are simplifying your life. For example, a minimalistic wardrobe will allow you to mental space to make other valuable decisions in your day. Planning your next day's food well in advance will save you some last-minute crisis. Most of the time, the solution to such a crisis is ordering food—something which hurts both your body and your wallet in the long run.
Routines will be annoying in the beginning but give it some time; it will eliminate stress from your life to a greater extent. By following a routine, you make sure that you don't confuse the slot wherein you were supposed to work on your side-gig or even skipping your daily workout with watching just one more episode of a Netflix series.
It would be best if you aimed to complete the most important and pressing tasks earlier in the morning when your brain is 'fresh.' Strategizing the next business move or completing a HIIT workout, which you hate so much? Done and Done! Use this winning feeling you earned at the start of the day to fuel you through the rest of the day.
2. Prioritize your work and be clear with your intentions
Your to-do list can have 100 line items, and it can oh so easily overwhelm you. But if you focus on one thing at a time, you will be able to strike it off well in time. 'Focus' is the keyword here.
You should set mental timelines for each task before starting them. Envision the end in your head, and you'll find the results to be favorable. Telling yourself that a Monday meeting will not take more than 45 minutes will keep everyone in the room to strictly stick to the agenda.
If you think you are a perfectionist, then even writing a 500 worded article can take 4 hours if you don't time yourself. Also, at the end of it, you can't say for sure that you'd be satisfied with the work. Instead, if you give yourself 1 hour for the same article, you'd know you did a brilliant job given that limited slot. Your version of 'perfect' will be reframed as getting the work done in the stipulated time.
Setting mental timelines work for me. If it also works for you, do let me know in the comments.
3. Break it down and talk it out
You can ease your decision-making process by knowing the goals and deal-breakers for each task that you undertake. For example, when you find yourself improving the quality of the presentation that you're making, it will make sense for you to realize that submitting the presentation before the deadline is of more importance than perfecting it.
Humans are riddled with cognitive biases.
When the uncertainty in the choices is greatest, decision making becomes the toughest.
If you find yourself in a loop of contemplating which choice to make, it always helps to reach out to someone else. You'd be happier if you took a decision based on someone you really trust rather than entirely basing it off your judgment. Conversing with someone will also help you to synthesize the information and concisely align your thoughts according to your priorities. More than that, just talking your thoughts to someone else, who is not in the know of it, will give you a fresher perspective. Next thing you know, you'll have the solution to the paradox of your choices.
Let alone the energy-saving habits of your phone; it is time you start implementing some of these on your self too. It is time to minimize decisions and maximize life.