We’ve all experienced it. Whether we realize it or not. Whether we believe it is a real thing or not.
Decision fatigue basically means that you are too mentally fatigued from attempting to make a decision to make a decision.
It happens when you are:
- Have too many options to choose from
- Don’t know what you want
- Spend too much time focusing on making the decision
I recently experienced decision fatigue when creating the new logo for Learning Lotuses.
I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted. I spent hours and hours playing around with fonts, taglines, and logo images. I asked for help from my blogging support groups, which was very helpful because it pointed me in the right direction, but it also led to creating more logo options to choose from.
Then I received some advice from a big-time blogger, which led to even more logo options. So I created a few more and asked my blogging support groups again what they thought.
And they all liked the one that I liked, but it wasn’t my favorite.
Nobody else was sold on the on that spoke to me the most.
So then I was left with another dilemma. Do I choose the logo that I LOVE, or the one that everyone else loves and says resonates with them the most (which likely will meant that potential followers will love as well)?
In experiencing decision fatigue, I got to thinking about decision fatigue.
Where does it come from?
And how does it impact our kids, particularly in their education?
It isn’t often we ask our kids what they want, or allow they to make their own decisions. Not until they are older at least, but we haven’t taught them how to make a decision because, up until that point, every decision has been made for them.
When they are toddlers, we might say things like “What book do you want to read?” and they will go get a book.
But then they go to school, where everything is already decided for them. Their class schedule, what they will learn, who they will sit beside in class, the rules of the classroom.
Now, I’m not suggesting that there be no rules of the classroom. But how about, before setting the rules, ask the kids what they think the rules should be? Set aside some time on the first day of class to have a discussion about rules and behaviours. Ask the kids what they think. Include them, make them feel as though they are a vital member of the group/classroom.
This will help students to think critically, while also helping them to develop inter- and intra-personal skills, such as empathy and self-regulation. Basically, doing small activities where students get to help with the decision-making will help them to develop a growth mindset.
Another option to help kids with decision-making is to include flexible seating options in the classroom. Flexible seating options will allow students to try each option and determine what works for them and what doesn’t, helping them to understand how they learn best.
It isn’t until students enter high school that they get to play a role in making decisions. In most high schools, students in the higher grade get to choose class options that will help them to get to where they want to go in their future.
But wait a second.
Didn’t we just spend the last decade making decisions for them?
And all of the sudden they are expected to know what they want to do with their future and choose the class options that will help them get there?
Anyone else confused by this? Doesn’t make much sense does it?
Now we have students and kids who are overwhelmed by everything that is in front of them. There are a TON of options for their future, they likely do not know what they want, and they spend a lot of time trying to decide what they want and how they are going to get there.
HELLLLLOOOOO decision fatigue!Decision fatigue is a real thing. And something we can reduce for our students by practicing growth mindset and encouraging flexible seating. Click To Tweet
What are some of the consequences of decision fatigue?
- Hastily making a decision without thinking about all the options/consequences/whether it is what they really want
- Not ever making a decision
- Not considering options that might be right for them
- Not doing adequate research on the topic/issue to make a decision
All this said, I do not believe that any decision made while feeling decision fatigue is necessarily the “wrong”. I do not believe that there is such a things as “wrong” decision. If the “wrong” decision is made, it is a learning experience or it is the appropriate decision for that person and a wonderful thing.
Okay, we now know what decision fatigue is – yes it is a real thing – and the consequences of decision fatigue. But how do we prevent it?
Take Your Time
Take as much time as you need to make a decision. This isn’t always possible but, if it is, take the time you have. There is no need to rush a decision just to “get it out of the way”. If you don’t have a lot of time to decide, follow the tips below.
Do Your Research
Know what you’re getting yourself into. Having a better understanding of the options will help you to make a decision that is right for you. For example, if you are choosing which university to attend, spend some time on their website or social media pages to find out about resources, class sizes, accessibility, and anything that is important to you.
Often our closest friends and family know us better than we know ourselves. Asking others for their opinion can help us to narrow down the choices or put things into perspective.
Be careful when asking others though. Make sure the person you are asking has your best interest in mind.
Make a List of Pros & Cons
Having trouble deciding between two or more options? Write each one on a page with a list of pros and cons of each. Usually the one with the most pros and least cons is the best choice. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it is what you want.
Personally, I write pros and cons lists, not to see which has the most pros, but to see which one I am HOPING has the most pros. That’s the one you really want, whether or not it is the most logical choice.
Don’t Make a Decision
If you are feeling the affects of decision fatigue, try not to make a decision until you are sure you are making it for the right reasons. Don’t make a decision because you feel rushed or don’t want to put any research or thought into the decision. If you can put off making the decision, do so.
Yoga & Mindfulness
Practicing yoga and mindfulness will help you to clear your mind, relieve stress, better focus, and improve self- and emotional- regulation so that you can clearly know and understand what you want and how you want to get there.
Flip a Coin
They say this is the easiest way to make a decision because, when the coin is in the air, you find yourself hoping for what you want to coin to land on. What you’re hoping for is what you really want. And that is the decision you should make.
My final piece of advice?
Follow your heart. It knows what it wants.Follow your heart. It knows what it wants. Click To Tweet
In case you’re wondering, in the end, I chose the logo that I loved. Because if I don’t love it, nobody else will. And, if I don’t love it, I won’t be motivated by it, and won’t stand by it.
Isn’t that true of all the decisions we make?