Capetown Student Accomodation

Tackling Decision Fatigue in University

These days we are flooded with information and choices which, whether we like it or not, chip away at our mental capacity and leave us feeling exhausted.

This is called decision fatigue.

What is decision fatigue?”

Well, the Oxford online dictionary defines decision fatigue as a “difficulty in making a good decision experienced as a result of the number of decisions one needs to take.”

So, now that you know what it is, let’s see if you have it and how to fix it.

Signs of Decision Fatigue

Probably the first step in tackling decision fatigue would be knowing if you actually have it. Signs include:

  • Procrastination – Continuously putting it off because you just don’t feel like it
  • Impulsivity – Randomly choosing something because you can’t be bothered to actually make a decision
  • Avoidance – Just not making decisions at all.
  • Indecision – Maybe doing nothing will be easier. Who needs to make decisions anyway?

Once you have worked out whether or not you have decision fatigue, the next step would be…

How to Fix It

Now that you’ve come to the conclusion that you probably have decision fatigue, how do you fix it?

You could start off by focusing on self-care. When making decisions starts to stress you out, you tend to forget about looking after yourself. Whether it’s taking breaks between tasks or treating yourself to a nice meal, taking a moment for yourself can help reduce some of the stress that comes from decision fatigue. When we’re operating under duress we’re never going to do our best, right?

Make a routine and stick to it. It might be difficult in the beginning, but when you don’t have to make a decision on what to have for dinner, there’s just one less decision for you to make in a day. Small things make a major difference.

Praise yourself for making good decisions. Even if it’s completing a presentation on time or simply making your bed. Praising yourself for the big things as well as the small things can motivate you to make decisions that will ultimately make your life easier and, well, better.

Make a list of your priorities. Note down what you need to do in a day and it’ll save you having to decide what to do next. Taking it out of your brain and onto paper or a note on your phone removes the unconscious stress of having to remember to do stuff.

And finally, let people help you. You can’t do everything by yourself and you don’t have to. Letting other people help you make decisions can lessen the burden and reduce your decision fatigue. Another viewpoint may be the helpful push you need to get to where you want to go.

Decision fatigue is something that affects everyone on a daily basis – especially in today’s crazy world. But if you know how to overcome it, it won’t be something that continuously tires you out and your life will just be easier.

Go on, try it!