Dealing with Decision Fatigue

When Things Get Hectic


When things get hectic, the best way I can cope is to reduce. While this means something different to everyone, to me, reducing means changing my commitments, being conscious of my shopping and what I am taking into the house and over the last few years, reducing has meant finally getting rid of stuff and items I no longer need.

This point in my life is a bit different. I've already gone through much of my stuff and have downsized considerably. I've been working with a smaller, capsule wardrobe for about 3 years, and I tend to keep my books and magazines digital. So, that means that I don't really have a lot of stuff around me to reduce. What I have figured out though, is that because I only have 2 weeks left, I can easily deal with a couple of pairs of pants, a few tops and a dress or two. I need a pair of flip-flops and a comfortable pair of sandals. For my makeup, it's just as easy to pack away much of my already reduced stash and stick with my main items. A primer, CC Cream, concealer, powder and a lipstick or two. The same goes for my skincare. A day cream with SPF, night cream, balm cleanser and a face wash.

Why "Reducing?"


I've realized that my need to "reduce" is actually rooted in my need to have less choice. When I don't have to decide between 3 serums, 2-day creams, and 4 face washes, my day is off to an easy start. The same goes for makeup. The same foundation, concealer, and powder on a daily basis means that I can have the even complexion I want without having to layer on 400 products to get there. I can get up, get out the door and spend time doing what I really want to and need to do before moving. Finally, clothing has never been a big hassle in my life. I've always just thrown on the same uniform. Black pants or jeans, a tank, and a cardigan or a Kimono. Keeping my choices limited in my closet has also made for an easier transition during this hectic time.

The Big Picture


I feel as though society is focused on choice, now more than ever. The choice to have your bagel toasted or untoasted. "Do you want your coffee regular roast or dark roast?" Perhaps you've been asked, "do you want to pay with cash, credit or debit?" We are obsessed with having choices throughout our day. For some, the option of choice is a form of freedom. But for others, and I would imagine this "other" group is bigger than the "freedom" group, having a multitude of choices at every point in the day makes for a tiring, brain-fogging experience. It's like we get decision-fatigue.

Which I've found out is a real thing. A 2011 New York Times article by John Tierney, discusses the work of social psychologist Roy Baumeister and his team. The article looks at samples of Baumeister's work and his discovery that when plenty of decisions have to be made, such as registering for a wedding gift registry, the willpower of the decision-maker is affected.​ This influx of decision making also affects the self-control of the maker. So what exactly does this mean? Well, first off, we are exhausted by all of our decision makings. Whether it's to match our socks out of the dryer or if we should drink that expired milk. We might also be making the wrong decision or making poor choices to get the situation over with.

How can we beat this fatigue? Well, I think this a personal task. There are types of decisions that we all hold close. For me, it's choosing my playlist for the drive to work (or wherever I'm going). For others, it might be which seat to pick on the bus. Or, you might be concerned with making sure that you get to work safely and stay out of harm's way. Whatever this important decision, it's imperative to hold it close. If you can reduce your wardrobe or pre-select your clothes so you have one less choice in the morning, maybe you'll finally find that amazing playlist on Spotify. Perhaps you can find your go-to face routine and make your skincare and makeup routines a smaller part of your day. Maybe, like me, you just need to get rid of as much as possible, to find out what it is that you actually need to live.

Here is a list of ways that might help you reduce decision fatigue

  • Work on building a capsule wardrobe AND plan your outfit the night before

  • Make a weekly, biweekly or monthly meal plan

  • Write shopping lists

  • Pack your lunch the night before

  • Stop buying everyone in the house a different flavour

  • Stop over-complicating your routines. No, you do not need a 10 step K-beauty skincare routine.

  • Stop paying for extra channels or get rid of cable/satellite altogether

  • Stop buying variety packs unless you are OK will all options

  • this goes for coffee, granola bars, sausage flavors ect..

  • Have a set plan for dealing with issues that come up

  • this is likely most helpful at work but can be useful in your day-to-day life

  • Plan your day first thing in the morning

  • Are you going to go to the gym? Are you going to take the kids to school or is someone else doing that?

  • Make those necessary decisions when you aren't fatigued and know that you made the right decision


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