Currently, Australians are feeling more stressed than they have ever been before. Longer work hours have turned into longer work weeks and fitting in a family and a personal life around that is becoming increasingly difficult.
One of the biggest influences on this increased stress is the plethora of options and choices that we are now presented with on a daily basis. Production, transport and communications have all seen a huge improvement over the last decade or so and this has meant that we now have access to more products, services and opportunities.
Whilst this is undoubtedly a good thing, learning to cope with all of the different options that these developments present is something that we are still coming to terms with. We can become overwhelmed by the choices presented to us and by midway through our days be victims of something known as decision fatigue – which affects us when it comes to the really big choices we need to make.
The decision detoxification program by HelloFresh outlines that 32% of Australians believe they are making too many decisions in their life. And this statistic becomes even more interesting when you realise that 75% of Australians say that they make less than 60 decisions a day. The reality is that the majority of us will make 70 conscious decisions and over 200 subconscious decisions specifically about food every day.
Decision fatigue can be overcome simply by making positive lifestyle changes that remove the uncertainty from many daily activities. Check out the following advice for streamlining your weekly decisions.
Too often we can spend 10, 15 or even 20 minutes deciding what we are going to wear. At the time it may seem like a worthwhile decision but by the afternoon you may be worn out from all of the decisions you have had to make through the day and it won't have been worth the time spent deciding on an outfit.
Decide on what you are going to wear the night before. Reducing the number of available outfits you have to choose from is also a great idea. For work this is extremely practical as your outfit does not need to be extravagant and outgoing but simply needs to fit the dress code.
There is nothing wrong with wearing a similar outfit every day to work regardless of your gender. If men can wear the same suit and tie to work every day, women can do the same with their corporate attire.
This is where we will feel that the majority of our daily decisions are made. We don't want to waste time making unnecessary decisions or dwelling on various choices that we have available to us. Setting goals and sticking to them is important when we are at work so that we have a direction to move in and don't lose focus. Maximising your productivity and reducing the stress of decisions can be done simply be practising better organisational skills.
Studies have shown that we are most productive in the morning, so this means that it is important to get a good start on your day. Instead of wandering into the office 5 minutes late, get there early and get the important stuff out of the way.
Spread out your tasks across the day so that you have good variety and don't get bogged down by a single task. Those projects that are challenging and require big decisions to be made should be scheduled for your mornings and you should leave the less important things to the end of the day. Breaks should also be pencilled into your schedule as these will help to regulate your energy levels and allow you to think more clearly. Finally, have meaningful activities outside of work. A good work life balance is essential for preventing burnout will aid in your decision making both at the office and at home.
The decisions we make around food are one of the most prominent choices that we make on a day to day basis. Not only is it a regular decision that needs to be made but it is also one that presents us with so many different options, especially in a world of fast and processed food.
Food is often a big daily decision as it not only sustains us but can also be a recreational experience. There are a few ways we can reduce the decisions we make around food and limit experiences of decision fatigue.
The first strategy is to reduce the total number of options that you have available to you. Plan ahead for your meals and give yourself no more than two choices. This can be significantly improved through the working week by packing your lunch instead of eating out. This will help to reduce the total number of decisions made and also limits the time spent deciding what you want at each meal.
The second point is to make glucose your friend. Whilst high consumption of glucose will likely lead to weight gain, having a little bit at crucial points in your day can be really helpful. Studies have shown that having a small snack that is high in glucose prior to making a decision will actually improve your decision-making skills.
You should also try to make sure that you get the vitamins you need to stay healthy. Being sick can make you tired and reduce your decision making capacity, so staying healthy through your diet can help you to be more energetic and alert, and improve your cognitive processes.
Following these steps will help you to reduce the total number of decisions that you need to make each day and ensure that all of the necessary decisions are made when you are performing at your peak. Reducing decision fatigue will ultimately have a positive impact on your wellbeing.