Do You Need a Decision Day?

As I write this post, I’m at the my office, waiting for my husband and daughter to pick me up to go grocery shopping. This is a pretty obvious ending to the kind of day I like to call a “Decision Day”. Every couple of weeks I have a good decision day, and it’s a doozy. Today’s will end with a cart full of produce and a maxed out brain.

Contrary to what you might think, a “Decision Day” isn’t exactly a day where I decide whether I should send in my acceptance envelope to UCLA or UC Berkeley for college, or which NFL team I’m going to let draft me. (Is that how that works? Who knows. #sports)

Instead, it’s a day every few weeks where I set aside a chunk of time to make a bunch of small and medium-sized decisions. (For the record, I think large decisions require a lot of time on the back burner for a great solution to percolate up.)

Let’s back up. Remember decision fatigue? It’s the concept that we get fatigued by making tons of little decisions that make up our days, and it’s one I talk about a lot in my work on working well. The idea is that we tax our brain with these small decisions, and thus in order to FREE UP our brain and do our best work we should try to remove some of those small decisions from the equation. The theory goes that by eating the same breakfast, wearing the same black turtleneck, and driving the same way on your commute each day, you’ll have more energy and headspace to do better work.

I really dislike decision fatigue, and have tried to tweak some things in my own life to work around the state of depleted energy I feel after a harrowing 60-minute session searching for the perfect family flights home for the holidays, say.

In order to combat decision fatigue, one of the things I do is to proactively PLAN a day where I take on all these small and medium sized decisions. Today was just such a day.

Here is what I did:

  • I pulled the trigger on a medium sized work decision about a project I have coming up in 2018. It took a caffeinated coffee! (I’m a decaf girl.) I was really not sure which way to go, and I figured it out. Huzzah!
  • I got my Amazon Prime Day List ready. The deets: Tonight at 9 pm ET Amazon Prime Day starts. Basically it’s a 30-hour shopping holiday for Prime members, and some of my favorite items that I’ve put on my “watching” list include the Panda Daily Planner, the Hotels.com Gift Card, and the Universal Magnetic Car Mount. See tons of stuff here.
  • I made a decision on two upcoming flights.
  • I made a decision about orthodontia! (FUN.) I weighed all the Pros and Cons! It was not fun! I also dealt with the next steps on no less than 8 other doctors’ appointments that had been on my list! (#familyof5)
  • I went grocery shopping. (Instead of ordering it online, which we started doing some months back. Long story for another time.)
  • I attacked my email inbox. See my system here.

All in all, I did some fun stuff. And some really not fun stuff. But it all had to to with making choices. And, ultimately, I felt really good at the end of it. Why? Because I had decided. And now I could move on to the next stage of it all.

And, most importantly, I could start fresh tomorrow with my deep work, and NOT have the weird sense of a million tiny decisions I had to make hanging over my head.

Do you need a Decision Day?

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5 thoughts on “Do You Need a Decision Day?

  1. Decisions. Where was I reading that most decisions just require a decision? No right or wrong, because with most decisions there is an ample supply of alternatives buried within the future beyond that decision. I decided on a connecting flight but the first flight was delayed so I missed the connection. Had to do a layover. Dropped into a strange town. Didn’t know where to eat but picked a funky looking coffee shop where the cook in the back was singing along to that Johnny Cash June Carter biopic, breakfast menu was fine, coffee was good. Hadn’t planned for the day but somehow it was refreshing to wander around thru art galleries, book stores.

  2. Some very interesting thoughts on everyday decisions. I myself often find chronicling my tasks on my “agenda book” and keeping track of their progress, very helpful to.
    Thanks for sharing 😊

  3. Yes, I’m thinking about batching up some tasks that are decision heavy (editing, some emails) to 2 or 3 days per week. Thanks for the idea.

    Also, thinking about making decision about what to do tomorrow, & then setting everything needed out & ready to go. Easier to jump in & follow through the next day!

    Thanks,
    Juliasew

  4. Loved this. I, too, find that every-so-often I need to stop, do a brain dump and just get a fresh view. Those little decisions can pile up and slow down all my thinking ability.