7 ways I’m minimizing decision fatigue in my daily life.

7 ways I’m minimizing decision fatigue in my daily life.

Since I began thinking hard about people who wear the same thing every day, I’ve been examining other ways to minimize decisions in my daily life.

I’ve put this into practice in obvious ways, and unusual ones. Here are a few practices to minimize decision fatigue and maximize productivity and creativity.

1. EAT THE SAME THING.
Back in my Crossfit days, many of our gym’s elite performers ate the same thing every day, and I mean the exact same thing: turkey, green beans, and almonds, 5 mini-meals per day, with only dinner for variety. They aren’t alone: many successful people regularly eat the same thing to free up mental space.

2. … OR ALMOST THE SAME THING.
There are less drastic ways to implement the same principle. We have pizza every Friday. My friend goes further than this (and I’m thinking of following her lead): she’s made a loose weekly formula for her family’s meals to guide their choices: Asian on Monday, Mexican on Tuesday, Italian on Wednesday. (More ideas on formulas here.)

3. EMBRACE DAILY ROUTINES.
I make coffee every morning, then sit down at the computer (or grab a legal pad) and start writing. (Not facebook, not email. Writing.) Then I’m out the door for a run. (Okay, not this week—but I can’t wait till the ice melts off our streets.)

It turns out I’m doing something right: time management experts say if you don’t know where to start, start with implementing a morning routine and evening routine. I also have a routine for the 2:00 hour, which is when I hit my daily slump.

4. ESTABLISH HARD EDGES IN YOUR DAY.
This tip is from the pithy guide Manage Your Day to Day. “Set a start time and a finish time for your workday, even if you work alone. Dedicate different times of day to different activities: creative work, meetings, correspondence, administrative work, and so on. These hard edges keep tasks from taking longer than they need to and encroaching on your other important work. They also help you avoid workaholism, which is far less productive than it sounds.”

I’ve been gradually building more of these hard edges into my day. I’d especially recommend it if you flirt with burnout.

5. CREATE IF-THEN RULES FOR YOURSELF.
I learned this trick from 3 tiny habits and the Heath Brothers. You’re much more likely to follow through on your good intentions if you use if-then planning: if X happens, then I will do Y.  The if-then allows you to decide your course of action in advance, before you’re tired, stressed, or swamped.

For me, this looks like: If I pour a cup of coffee, then I pour a glass of water. If I’m at Trader Joe’s for the first time in a week, then I buy fresh flowers. If it’s 4:00 p.m. and I haven’t been to the park yet, then it’s time to walk the dog.

6. IF IT INCITES DECISION ANGST, DROP IT.
Otherwise known as “why we dropped our Costco membership.” I loved having gone to Costco, but I hated going. It didn’t fit smoothly into our routine—I was never in that part of town—and I dreaded making the trip. If we need to make a major a major purchase, we’ll be back (they have the best warranty around), but until then, I’m enjoying having one less option to consider.

7. LIMIT YOUR OPTIONS.
This is straight out of The Paradox of Choice. Too many options are just as bad as not enough: we’re happier and more productive when we consider fewer possibilities. Here’s a recent example. We’ve needed new bedding for a while. I didn’t like the options at our local bedding store, but when I started looking online I was overwhelmed by the choices. I couldn’t handle shopping the whole internet, or even the whole mall. I needed fewer options.

I explained my dilemma to my designer friend and asked her to tell me where to shop. She recommended a single store, which brought my options back into the reasonable range. (Her answer: Pottery Barn. She also suggested I should wait for March’s great linen sales, buy a duvet cover instead of a king comforter for ease of washing, and watch the sales online and in the store because they’re totally out of sync.)

How do you streamline decision making in your daily life? I’d love to hear your obvious and not-so-obvious tips and tricks?

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87 comments

  1. Jamie says:

    Thanks for this post, and lots to think about!

    I have to admit I can’t quite get behind eating exactly the same thing every day – evidence is mounting that doing so sets people up for developing food sensitivities. It’s also not really healthy (even when you pick healthy options), because our bodies need a wide variety of micro-nutrients. If you only eat the same handful of foods, even with variety at dinner you will never come close to getting a balanced and sufficient intake of the foundational nutrients your body needs.

    That said, I am a HUGE fan of the weekly meal formula idea! I use it consistently, and it has simplified (and speeded up) my meal planning and food prep routines tremendously.

