056: Combating Decision Fatigue
Are you overwhelmed with all the decisions you have to make in a given day? Decisions like what to wear, what to eat, and how should I use my time often consume my thoughts. And at this time in history when we have so many choices, making these seemingly small decisions can become overwhelming.
Think about the last time you went to the grocery store. The number of choices we have is overwhelming. I mean do we really need so many types of cereal, pasta sauce, and toothpaste to choose from?
Decision fatigue even carries over to things like decluttering and organizing our homes. Often when we actually try to tackle decluttering, we get derailed by not knowing what to do with the stuff we’re ready to let go of. Or we simply have a hard time letting go of some things because we feel like we need to hang on to those things for some reason.
Decision fatigue is a very real thing and can keep us from moving forward in life if we don’t come up with a solution to combat it.
Situations where we deal with decision fatigue
Getting dressed in the morning
How many times have you gone to your closet and said, “I have nothing to wear.” even when your closet is full of clothes?
I feel like this is one area we as women struggle with a lot. We go on this quest in search of clothes that look good on us, are comfortable, and make us feel good about ourselves. Too often, though, we end up with a lot of clothes that don’t work for us for some reason.
Or, you could be like me and have some clothes for when you lose weight. You know those cute jeans or stylish top you bought that was a little too small but you know you’ll wear them when you lose weight?
There are a couple of ways you could go about making the decision of what to wear a lot easier.
First, you could go through your clothes and eliminate the ones you know you’re not going to wear. Even the ones that are not your current size. Because, if you are holding on to an item of clothing to wear after you lose weight, chances are styles will have changed or you may no longer be interested in that item because your taste may change.
Another tactic you can try is to create a uniform for yourself. Think about those in the medical profession. Most workers wear scrubs or some type of uniform. The front desk ladies at my dentist’s office even wear a uniform of matching jackets and scarves. They never have to think about what they’re wearing to work.
Deciding what to eat
I have to be honest, I’m terrible at meal planning. Not because I’m a terrible planner. I’ve been struggling for a while with the issue of nothing sounding good to eat. Add in a vegan husband and kids that like different things, and meal planning has become almost impossible for me.
That’s not saying that I don’t eat. Oh no! On the contrary, I still eat. But often it means going out to eat. And that’s not healthy nor is it good for the budget.
Because I’ve had these struggles with food, the tips I’m giving you are ones I’ve learned from other people. I hope to put them into place in my own life to help me do a better job when it comes to meal planning.
Just as we discussed with our clothes, you can create a list of meals that you go to when you don’t know what to eat or when you’re pressed for time.
For instance, you can designate each night of the week as a different theme night. Mondays could be Italian food, Tuesdays-Mexican, Wednesdays-casserole, Thursdays-crockpot, Fridays-pizza, Saturdays-eat out, and Sundays-leftovers. This method is so flexible because you can choose whatever types of food your family likes best.
Then create a list of meals that fit the categories you’ve selected. At the beginning of each week or before you go to the grocery store, all you have to do is just select one meal from each of your categories and buy the ingredients to make them. This method does take a little bit of planning in the beginning, however, if you get your family involved then this would be a good method to make sure everyone’s preferences are covered.
Decluttering and organizing your home
Let’s first talk about how to know what to let go of. I know that minimalism is a big movement right now. And I’m all for getting rid of things you no longer want, love, use, or need. However, I don’t think we have to get rid of everything even if they aren’t something we use or need. The key is to be realistic, though, in terms of knowing how much space you have to store things and what’s going to happen to them after you’re gone.
So one way to conquer the overwhelm that often accompanies a good decluttering session is to make decisions beforehand. You can decide ahead of time what you are going to do with types of items as you come across them.
For example, let’s say you have several albums and boxes of pictures. You could decide ahead of time that when you come across any kind of pictures that you are going to scan them into your computer and make a backup disc to put in safe storage. Then you can get rid of the originals. Or maybe you decide you want to keep all the photos but you will get them all in albums instead of having them loose in a box or in various areas of your house.
Or, when it’s time to sort through your clothes, you can decide ahead of time what the criteria will be for letting a piece of clothing stay in your closet. This could be things like it must fit now, it’s not torn or soiled, and it would be something you’d want to wear on a regular basis.
Do you see how this is working? Making a decision about what to do with specific items before you start decluttering makes the process go more smoothly.
Now, what do you do with the things that you are letting go of? Often we don’t want to get rid of some things simply because we don’t know what to do with them. There are many options available to us sometimes and it can be hard to know which is the best.
I would recommend that you decide on just a couple of ways to dispose of your unwanted items. This is how I go about deciding. If an item could potentially bring me $50 or more, I usually will try to sell it online. Either through Facebook Market Place or some other garage sale site. If the item would be worth less than $50 and is in good condition I typically donate it to Goodwill.
So have you noticed a common theme among the topics we’ve talked about? Eliminating decision fatigue starts with making decisions ahead of time and standardizing those decisions so you don’t have to think when situations arise.
With our clothes, we can simplify what we own so everything works together and is comfortable for us to wear.
With our food, we can make standard meal plans or decide ahead on the weekend what we’ll eat for the coming week and narrow our choices.
With our possessions, we can decide ahead of time what we’re going to do with them during the decluttering process.
It’s all about simplifying the decision and making the decision ahead of time. Because once you decide, that can become your standard you won’t have to think about it again.