“Good decision making is not a trait of the person, in the sense that it’s always there,” Baumeister says. “It’s a state that fluctuates.” His studies show that people with the best self-control are the ones who structure their lives so as to conserve willpower. They don’t schedule endless back-to-back meetings. They avoid temptations like all-you-can-eat buffets, and they establish habits that eliminate the mental effort of making choices. Instead of deciding every morning whether or not to force themselves to exercise, they set up regular appointments to work out with a friend. Instead of counting on willpower to remain robust all day, they conserve it so that it’s available for emergencies and important decisions. Even the wisest people won’t make good choices when they’re not rested and their glucose is low,” Baumeister points out. That’s why the truly wise don’t restructure the company at 4 p.m. They don’t make major commitments during the cocktail hour. And if a decision must be made late in the day, they know not to do it on an empty stomach. “The best decision makers,” Baumeister says, “are the ones who know when not to trust themselves.” Do you suffer from decision fatigue?
This article is a long read but, we think, worth the effort. If you are too busy to read it today, book yourself some hours for uninterrupted reading soon and take this article with you into your reading retreat. In the meantime, just read the quote above and ask yourself: Are you a good decision maker? Do you know the times of the day/week when it is not wise to trust yourself because you are low on willpower? If yes, then great. If not, finding out when the ‘low willpower’ times are in your life may be something to put high in your priority list.
We only looked at decision fatigue a few days ago, but we feel it is an important topic to revisit.