    I may have to look at how I can apply the “hard edges” and “if-then” rules. I’m in a period of transition that will result in me being home more, and looking to actively develop smart and efficient new patterns of behavior up front to ensure I keep making the most of my time. This post gave me lots to think about on that score! 🙂

    • Cori says:

      I was going to mention the same thing about food sensitivities and eating the same thing daily. I suffer from food sensitivities myself and numerous doctors have urged me to rotate my food every 3 days. While that gets complciated, I do try to rotate foods as much as I can. Also I think of kiddos who eat the same thing everyday. They are missing out on the chance to learn to be flexible and try new foods. My daughter has struggled with food and sensory issues for 5 years now. I have found the best way to help her is to serve her new and different foods everyday and every meal.

    • Anne says:

      You’re totally right about eating the same thing every day. (Especially for kids!) I understand it why people do it short-term for performance reasons, but as a sustainable lifestyle strategy—not so much. We do very well with the “almost the same thing every day” around here.

      I’ve actually heard of interesting variations on #1, like if you do a lot of business lunches that are actually about business, make a one-time decision about what you’ll always eat in that situation (like you always get the Chicken caesar salad) so you can focus on business, not on menu decisions.

    • I have to agree about the food variety. I am a self proclaimed home chef and we eat a lot of variety. I make meal plans for the week and then save them according to season, so if I don’t feel like meal planning I can go to back to the same one from a previous week. Thanks for the suggestions.

  2. Courtney says:

    Yes! I get overwhelmed by too many choices as well, so I implemented a new rule “30 second” when it comes to grocery shopping. Basically, I take 30 seconds to quickly scan the options – such as the 50 different kinds of toilet paper – then I pick one and move on. I leave the grocery store faster and with less frustration!

    Meal planning has also been amazingly helpful to me in this area. For the past couple of months I’ve been planning a month’s worth of meals in advance, and making liberal use of my slow cooker and freezer meals. It takes a little more time investment up front, but it’s so incredible to not have to think about what we’re having for the entire month after that. With everything planned, my husband and I also just do one big shopping trip on the weekend instead of multiple trips during the week.

    I’ve also done the “same thing every day” routine for lunches. We ate sandwiches for lunch for months, just varying the type of lunch meat or maybe a topping here and there. We also switched up the fruit we ate with them. It worked great in terms of ease, but did get a little boring after a while. I’m going to try some of the others on your list and see what happens!

  3. This was incredibly helpful when my kids were small (I had 3 kids in less than 4 years) and when I was recovering from surgery. Decision fatigue is ten times worse when it’s layered on top of excruciating physical fatigue. I think if you’ve always been a super capable person who could juggle lots of balls, it’s difficult to realize that limiting decisions on purpose is even an option in the first place!

    – I realized that pretty much all my housekeeping could be figured out if I stuck to one rule: spend 5 minutes every day on each room of the house. Even if all I do is pick things up and put away for a few days, I eventually get things cleared up enough to clean well in those last couple of days! No detailed lists, no considering what I need to do on what day. Just spend those 5 minutes picking up until there’s time left over to dust, scrub, wipe, etc. And then you can get to stuff like clearing out a drawer or dusting the top of the window frames. 🙂

    – It helps the kids to reduce meals to a take-it-or-leave-it approach. No wasting time asking who wants toast vs english muffin, grape vs strawberry jam, milk or juice. I let them vote the night before on what they’d prefer sometimes, but making one tasty thing and serving it at the same time keeps mornings sane.

    – I shop mostly at one grocery store, and order stuff from Amazon’s Subscribe and Save to keep me from hitting Target randomly and dropping $100 every time. I figured out our list of things that would run out and send us running out… dishwashing detergent, maple syrup (we love our pancakes!), rubber gloves for cleaning, toilet paper, and melatonin, which is twice as much at the health food store, and is one of those things that, if you need it, you *really* need it.

    • These *are* great ideas. I was going to post a comment that what I find most disorienting about the newborn stage is the total lack of a routine. Sometimes the baby takes a 30 minute nap. Other times it’s 3 hours (!) If I knew I was going to get a 3-hour nap, I’d plan it very well, but since I don’t know that, it’s hard to figure out what to do, and the decision making saps what’s not a huge amount of energy to start with. I’ve been trying to keep limited to do lists for the day, and starting on whatever is number 1 on the list as soon as I get a minute. If I’ve decided on the day’s list the day before, then I’m not deciding in the moment.

      • Anne says:

        I remember that so clearly about the baby stage, and I’m not in the thick of it like you are! Your list strategy sounds like a good one. I’ve never been great at deciding in the moment, and the baby stage certainly didn’t help that.

