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6 Ways to Enjoy a Calmer Life, Free From Decision Fatigue

We make a gazillion decisions each day. Or at least, it feels like we do.

And the more decisions in a day, the worse our decisions are by the end of the day — the research backs me up on this.

Following are [six] ways to defeat decision fatigue.

The acrostic CALMER will help you remember them — and it’ll remind you how you’ll feel when you reduce your decisions.

1. CHOOSE baseline CRITERIA

It takes energy to analyze every component of a decision each time you encounter it. When you set baseline criteria (or “rules”), you eliminate some of those decisions.

For example, in our household, we buy many grocery items based on the ‘lowest price’ criterion.

Well, except for toilet paper, which must be at least 2-ply and non-chafing, regardless of the price.

Additionally, baseline criteria can ease your life with kiddos. You could answer the “Can I…?” question 427 times in a single night. You know:

  • Can I watch TV?
  • Can I play on the computer?
  • Can I go over to Jimmy’s house?

Or, you can set a criterion: “No other activities until your homework’s finished.”

Heaven knows the kiddos will still ask to perform other activities, but your new gatekeeper response (“Let’s see your homework”) reduces the number of questions you have to decide.

2. AUTOMATE repetitive choices

When you automate some of your everyday decisions, you save time and mental energy.

Don’t scour all the sales ads for the greater tri-state area each week — or worse, drive to multiple Big Box stores each time you need something. Instead, choose one store and stick with it.

  • Baby shower to attend? Go to Target.
  • Dog ate your throw pillows… again? Target it is.
  • Your kiddo needs notecards for his research project, due tomorrow, and it’s 8:30 p.m.? Threaten to throttle your kid and then… head to Target.

No need to worry about every other stores’ sales because, over time, the prices will average out.

Other things to automate?

  • Eat Cheerios for breakfast each morning
  • Dub Fridays as Pizza-or-Pasta Night
  • And at our house, Kleenex Extra Soft tissues. Always.  (Yep; I’m “particular” about the items that touch my skin.)

When you know some of your choices ahead of time, you save valuable mental energy, which you can put to good use when you drag your jammie-wearing kids on a notecards search.

3. LET GO of the decision

Have you ever been with a group of people who tried to decide where to go for dinner? As college students (back in the Pleistocene era) my friends and I took hours to decide where to eat.

Although adults tend not to spend hours on a dinner decision (we have less free time or stamina than dorm-dwellers seem to), it can still be difficult to plan with a group.

Ask yourself: does the group need my opinion? If not, why not bow out and let everyone else decide? Your viewpoint’s often not as necessary as you think; at least, mine often isn’t.

Warning — only give up your right to choose if you can manage to not complain about the outcome.

Look for other decisions you can defer, as well.

For example, in my household peanut butter matters to my husband (crunchy, all natural). Although I enjoy both the creamy and crunchy varieties, I don’t have a strong preference so we buy the kind he likes.

Kendra Burrows
Kendra Burrows
Kendra Burrows has a passion for tending her earthly and spiritual gardens. Some days they overflow with blooms, other days the weeds threaten to prevail. In either case, she strives to mindfully recognize God’s grace in her daily life, and to encourage others to tend and nurture their own beautiful gardens. Kendra and her husband have three mostly-grown kids & a son-in-law between them. During the rainy season, she teaches psychology at the local college. Connect with Kendra at www.kendraburrows.com.

Toddler is Sick With Mystery Illness for 3 Months When Doctors Finally Discover What’s Lodged in Her Nose

A mom from the UK is sharing her story after her toddler suffered for three months with a mystery illness caused by an object unknowingly lodged in her nose.

Candace Cameron Bure’s Dreamy Family Vacation in Italy: ‘Take Me Back’

Candace Cameron Bure, loved for her roles on "Full House" and "Fuller House," recently took to Instagram to reminisce about her family's dream summer vacation in Italy.

Chip and Joanna Gaines: 11 Godly Secrets to an Epic Marriage and Family

Chip and Joanna Gaines are teaching us important lessons about marriage and family as they walk away from their HGTV show for the sake of their family.