So what is decision fatigue?
Decision fatigue is a psychological concept where our productivity and mental clarity suffers as a result of becoming overwhelmed from making repetitive, small decisions.
These decisions may seem small and irrelevant, but they compound and can clutter our mind.
Think about all the decisions you make for yourself, your partner, and your children on a daily basis.
You add in important, big decisions and you are constantly making choices and decisions for yourself and others.
I recently went through this and noticed that I was able to keep it together until my cup was full.
My cup can only hold so much and every question and every decision was a drop that kept adding to an almost full cup.
Finally, by the end of the day, my husband asked me “what’s for dinner?” and my cup overflowed “WHY do I have to figure out dinner?”
Hello, decision fatigue.
A simple question that had I not been overwhelmed, I wouldn’t be bothered by.
This concept is important in parenting.
We live our lives with work, life, parenting, and decisions. Sometimes, our child will ask us a question when our mind is fatigued and we may get upset. It isn’t always the question that was asked that got us upset, it’s our mental state at the moment. Had we had more space for those questions, for the tantrums, for the actions that can add to the business in our mind, we wouldn’t get frustrated by a single question or action.
I think of it like traffic. If you’re in a clear mental state, traffic will not bother you. It’s a reality of life, it’s there, we have to deal with it. There really is no other option but to wait and be patient. But, if your mind is cluttered, traffic will make you cranky and irritable.
Our goal should be to find ways to reduce the clutter and be able to manage the occasional traffic.
- Recognize when we may be approaching decision fatigue.
- Figure out ways to take a step back and reduce that mental clutter.
- Recognize how this fatigue can impact how we show up as parents and partners.