      • Jennifer H says:

        I use to-do lists at work instead of a calendar. At the end of each week, I make my list for the following week, so I can jump right in on Monday morning without figuring out what I need to do first. If an item has a deadline, I mark that in pencil next to it. When I finish one thing, I use a yellow highlighter to mark through it. Anything that doesn’t get done by the end of the week gets a decision – either it wasn’t important enough and I can drop it or it moves to the next week’s list. Sometimes I use this technique at home, mostly when I’m getting ready for a vacation or some event, but now that I’m reading this, I need to start doing more of it at home 🙂

    • “take-it-or-leave-it approach”

      Amen mama! in my experience children can be taught to eat what’s on their plate. And my house we say “you don’t have to like it but you do have to eat it”. Simple. I also tell mine ” oh, when you get older you’ll like it”.

  4. Whitney says:

    This is exactly what I experienced when we moved back to the States after three years in Cambodia. I get absolutely overwhelmed by all the choices! Major decision paralysis! But that affects all areas of life. We couldn’t go to Starbucks in our town, and now, the menu there almost puts me into a panic. So I limit my exposure. We try to only go to Costco once or twice a month for a very specific list of things. I avoid Target because I get distracted by all the pretty things and then get angsty over whether to buy them (thanks to you introducing ePantry to me, that is much easier! Which also – ePantry has fewer but higher-quality choices which makes the decision much easier!). And I started using Plan to Eat to plan out dinners for a month so I don’t have to go through that mess every weekend. Sometimes more choice is not a good thing; sometimes it’s just more hassle than it’s worth!

    • Andi says:

      Whitney,

      Oh, sister! I feel your pain! I lived in West Africa then in South Central Asia for 5 years total. Now, I’m back overseas again and trying to decipher local products again. When we came home, Target induced tears. It was just overwhelming. Taking the US in small chunks was my best point of entry. Like…knowing what I wanted at Starbucks and not paying attention to the choices. I also had a really hard time not hoarding things. Where we lived, if you saw something you usually could not get, the best strategy was to buy as much of it as possible (like the time I bought an entire wheel of parmesan cheese or the other time I bought 18 pints of Haagen-Dazs because I had not seen it in 2 years…). I had to really be careful of the knee-jerk hoarding.

      Big hugs to you and welcome home!

      • haha! yes, so much truth in the fact that we have hoarding tendencies! Costco freaked me out at first, then thrilled me, because I could buy large quantities of everything. I think I’m finding my happy medium, though, and trying not to go extreme either way 🙂

    • Nikki says:

      I totally get the theory behind this and how it might work for some people, but I’ve found that if I shop at multiple stores (best deals, proximity to wherever I am that day, etc), I have to plan what I’m buying where instead of just winging it and staying in the store forever. Regular grocery lists and individual stores don’t do it for me.

    • I used to go to three or four stores every week, not now. I dreaded it every week and it took 3 hours…3 hours! Now I’m down to two and sometimes just one. You can do it! We can do it! 🙂

  5. Tina B says:

    I agree that we have too many choices. I was out with 3 friends and it was nearly paralyzing trying to figure out where to go for dinner. I selected my 3 favorite restaurants and said that someone else had to choose. It’s kinda crazy but it happens way too often!

    My pattern for meals is to plan the week in advance before going to the grocery store then lunches are typically leftovers from previous night’s dinner. It’s easy, saves time, money and effort.

  6. I love the eating the same thing idea-and my kids and I both do it for breakfast and lunch. My kids eat oatmeal most breakfasts, and pbj’s, pretzels, cookies and fruit for lunch. I eat granola with fruit for breakfast, and generally fruit, cheese and cookies for lunch. It makes life way easier and is healthy. I do lots of variety for dinner. I don’t really have any formula because I love the variety at dinner and because I am still trying out tons of recipes for She Plans Dinner. I do try to have easy dinners on Mondays and Thursdays because those are my busiest days. I also have a rhythm for my days. It helps when I am not sure what to do.
    Great post!

    • Nikki says:

      I have literal panic attacks if I start my day with anything other than a bowl of oatmeal with fruit. We’ve just started implementing a meal plan (to save money as well) for dinners and it’s been fabulous for us. I know exactly what’s happening at the beginning and at the end of my days, I love it.

  7. Ana says:

    I love these tips. I have to see what I can do about #6 and #7 to make things easier. I haven’t whittled down my wardrobe yet, but I do eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch almost every weekday—actually same breakfast 5 days, same lunch 4 days and then I get to go to the food carts or cafeteria and get something fun on Friday. It definitely cuts down on trying to figure things out in the morning rush.

