Ducks in a Row: Decision Fatigue

Ducks in a Row: Decision Fatigue

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

This article on decision fatigue should be mandatory reading for every manager and worker looking to boost group performance or their own.

It provides scientific explanations why

  • interviews are more difficult if you struggled that morning with decisions about what to wear and the best route to the company;
  • the wrong candidate is hired and the real catch gets away;
  • getting married often lowers productivity (not the reasons you might expect);
  • skipping lunch is as bad as skipping breakfast (which is just plain stupid);
  • having snacks available and buying dinner when working late is required and
  • timing meetings and other critical tasks can make a significant difference.

Decision fatigue is the price every human pays for the multitude of choices we face daily; not just the obvious big ones, but every tiny fork in the road.

“No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price.”

Moreover, decision fatigue is a major contributor to ego depletion.

“…ego-depleted humans become more likely to get into needless fights over turf. In making decisions, they take illogical shortcuts and tend to favor short-term gains and delayed costs.”

Not exactly the actions you want in yourself or your people.

The focus on food is obvious once you think about it. Most people know you can’t exercise without providing fuel for their muscles, but seem to think their mind runs on air and desire.

“…psychologists neglected one mundane but essential part of the machine: the power supply. The brain, like the rest of the body, derived energy from glucose…”

Decision fatigue also impacts self-control, AKA willpower, and self-control has a large role in keeping us focused.

Read the article; it provides a scientific basis for creating a culture that helps people deal with decision fatigue and all its ramifications.

“When there were fewer decisions, there was less decision fatigue.”

The solutions lie in an open exploration of the subject with your people and a conscious effort to provide an environment that minimizes the effects of decision fatigue.

“The best decision makers are the ones who know when not to trust themselves.” – Lead researcher Roy F. Baumeister, social psychologist

Flickr image credit: ZedBee | Zoë Power

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