Mental Health

Overwhelmed By Decision Making? Reduce Decision Fatigue With These Tips

Overthinking and taking time to make up your mind on a particular topic can cause decision overload. Read on to learn how to overcome decision fatigue.

By URLife Team
05 Apr 2024

Making decisions isn’t always a piece of cake!


Have you ever stopped to think just how many thoughts run through your head in a single day? A 2020 study in the Journal of Health Psychology reveals that on average, an adult has over 35,000 thoughts daily. It's a hurricane of decisions from dawn to dusk. Deciding to wake up on time or snooze the alarm for just five more minutes. Then there's the daily style dilemma: which shirt pairs best with those trousers? And let's not forget the mundane yet crucial selection of toothpaste for that morning brush. By the end of it all, your brain's on strike, leaving you exhausted.


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Another scenario: Picture yourself standing in a supermarket, staring into the dairy section, basket empty, feeling utterly drained. And suddenly, every ounce of your decision-making ability has evaporated into thin air. It's that moment when your brain throws up its hands and says, "Nope, I'm done." So next time you find yourself wrestling with the dairy aisle or paralysed by the pantry, just know, you're not alone. It’s called decision fatigue.


Decision Fatigue Is A Thing

The scientific bit behind decision fatigue might be a head-scratcher, but one thing's crystal clear: it's as real as it gets. Decision fatigue is as straightforward as it sounds—you're plain tired of deciding stuff. Ever had those moments when even deciding what socks to wear felt like a monumental task? That's decision fatigue flexing its muscles.


Think of it like this: every choice you make throughout the day, from what cereal to have for breakfast to which route to take to work, scraps away your mental strength. It's not just about feeling a bit flustered when choosing between continental or Asian food. You're not just worried about making the wrong call; you're downright terrified of it. Every choice feels like it could lead to a disaster. From what to wear to work to whether to reply to that email or not, indecision casts its shadow upon every aspect of your day.


Now, if you ever come across similar feelings, watch out for these classic signs:

  • Procrastination: Suddenly, everything becomes a "later" problem. 
  • You’re quick to judge: Ever made a decision so fast, that it's like your brain didn't even get the memo? Yep, that's the fatigue talking.
  • You lose analysis power: You find yourself stuck in the loop of decision-making, just need a little more time" becomes your mantra.
  • You become impulsive: Suddenly, you're the reigning champion of snap decisions. Who needs careful consideration when you can just trust your gut, right?
  • Indecision: When in doubt, saying "no" becomes your default setting. Whether it's out of fear of making the wrong choice or exhaustion from decision overload, indecision reigns supreme.


So next time you find yourself reaching for that impulse buy or staring blankly at a menu, remember: decision fatigue might just be pulling the strings.


Why Does Decision Fatigue Occur?

You see each decision, no matter how seemingly small, it leaves you feeling as drained as a squeezed-out sponge. Here’s why it happens:

Decision overload

To be honest, it's a simple calculation. The more decisions you have to make, the more fatigue sets in. Whether you're the boss or just trying to figure out what to have for lunch, each choice can consume a lot of mental energy reserves.


Being responsible

Ever felt the weight of the world on your shoulders when making a tough call? That's because high-stakes decisions may hit like an extra punch. The potential fallout of your choices dominates, adding an extra layer of stress and exhaustion to your existing mental health.



Stress clouds your ability to think straight, making the right decision may feel like an endless tug-of-war. But, it's also a fact that making decisions, especially under pressure, ramps up your stress levels even more. It's a vicious cycle that leaves you feeling like you're running on fumes.



Ever noticed how everything feels harder after a night of tossing and turning? That's because sleep isn't just for beauty—it's your brain's reset button. Not getting enough sleep can hinder your thinking ability. So, next time you're feeling overwhelmed by the endless choices, take a moment to catch some sleep. 


Post-decision blues

Ever felt that sinking feeling of regret after making a choice? That's decision fatigue playing its trick. Even when you finally settle for something you want, the nagging feeling that you could've done better lingers on.


6 Ways To Overcome Decision Fatigue

Decision fatigue got you feeling like you're stuck in a mental mud pit? Don't worry, there's light at the end of the decision-making tunnel.


Here are six smart strategies to deal with decision fatigue:

1. Prioritise decisions like a pro

Not all decisions are created equal. Declutter your to-do list by focusing on what matters. Next, take a moment to evaluate the urgency of each decision. Ask yourself: What are your core values and goals? How does this decision align with them? By keeping your priorities front and centre, you can make choices that resonate with your authentic self.


2. Simplify your options

Remember the old saying, "Work smarter, not harder"? Well, this concept applies to decision-making too. Instead of scattering your choices throughout the day like breadcrumbs, batch them like a boss. Start by jotting down all the decisions you need to make, big or small. Whether it's choosing what to wear or deciding on a career change. Some choices, like what to eat for dinner, don't require hours of deliberation. Meanwhile, big life choices, such as buying a house or changing careers, may need more thoughtful consideration.


3. Set limits and stick to them

Once you've set aside time for decision-making, stick to your schedule. Whether it's limiting your options at the grocery store or giving yourself a deadline for making a decision, having clear boundaries can help tame the decision-making beast. Avoid getting backed down in endless reviews for minor choices. Most importantly, resist the urge to rush through important decisions. Stay disciplined and trust your judgement.


4. Delegate like a boss

You don't have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders alone. Learn to lean on your team, friends, or family for support. If you're feeling weighed down by the burden of decision-making, remember: delegation isn't a sign of weakness—it's a strategic move that benefits everyone involved. Trust in your team, lean on your support network and watch as decision fatigue fades away slowly. Delegating decisions not only lightens your load but also gives others a chance to shine.


5. Share the mental load

Facing a plumbing problem? Undecided whether to go for a white or pink top? Or putting together a work presentation? You don't have to do it all alone. By allowing others to help and sharing the mental load, you can prevent feelings of overwhelm and tackle decisions with confidence.


6. Put yourself first

Last but certainly not least, don't forget to give yourself some self-care. A well-rested, well-fed, and well-exercised brain is better equipped to tackle life's choices. So, prioritise self-care like it's your job. Whether it's a bubble bath, a brisk walk, or a Netflix binge session, taking good care of yourself can help to recharge your mental batteries.


Feeling like you're running on empty, with every decision draining your energy like a leaky faucet? Sounds like decision fatigue has come knocking. But fear not, there's a way out of this mental maze. Here's the golden rule of decision-making: perfection is overrated. Even experienced decision-makers can fall prey to decision fatigue without a hint of other mental health issues. Sharing the mental load of decision-making can be a game-changer when it comes to preventing overwhelm.  Don't shoulder the entire burden yourself. Lean on a trusted friend. This will help you gain a fresh perspective to ease your decision-making process.


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