Four Ways To Profit From Decision Fatigue


How would you like to profit from “Decision Fatigue” that affects everyone?

What is decision fatigue you ask? As we go through our day, we mentally tire. Our mental energy begins slowly erode. It is just as predictable if not more so than physical fatigue.

Studies have shown that mistakes made in hospitals are fewer in the morning or at the beginning of shifts. Prisoners seeking parole are far more likely to be excused in the morning as opposed to the afternoon.

What is happening? As the day progresses, the more mental decisions we make, the harder it is for our brain to stay fresh and rested — in spite of our physical stamina or lack of it. It’s just part of the human condition.

When we become mentally fatigued as the day moves along, we switch into kind of a “power saver mode.” In it, we short-cut to a quicker, less energy-consuming mode in which patience, understanding, communication, compromising, and collaboration decreases as it becomes more taxing to fully explore all our options. Everyone is subject to this. The evidence is more arguments and disagreements, increased splurge shopping  (junk food, buying things we don’t need), more mistakes, and more ill-advised decisions. Yes, we begin to act a little more reckless and impulsive as we grow mentally tired. You are better off avoiding decisions and avoiding critical thinking that has wide-ranging effects. Besides, there are many other productive ways to focus your later day.

Here are Four Ways to profit from Decision Fatigue:

  1. 1. Reserve your critical thinking, decisions, communications, and meetings for the morning.
  2. 2. Schedule doctors, dentists, attorney, and accountant, and other important consultations for the morning when both you and the providers are fresh.
  3. 3. Don’t shop in the afternoon, especially for food and indulgences.
  4. 4. If you sell indulgences, sell them in the afternoon when people are more reckless with their decision-making and trying to sedate their fatigue.

Your awareness of decision fatigue will always benefit you.

P.S. I once worked for a major airline, and the inside advice was always to book an early morning flight. Not only will your pilot and crew be fresh, the operations and customer service agents, cleaning, loading, fueling, and provisioning personnel will also be fresh and any problems from the day before will have a better chance of having been resolved.

This article was inspired by a talk originally given by Darren Hardy.

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