Decision Fatigue – What is It and How to Control It

decision fatigue

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the lifestyles of people around the world. The changes brought by the ongoing health crisis may even remain forever and create a ‘new normal’. While there have been positive improvements such as better hygiene, an equal number of difficulties have also arisen. Decision fatigue is one of such problems faced by the majority that can significantly affect the quality of life.

As the name suggests, decision fatigue is a term used for the inability to decide on any matter ranging from picking a specific recipe for lunch or planning a grocery trip. Though all of such decisions seem trivial, the pandemic has made them much more difficult.

Since the potential outcome of such decisions has become more significant, many people are putting more effort into planning their day out and consistently re-considering their schedules depending on the circumstances.

RELATED: Are Psychotic Episodes A Sign of Coronavirus Infection?

Uncertainty plays a fundamental role when it comes to understanding decision fatigue. In the past ten months, the coronavirus crisis has mostly been unpredictable with changes occurring every few months or even weeks.

The unpredictability of the pandemic has made taking the easiest of decisions hard. Most people are constantly stressed and unable to make confident and fluent decisions.

This does not only prolong the process of doing any task but also leads to poor decision making. Prior to the pandemic, such effects were also observed by researchers.

For instance, research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that the rate of favorable judicial rulings declined and eventually dropped to zero right before lunch break.

Read the results of the study here. 

After the break, the rate increased by sixty-five percent but went down gradually by the end of the court timings. However, such decisions are only limited to certain professions. Before the coronavirus crisis, most people did not have to make such significant decisions.

Now, the circumstances are different and decision fatigue is prevalent. The pandemic is far from being over but this does not mean that one cannot get rid of the fatigue.

According to health experts, the first step towards resolving the issue is acknowledging the difficulty in making decisions. Then make particular criteria in which the decision has to be made.

Give only a fixed amount of time to a certain decision and do not rush or prolong the time. Also, do not make too many decisions in a single week or at a time in a hurry under high levels of stress and pressure.

When experiencing mental burnout, take a break and engage in a relaxing activity. For instance, try talking on the phone or video calling a relative or a friend. Similarly, reading a book, taking a walk outside, or simply putting time aside to lay down can also help.

Additionally, for people who are consistently stressed and having worsened symptoms of mental disorders including depression and anxiety, seeking professional advice may help in better management and improving mental health outcomes.

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