How to be Happier and More Productive by Avoiding ‘Decision Fatigue’

decision fatigueLet’s say it’s your birthday.

First, happy birthday! We got you a cake.

We’ll come back to the cake in a moment.

Second, we have a question for you on your special day. Your friends want to give you the celebration you deserve, but they’re stumped. They can’t decide whether to a) let you plan your perfect evening, from the first stop through the main event, or b) plan the perfect evening for you, leaving you with just one responsibility: to enjoy.

Which would you pick?

For myself and a surprising number of people I talk to, the answer is B. I would much rather have someone else plan the event and take care of the details. Even though the result might not be exactly what I would choose, a night free from the minute-by-minute pressure of decision-making is a true luxury.

We’re conditioned to think that more choice is always a good thing, but in the past few years, studies have discovered something called decision fatigue. The research helps explain why decisions are so much harder at the end of a work day and why we’re tempted by the candy in the checkout lane after a marathon grocery trip.

Continue Reading →