Dealing with decision Fatigue 
Written by Emily English, September 2019
Emily English Marusa Kovacic Roelien Piron
Mind5 has been going through significant change in the last few months. We are growing and developing our connections in different countries around the world. Our flagship educational course - the Optimal Performance Leader - is being improved, and new avenues are being explored.  
All in all, it’s been an exciting few months. It’s also been fantastic to see some of our trainees doing so well and expanding their own businesses.  
Naturally, growth and development has its downfalls. Just after finishing our Optimal Performance Leader Program and her outdoor sports vacation our founder, Roelien, mentioned that she was struggling to make effective decisions. She said she was suffering from so called ‘decision fatigue’. I thought I’d do an experiment and see how the Mind5 M.E.T.H.O.D. fits in here. 

What is decision fatigue? 

Although I had never heard the term before, I understood what Roelien meant. I’m sure we’ve all experienced something like this at some point in our lives, whether this has been an inability to make decisions at all or a tendency to make poor decisions. Either way, it’s a well known feeling.  
"Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. "

Making poor decisions, or lacking the energy to make decisions at all, is not ideal - especially not if you want to achieve optimal levels of performance. So how can a physical and experientially based method help here? Surely decision fatigue is something entirely mental?

Indeed it is. It is intangible and perhaps difficult to describe. But it is not so difficult to explain and is certainly not difficult to resolve. You just have to know where to start. 
Optimal Performance Leaders, and Optimal Performance Leaders in training, will know that there are six components 
to the Mind5 M.E.T.H.O.D.. These include:

Managing Stress
Energy Management 
Team Work 
Holding Focus 
Optimal Performance 
And Development and Reflection. 
Managing Stress

Stress, prolonged stress in particular, is bound up in the occurrence of decision fatigue. If you have been under significant pressure to make good decisions for a long period of time without the opportunity to release and recover, you are likely to become tired of making decisions. Your brain has become fatigued. You wouldn’t train your body for weeks on end without a proper rest, so why should we expect our brains to function at a high intensity without a break? By recognising the signs of stress human beings are able to become more self-aware and ensure that they schedule in enough time for stress release. With practice, stress release can even be consciously induced. By allowing your brain to recover, you ensure that it can perform again in the future. 
Roelien Piron
Energy Management

Like any other type of fatigue, decision fatigue occurs when our energy levels have not been managed well. In this case, it would be beneficial to do tasks or activities which give you mental energy and sharpen your focus. We must balance our energy and not demand everything from ourselves all of the time. It simply doesn’t work in the long-term. Diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding impulsive behaviors can also improve and stabilise energy levels over time. 

Team Work

At work we are often required to make decisions as a team. Of course, team dynamics play a role here. But there are two parallel contexts at play. Each individual in the team needs to manage their stress and energy AND the team as a whole must do the same. Here, the theories behind priority setting, creating emotional safety in the workplace, and working towards agreed goals is crucial.
Optimal Performance

At Mind5, we like to think of Optimal Performance as being in a state of Flow. Flow is the feeling of being totally focused on a task which is stimulating and possesses the perfect level of challenge for the individual. A balance of skill set and challenge can be used to achieve this state. In the case of Roelien’s decision fatigue, it is likely that she had been challenging herself for too long. Expanding Mind5 Training B.V. is challenging and a little scary - as any new challenge should be. It pushes you out of your comfort zone. The problem is, we cannot be in Flow all of the time. Sometimes we must do simpler tasks in order to ensure recovery and enable Flow to occur again in the future. 
Want to find out more about how Mind5 Optimal Performance Leaders create awareness of behavioural patterns through physical and mental challenges? 

Want to know more about the theory behind the Mind5 M.E.T.H.O.D. or help others who are struggling with decision fatigue?

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