Are You Too Tired to Decide?
It was a simple decision, but I just couldn’t make it.
My assistant was picking up lunch for me because I had a string of back-to-back meetings in an already hectic week. A few minutes after she left, I got a call telling me that the restaurant was out of what I had ordered. It seems simple enough looking back to think that I just ordered something else, but I couldn’t. I didn’t know what else I wanted. In fact I was more willing to go without lunch than to have to make another decision.
I went home that night thinking “what in the world is wrong with me?. I can’t even make a simple decision about lunch!”
Sadly, my ability to make even simple decisions has been taxed on more than just this occasion. But I found it interesting that there is actual a name for this “condition” – Decision Fatigue.
Here’s a quote from an article that The New York Times recently published:
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. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences. (Sure, tweet that photo! What could go wrong?) The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing. Instead of agonizing over decisions, avoid any choice. Ducking a decision often creates bigger problems in the long run, but for the moment, it eases the mental strain.
So at least I’m not crazy, right?
Do you ever struggle with decision fatigue?
I think as leaders this is a challenge to our leadership that we need to be hyper-aware of.
From a spiritual perspective I think decision fatigue can be a result of relying too much on our own strength. I would also suspect that it’s a bi-product of not observing the spiritual discipline of Sabbath.
What do you think?