  8. Susan says:

    This is a wonderful post. I sometimes think I’m the only person who struggles with all the decisions that come up through the week. It’s nice to know there are others out there going through the same thing and to learn about the strategies they use to cope.

    I have a couple of strategies that have really helped reduce decision making. First, I follow the “wear the same thing every day” rule. I live on an acreage, so most days I put on black scrub pants and a black or gray t-shirt. Both are inexpensive and easily washable (I encounter a lot of dirt and manure in my daily life). I have black and blue dressy jeans with nice blouses for times I have to go “off the farm” and one nice black dress for formal occasions and funerals. Period. No thought goes into getting dressed as all accessories go with all “off the farm” clothes.

    Secondly, I made a weekly menu template that makes meal planning a breeze. I put the template in a cheap glass photo frame and write on the glass with a wet erase marker. The dinners are labeled 1 through 7, so if something comes up and we aren’t home for a meal, we just have the planned meal the next day. Because I don’t want a lot of decisions, but like a lot of variety in meals, the template lists a slower cooker meal, a chicken (or poultry) meal, a pork meal, a soup or sandwich meal, a beef meal, a pasta meal, and a cook’s choice (or take-out) meal. To further simplify my life, I double or triple recipes whenever I make something that can be frozen. That way, even if I have a beef meal listed, I may very well have a beef meal already in the freezer, ready to heat.

    Thirdly, I have my husband shop Costco and Sam’s Club. He NEVER buys anything that isn’t on the list, and I don’t have to face all the new products and shiny objects drawing my attention away from my list.

  9. Sarah R says:

    We plan our meals a week in advance. Breakfast and lunch tends to be the same one or two options each day for that week, and there’s typically leftovers from the dinner before as well. We also do pizza every Friday.

    I go grocery shopping every Friday morning at Trader Joe’s and Target. To help from getting distracted, I bring my 2 year old. She is usually very good, but she has her limits, and that helps me move through the store somewhat quickly! I also will avoid certain areas if I know I’ll be tempted to linger. We go to Costco once or twice a month (it’s a 20 minute drive) and plan to buy things that we can freeze.

    I also have routines, and part of my morning routine is to make a “to do” list of things I want/need to do that day.

    For cleaning, I have a weekly cleaning schedule. Monday is my kitchen day, so I work hard at cleaning that. For the rest of the house, I borrowed a trick from Happier at Home (Gretchen Rubin) where she spends 10 minutes at the end of the day tidying up. That is actually a relaxing way to end the day!

    For times when I have decision overload, I make my husband make the decision!

  10. Sara Furlong says:

    I shop at Aldi! The store is so small and usually has only like 1-2 options per product, yet they usually have nearly everything I need. I am out of there in no time and I’m not drained like I am after working my way through a huge store and considering 20+ brands of each product! (The price savings helps to boost my mood, too!)

    • ALDI – this is one of my favorite ways to reduce decision fatigue. My children even noticed that once we started doing most of our shopping at Aldi I was in a better mood on grocery shopping day lol! Aldi keeps getting better and better with more organic and GF options every week.

      Anne this is one of my favorite topics and something that I’m constantly revisiting in my life. One of the things that’s exhausting about having a lot of children is all of the interactions that I have all day, so eliminating unnecessary decisions help me have more patience.

      I have a VERY small wardrobe. I’m inspired by French women who have tiny but carefully chosen wardrobes. Right now it’s smaller than usual because I’m still losing baby weight postpartum. I own 2 pairs of pants and 4 shirts. I’m training myself to spend more, which is hard for me, on fewer items.

    • Anne says:

      We don’t have an Aldi near us but this is exactly why I adore Trader Joe’s and Lucky’s. They’re tiny and the options are limited—and 95% of the time I LOVE that.

  11. I love these tips! When I’m in the eating healthy mode, I do tend to eat the same things all day long until dinner at night. It really does help me to stay on track. I also loved your post about wearing the same clothing all the time, another trick that I do also. Saves a lot of mental energy! If I find a white or black top that I love, then I will buy several. Same for yoga pants and jeans.

  12. Anna says:

    I do most of these too, but what’s funny is how much I cringe when I think about them and feel the need to explain away that I only do it out of necessity. And if anyone from a more rigid personality starts talking about it I get freaked out and have to point out that I can’t be too rigid. For sanity’s sake I need these time-savers, but for sanity’s sake I also need as few of them as possible. Too much structure and I wilt and get depressed. There has to be a random factor to sweeten the routine. One note: Eating the same thing every day can be great (although I would HATE it) – but for the subset of the population who sensitizes to foods it is a health disaster. It’s good to know if that’s you or not (it’s me and my baby – the allergy queen and king). We have a two week rotation of meals that I change up every few weeks, and pizza every Friday.

