What does decision fatigue feel like?

September 10, 2022

Living life as a digital nomad with the freedom to go anywhere and do anything sounds so glamorous – and it is! To a point. It feels as though this side of living life ‘unrooted’ is spoken about as a never-ending series of exciting events. And again, it is, or it can be…to a point. But it also comes with a side effect of decision fatigue in my experience.

 

Now you may be wondering, what is decision fatigue? Based on various sources, decision fatigue is essentially a feeling of stress, anxiety and overwhelm that can impact our ability to make decisions. It’s the idea that after having to make a lot of decisions, a person’s ability to make even more is impacted. 

 

What does decision fatigue feel like?

  • Inability to make decisions – whether they’re big, small, food or travel related. Just general overwhelm when confronted with options
  • Stress 
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of making the ‘wrong choice’
  • Wanting to bury your head in the sand and avoid making decisions altogether 

 

These are just a few decision fatigue examples, you may experience other feelings and thoughts that vary from person to person.

 

One thing about living as a digital nomad is knowing the world is your oyster (with the right visas, of course!). You could go ANYWHERE! And while that’s incredibly exciting, it also means you have seemingly endless options. Which place do you choose?

 

I (June), struggled with this recently when trying to decide where I was going next. I’ve been in Bali for a while and it’s time to move on to my next spot, but I’ve been so overwhelmed by decisions that this felt like one too many. I was paralysed. Where do I go? I had so many options. Even after narrowing it down to a few options it felt like too many. Fortunately, my partner could support me on this and help with the decision making. But I can’t imagine if I’d been by myself – I might still be sitting there! Now, I’ve figured out my movements until the end of the year so I don’t have to go through this again in the near future.

 

Which brings up the question…

 

What can you do when facing decision fatigue?

 

  1. Reduce Decisions 

    One of the most immediate tools at your disposal is to reduce the amount of decisions you have to make. Whether this is done by delegation, or simply removing that decision task from your plate and delaying it to a later date. 

  2.  Limit Your Options 

    When possible, reduce the amount of options available. By limiting this, you’re less likely to feel overfaced and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of possibilities. 

  3. Set Decision Deadlines 

    When facing decision fatigue, it’s easy to keep postponing the decisions you have to make. At some point, they seem to cluster into one great wall of decisions you suddenly have to make in a very short space of time. Instead of letting it get to that point, give yourself some decision deadlines to space them out. One by one is the way to go!

  4. Delegate, delegate, delegate 

    Often as an entrepreneur, especially in the early days, there’s a trend towards feeling as though you’re the only one that can make decisions. Or that you’re the only one who can do X, Y, and Z. But didn’t you hire team members to make your life easier? And to help you share the workload? This is the time where you need to trust them. Shed some of the decisions from your plate, and let others handle them. Start small if you need to, but at some point it’s got to happen!

  5. Trust Your Gut 

    It’s so easy to second guess yourself. But where does that lead? To potentially make the same decision over and over again with different results. Instead, listen to your first instinct. 

Sometimes, if I’m faced with two options, it helps to say one out loud as if I’ve chosen it. If I feel disappointed, it means the other choice was the correct one for me. (This is actually really helpful at restaurants or when you’re trying to decide what to eat – if you’re stuck on two, say one out loud with conviction!)

 

The key to overcoming decision overwhelm is to set up systems and processes that simplify your life. And to allow others to help you. 

 

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Created by nopixelfrom the Noun Project

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