How has your week been? To tell the truth, I’ve struggled at times. Oh, don’t get me wrong. There have been no disasters, mishaps or incidents this last week but oh, have I been aware that something was lacking.
I first realised on Saturday as I struggled when asked “What tea would you like?”.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with different teas. Earl Grey is a long time favourite of mine and I’m a great fan of “Feel New” and “Elderberry and Echinacea” teas from Pukka… As I contemplated my answer to the tea question, I realised I couldn’t decide. Sometimes my answer is “I don’t mind” when I genuinely don’t have a preference. But this felt different. I simply couldn’t make a decision.
On reflection, yes, it’s been a tough few weeks. I may not have told you that we’ve had two very unexpected deaths in the family recently and I’m still trying to figure out if it’s safe to go out as lockdown in Wales is easing and I’m assessing whether to allow my sister, who’s been shielding, to experience more of the big wide world. And they are just the “big decisions” I’m juggling.
And all this decision-making seems to have used up my reserves of “decision-juice”. I simply had nothing left. This phenomenon is known as “decision fatigue” and it’s not unique to me.
We all make many decisions each and every day, hundreds, probably thousands. And decisions require mental energy. They contribute to mental load. I once read that Barack Obama said “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits, I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”.
Research also shows that court judges are not immune. Analysing 1,100 court decisions over the course of a year researchers noticed that prisoners who appeared early in the day received parole about 70% of the time, while those that came late in the evening had less than 10% chance at landing parole…. another very practical consequence of decision fatigue as the judges weigh the evidence laid before them.
For me there was no pain or struggle, simply a very strange absence of normal function and I knew I needed to replenish. Yes, in these still strange times, we need to be careful not to stretch too far or too fast, look after our basic needs and prioritise what will keep us healthy and happy.
And so I took a gentle weekend. Sat in the sunshine. I watched Pirates of the Caribbean with my sister who wanted to see something swashbuckling! Simple pleasures that didn’t demand too much “decision juice”.
Going forward to this week I’ve reduced the load on my decision-making machinery. I have a meal plan, no need to make multiple decisions about what to eat each day. I know my business priorities for the week. I also plan to use the first two hours of each day, when I am fresh and have most energy, to work on those priorities.
So what about you? We’re about 5 months into lockdown now, how do you manage making decisions. personal or professional? Do let me know.
In business I’ve had a good week. I delivered a mastermind group coaching session around the theme of “how to manage an Imposter hijack”, you know those moments when you are put on the spot and your brain freezes as your Imposter steps to the fore and takes over…
I recorded the teaching element and you can see it here: Brief introduction to Imposter Syndrome
If you’d be interested in finding out about group coaching sessions, do let me know that too. I’d love to hear from you.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!