Albert-Einstein-wallpaperDo you sometimes feel overwhelmed with life, just too many tasks that need fulfilling, too many appointments, and too many decisions to make? Do you often feel exhausted mentally and physically? Do you wish you could just SIMPLIFY!

If so, you’re not alone: join a few billion others.

Psychologists have coined a name for this 3rd Millennium phenomenon: decision fatigue. The good news is that there are remedies. First, though, let’s touch on some people who know, or who knew, about decision fatigue and who also took concrete steps to mitigate its negative effects.

Ever wonder why Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or Albert Einstein all looked the same in photos? It’s because they wore the same outfits day after day, day in, day out…same kind and color of shirt, pants, socks, shoes.
o-ZUCKERBERG-CLOTHES-facebookIn a recent interview, Google CEO Zuckerberg explained that he has so many decisions to make every day that he just doesn’t want to waste needed energy deciding what shirt to wear. Solution: he wears the same grey T-shirt every day.
Same with Steve Jobs and his signature black turtleneck with jeans and sneakers. Einstein reportedly bought several variations of the same gray suit so that he wouldn’t have to waste time deciding what to wear each morning. And Barack Obama says he also can’t afford to waste a single ounce of mental or physical energy on what suit to wear when he’s called upon every day to make life and death decisions.
So, if you feel the weight of life and too many things happening, try some strategies to simplify:
  • Make big decisions early in the day when your mind is fresh and clear: that gets them done when you’re at your peak and the key here is “done.” Everything from then on, is of lesser import. It’s still morning and you’ve already destressed.
  • Choose the simpler option. What choice makes you feel less overwhelmed? What’s the easiest route? Depending on the complexity of the issue, big decisions will require more time and will require you to think about long and short term goals. But for things that aren’t critical, the path of least resistance is often the better and faster choice.
  • Brainstorm for sure, but then limit the number of options. It’s usually relatively easy to cut nine choices to three, and doing that simplifies decision making and reduces energy expenditure.
  • Go minimalist. This can certainly apply to clothing, but also to food, work and household chores. Let’s face it, some people are just too picky about trivia. Best is to just get rid of things that don’t need doing, but if you must do them, do them as efficiently as possible. For e.g. you can make an excellent meal in 15 minutes instead of spending an hour: instant gain of 45 minutes and less stress, too.
  • Done is better than perfect. A job done today and reasonably well is better than one that is never finished while the doer won’t settle for less than perfection. Perfectionism often becomes procrastination. Anyway, perfection is rarely possible.
  • Remove yourself from situations or places that distract. Or at least keep your engagement to a minimum. Like social media, set a time limit. Or social engagements that you feel are pointless or even energy draining. Just cut back or stop entirely.
  • Keep “to do” lists reasonable. Many people have lists that are far too long. Give yourself a break and don’t set yourself up for constant disappointment for not finishing tasks that mere mortals can’t complete in a given timeframe. Beating yourself up is really bad for mental health.