The average American Adult makes 35,000,000 decisions a day. Yes you read that correctly and all of these decisions take a toll on your cognitive ability.
“The mere act of thinking about whether you prefer A or B tires you out,” Barry Schwartz, author of “The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less” says.
Good news and bad news is that most of these decisions are unconscious i.e. putting one foot in front of the other to walk or chew up and down after a bite of a sandwich-However, big or small that is a lot of decisions and studies show that the more decisions that are made the more diminished our cognitive ability is. So yes regardless of what time of day it is you can feel “fried” especially after a day (or morning) of multiple decisions.
So how does our brain manage to make so many decisions? The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain used for planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior. In 2014, researchers in Switzerland discovered that the prefrontal cortex not only shows increased activity during decisions requiring self-control, but during all decision-making processes. In other words, we use the same amount of brain power (if not more) to solve a chemistry problem as it does to decide which shoes to wear. And too many decisions literally deplete your cognitive function and you can suffer from “Decision Fatigue.” Consider the battery on our smartphone. If you stream a video, play a podcast and make multiple downloads you could deplete the battery before lunchtime and if you allow your battery to get to 0% it takes longer to re-charge than if you plug it in at 50% battery life. Consider you brain is the same way-our brains can literally run out of batteries and it can happen more quickly the more decisions, self-control and critical thinking we employ. Each choice we make drains a little more from our mental reservoir. If there are days you know you’ll need to be at the top of your game, reduce the number of choices you need to make on those days. Here are some more tips to consider:
With all of this in mind, before you consider one of Starbucks 87,000 drink combinations (that’s actually a real number!) Know your set order before you walk in the door. You will have more energy and cognitive abilities as a result. Is there a way you can cut down some of your decision-making? What are you going to automate this week in your business? Your creative process? Your home? Share it with me at [email protected]
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Originally published at carriedclarke.com