One strong reason to simplify: decision fatigue.
The more we have to decide in our life, the stronger the chance we’ll make poor choices.
This article in the New York Times, Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue, gives a good overview of how decision fatigue affects our modern lives.
There’s a reason we find it harder to resist brownies later in the day or make impulse purchases at the end of a day of shopping. Making decisions, even small ones, is mentally tiring and our capacity for decision making is finite.
What to eat for breakfast, what to wear to work, which route to drive, go out for a morning coffee or stay in, all of these choices fatigue our brains.
Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. – John Tierney for the NYT
Our recent car purchase was a win for avoiding decision fatigue. We talked over our needs for the car for a long time before we even looked at vehicles. After some online and casual in-person browsing we test drove one car that fit our needs.
Then we bought it.
We avoided going out to a dealership or large car lot that had cars out of our price range.
We made our decision on a relaxed weekend day when we weren’t rushed or too tired.
Buying more car than we planned on wasn’t an option.
It’s nice to book a win once in a while because I know decision fatigue affects me a lot.
It’s one of the reasons I try to stay out of stores unless I have a list. It’s one of the reasons I meal plan and use a grocery delivery service. If I’m tired or hungry or shopping with children in tow, I am much more likely to buy things I don’t need.
One of my projects in the next few months is to build out a good capsule wardrobe. My current wardrobe is a mix of nursing tops and threadbare jeans.
I’ve found that when I want to look at clothing, online or in stores, or try anything on out of my own closet, I can’t do it late in the day.
As described in that NYT’s article, I agonize over decisions and become paralyzed by them. In the end I just chicken out and do/buy nothing.
New plan: do small tasks, like searching for second hand medium weight floral scarves on eBay, first thing in the morning.
How do you avoid decision fatigue?