So many of us make decisions when we are tired. Most of us wake up and jump right into action starting a day full of meetings, calls and interactions with family, friends, colleagues and clients. We are making decisions every minute—whether it is finalizing an important business deal, answering an important question from our children or ordering breakfast at the local coffee shop. Our days are filled with decisions…it is exhausting!
A recent article in the New York Times got a lot of buzz and several of my clients wanted to discuss it. Click here to read the full article. The concept is fascinating and something I discuss on a daily basis.
The majority of us rely on willpower to get us through the day. We hope we can “power-through” the stress, the traffic, the drama, the decisions and “get by” without any big disasters. Well, how are you doing?
John Tierny discusses in his article the research that is showing how we literally make so many decisions in a day it leads to decision fatigue, “the newest discovery involving a phenomenon called ego depletion.”
“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.”
He also notes how glucose, the simplest form of a carbohydrate can prevent decision fatigue.
He writes it so eloquently,
“1. In order not to eat, a dieter needs willpower.
2. In order to have willpower, a dieter needs to eat.”
This is a concept I have discussed with many of you. YOUR BODY NEEDS FUEL! Set yourself up for success. This is why it is so important to eat regularly and give your body a balanced meal every 3-4 hours. So many of us are so hard on ourselves because we do not have the discipline to control our cravings. Now research is showing us how to strengthen our willpower and create a successful day.
Now go eat and make some good decisions!