years of research is showing us that self restraint is actually more like a muscle. use it too much and it gets tired. judges in court make less favorable decisions later in their day. more infomercials are run late at night than are run first thing in the morning. meetings and conference calls later on in the work day are less likely to conclude with a decisive or actionable outcome.
it’s true… decision fatigue is a real thing.
in their book switch, chip and dan heath give a few guidelines on how to make difficult changes take hold—one of those guidelines: remove roadblocks. make it as easy as possible to do what needs to be done.
we can plan for self restraint. we can structure our days to get the most out of our decisions. preparation is key. pack your lunch and choose your clothes for the next day and lay them out at night before you go to sleep. hold all your most important meetings (or conduct your most important work) early in the day. schedule breaks for yourself and don’t bounce endlessly from one meeting to the next.
where do you need help making better choices? how can you begin to plan self restraint into that part of your day?