Overwhelmed? 5 Steps that Make a Big Difference
As a life coach and business coach, I often help people get unstuck in areas of their lives that aren’t working or aren’t working as well as they’d like them to. And, as a coach, it’s critically important I walk the talk with respect to the advice I offer them.
Lately, I’ve noticed I haven’t been making decisions about some personal health issues as quickly and decisively as I normally would … and, at first, I couldn’t figure out why.
I needed to find some trusted health professionals to help me sort through some minor health issues I’ve been facing and just couldn’t seem to get started. I was stuck in the swirl of things … not taking action.
So, what to do coach?
I went inside and accessed my intuition. I also looked outside myself to gain ideas and resources that could help.
And what I discovered is I had decision fatigue!
Decision fatigue is a very real phenomenon that’s become even more pernicious since the pandemic descended upon us.
It’s estimated that the average American adult makes 35,000 decisions a day! That makes me tired just thinking about it.
There’s a limit to what our brains can process before we become increasingly incapacitated. A brain that started the day as a firm crisp apple is reduced to overcooked spaghetti squash the more decisions we have to make. So the obvious answer is to simplify your life, right?
But there are so many decisions I have to make … managing a thriving small business … owning a second home in another country that’s a vacation rental … and generally enjoying a busy life!
You know what I mean? Our circumstances might be different, but I bet you’re balancing a lot too.
So how could knowing more about decision fatigue help you?
Simply put, decision fatigue is feeling drained and mush-brained from making too many choices. It doesn’t matter how strong and generally resilient you are, your ability to make the best choices can eventually get exhausted. And that can lead to either risky decision making or decision avoidance.
So, the big question is, what can you do if you suspect you may be overloaded by decision fatigue? Here are some ideas that can really help, many of which I implemented myself. I found they made a BIG difference.
- One of the first things you can do is consciously whittle down the number of inconsequential decisions to be made.
- Establish habits and routines, so you don’t have to think. “Do I wait till later to exercise or do it before I eat?” “I exercise at 7 am. like clockwork.” Maintain the routines you already enjoy.
- Lock in on key decisions when your energy is highest. Make critical decisions earlier in the day or when you feel the most alert.
- Use the power of an afternoon nap … or just closing your eyes for a few minutes … so you can revisit a problem or decision in a refreshed state. A mid-afternoon meditation clears my head, and I often find something significant reveals itself after I’ve rested.
- If you’re unsure what to do … and you’re stuck in analysis-paralysis … just do SOMETHING! Anything … even if you’re afraid of making a mistake! Create that first baby step. That’s one of the things that made the biggest difference for me. Revisiting the same issue in my mind over and over with no resolution was exhausting and disempowering. Once I took the first step toward finding the information I needed to make a decision, the next step … and the step after that … revealed themselves like a flower opening. Naturally.
Modern life has become incredibly challenging, and it’s easy for us to load our plates with way too much information and stimuli, which create endless decision-making challenges. It’s easy to get overwhelmed before lunch.
We may not be able to make the modern world less challenging, but we can sure eliminate or minimize the overwhelm by reducing our decision-making to the essentials and not letting things fester.
And the beauty of it all?
You get to decide what gets loaded onto the decision-making conveyor belt … and what doesn’t!
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