Brain Drain: Learn to Make Fewer Decisions

Decision making is not our strong point.

As people with ADHD, we have lots of experience with making mistakes. So when we have an opportunity to make a decision about something – cake or pie – we tend to give it a lot of thought. We want to make the right decision and we end up overthinking things.

Research has shown that we have a limited supply of cognitive resources like willpower, focus, concentration, and problem solving. Once those sources are depleted (called decision fatigue) – which can happen very quickly – we tend to make bad decisions like:

  • Getting angry
  • Overspending
  • Making poor food choices or overeating
  • Making poor decisions

The thing is, you can be decision fatigued and not know it. It’s not like being physically tired when you are aware that your body needs rest.

Brain Drain_ Learn to Make Fewer Decisions

So what can you do about decision fatigue?

The easy answer is to make fewer decisions. This not only helps you avoid the negative consequences of depleted cognitive resources, but it also simplifies your life. Perfect for us!

I know what you’re thinking. How in the world can I make fewer decisions?

There are a lot of ways. Here are some to get you started:

  • Embrace the idea of simplicity. You might want to go back to my series in October and read some of those posts for ideas. Here’s one: shopping at Aldi’s instead of another store saves you decision making because Aldi’s limits their selections to just a few.
  • Make a meal plan in advance. You can even have set days for certain meals. My mom always made some sort of roast on Sunday and then we had leftovers on Tuesday. We always had pizza on Fridays. Get it? You could even sign up for a meal planning service. Most are very affordable. The only drawback is if there is something on the plan that you don’t like.
  • Sign up for regular deliveries of things you use a lot. Amazon has one called Amazon Pantry Prime. You save money and don’t run out of things you use all the time.
  • Put together a uniform for your days, whether it’s work, at home, or both. Work might mean nice pants, a shirt, and a jacket. Keep to a simple color palette and everything will work together. And be sure to lay out your clothes for the week on Sunday.
  • Keep a dump list. (I’m researching a planning method similar to this; more later.) Getting everything out of your head and onto paper will save your brain for better use.
  • For things like gift giving, especially this time of year, choose a theme and stick with that. It might be music or experiences like tickets to an event or movies, books, sweaters and so on. Even gift cards will work, if you’re stuck. Oh, and ask for lists.
  • Learn to trust your gut and your intuition and then just go with it.
  • Learn to delegate. Do you really have to decide what’s for dinner every day or could everyone else pitch in a few ideas?

Start giving some conscious thought to the decisions you make each day and see if you can figure out how to make less of them. And while you’re at it, see if you can begin to tell when you are mentally fatigued. That can be a real help.

If you know someone who could benefit from this, be sure to share or Pin!

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About Brenda Nicholson

I am an ADHD Expert, Coach, and Consultant. I want you to learn how to celebrate your life with ADHD too.

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