About a month ago, five people sent me the following article:
I usually take it as a sign of something important when more than 3 people send me the same article -- so I did what I do with all the other "important articles" (i.e. print it out and carry it around the house with me for a month).
I finally got to this one last night, and wow, yes, I do suffer from "Decision Fatigue" -- big time. This is it, exactly:
"No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways."
I think this is why it feels particularly hard to be a "good mother" after taking a full 4+ hour practice SAT. I'm sure my children know this on some level, which is why they work on me for months about important issues such as bellybutton rings, or new computers, and then pounce when they sense I'm weakest.
This usually results in one of two outcomes:
1) I finally snap and say "NO!" because I just can't take it anymore, and then my daughter calls my father to complain that I'm not listening to her.
2) I say "Yes," because I'm just plain old worn out -- or, as I now know from this article, I'm suffering from "a syndrome." It's times like these that I've said "yes" to such things as a trip to Italy, when I haven't even paid my bills.
The article says that the more mental work you do all day, the more prone you are to making dubious choices late in the day.
When there were fewer decisions, there was less decision fatigue. Today we feel overwhelmed because there are so many choices.
I love that all my symptoms have a label.
Illustrations by Jennifer Orkin Lewis