Is today a particularly busy day at work? Do you anticipate making a bunch of important decisions? If your workday is full of making important choices, it's likely you come home each day feeling exhausted. Although you ideally would like to attend a workout or exercise class, it feels as if you always make the easier decision of settling in for a relaxing evening of watching TV instead.
If this kind of situation happens for you regularly, you may suffer from decision fatigue.
Mustering up the willpower to continue working (or to even do things you actually like) can be a difficult task. This is because willpower is just like a muscle--the more it is used, the more your willpower can get fatigued. As you make more and more decisions, your energy and your capacity to make another decision will fade away.
But overcoming it is not impossible. Here is how you can beat decision fatigue and become a willpower master along the way.
1. Plan accordingly and make a routine.
Did you know Barack Obama only wore grey or blue suits during his presidency? "You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can go through the day distracted by trivia," said Obama in an interview with Vanity Fair. Even Steve Jobs famously did something similar--with his own daily uniform of black turtlenecks and jeans, Jobs acquired a signature style while eliminating the need for outfit decisions.
Judges tend to make better court decisions after eating, and the same will go for you. Feed your body to boost willpower, and make sure that the food you consume is nutritious. In fact, keeping your entire health routine in order (exercise, sleep, etc.) can be the key to high levels of productivity.
3. Be ruthless about distractions.
Do you feel inundated with social media notifications? Are you consistently finding yourself down a rabbit hole of online information? The more distracted you are, the more tiring it feels to make important decisions. CEO and founder of Bateman Groups, Fred Bateman, uses an app to keep track of the time he spends on certain websites. He also blocks all notifications from clients and social media, because, as he notes, these audio and visual distraction triggers can wreak havoc on his concentration. Be unyielding about what tasks, people, and things receive your time and attention.
You will always have willpower, but how strong it is in your life will always be up to you and the choices in life that you make. As you improve your willpower, you may find yourself making more long-lasting commitments and fewer decisions.