    • Anne says:

      I’m with you—I am one of those people who can’t eat the same thing every day! And it’s worse for kids. We go with more #2 around here, except for breakfast, which really does look the same almost every day.

  13. Julie R says:

    I’d love to know more about your 2:00 pm routine. That’s a low energy time for me, and I think a standard routine would help me power through it.

  14. Kelly says:

    I really ADORE your blog. It is one of my top 3 that I really really look forward to every single day. Your posts are super easy to read. Your topics are awesome. I especially love love love anything having to do with reading. I depend on your suggestions all the time. I love the “what’s on my nightstand” or any post having to do with books, blogs, apps, or favorites. I just wanted to thank you for the time you spend on making your blog so user friendly and awesome !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy reading!

  15. Faith R says:

    I learned the phrase “decision fatigue” from your blog and it fits so perfectly to how I often feel. I have learned so many helpful tips for managing this from you. I think of different areas of my life as having a template now. I have my uniform/template for what to wear now – a button down shirt, jeans and flats. The only thing I need to decide now is which of four or five shirts I’m going to wear. It’s wonderful. Today I thought about wearing something else for about ten seconds then realized that I was feeling stressed and went with my go-to rainy-day shirt.
    I also have a template for my day – we have a morning routine-ish till ten when we go out, shopping, library or park. Sometimes a play date. If I schedule a play date I always schedule it at ten. After our time out of the house we have lunch, do pre-school activities and then have screen time till the siblings get off of the bus.
    I also limit how many teas I have in my house. I used to have lots of different kinds but now I typically have two and now that I have found two (chamomile and Earl Gray) that I really like I just always keep the same two in my pantry and don’t worry about it.
    Computer time decision making: over the summer I got totally overwhelmed with making decisions about screen times – so this is what we did. Each of our kids have their own account on our Mac, each child’s account has parental controls set so they can have a limited number of hours (during the summer it was set to 2hours per day) and I told my kids that they could play on the computer whenever they wanted to so long as their chores were done and they had to work it out amongst themselves who would get how long of a turn when. They actually made it work pretty well with minimal intervention from me.
    I also delegate some decision making – to my husband or one of my kids, when I can. I have also learned to say “I really CAN NOT make another decision right now.”
    I like the idea of the meal-planning template. Meal planing is the WORST for me! Have you tried the e-meals meal planning subscription service? I’ve considered doing something like that.

  16. Alison Pike says:

    Great post!
    I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. A smoothie with two fruits for breakfast, and a big salad for lunch. That way I have my 5-a-day done and dusted. Nice.
    Something else I’ve found helpful is something my partner pointed out a few years ago, and I think of it often. When decisions are really hard to make, it usually means that there isn’t much in it. Obvious when you think about it, and a freeing realisation.

  17. Lindsay says:

    I am totally that person who cannot eat at the Cheesecake Factory because the sheer number of menu items freaks me out :). I really like having limited options, it’s such as time saver. I loved all of your ideas!
    I too shop at either Trader Joe’s or Aldi often. I always get fresh flowers at Trader Joe’s. It’s amazing how much faster I can get through the smaller stores. I am also looking into starting to get some of our bulk items delivered either through Azure Standard or Amazon. We are getting a Lucky’s nearby soon too, so I will have to check them out.
    We eat eggs or oatmeal most mornings. We like to have “snack lunch” which means lots of little things usually fruits, veggies, cheese, popcorn, yogurt, etc. My kids enjoy it and I like not fighting about food. I go back and forth with dinner. Sometimes I have a strict plan, other times I don’t. I liked the idea of a theme night like Asian or Mexican instead of a specific food. Still limits choices, but a little freedom in there too.
    I made a capsule wardrobe this year and that has taken a lot of decision making out of my day as well. Thanks for the ideas!

  18. Anne says:

    I like how you embrace the daily slump! Is it a pretty hard stop? I’ve wondered if my break should be….otherwise, it’s easy to let things take over down time. 🙂

  19. Jamie says:

    I am a little jealous of this post. For one thing, my husband loves variety and options. I do, too, but I am much more prone to getting overwhelmed by them. So we more or less compromise. I rotate the same basic 20 recipes, but try to do new things off Pinterest each month. I mainly shop at Aldi and Dillon’s (a local chain) but we have some products we haven’t let go of at bigger chain stores.

    One thing I go back and forth on is that capsule wardrobe. I have WAY too many clothes and am such a sucker for fun new ones. But the idea of only a few pieces that are high quality appeals to me. I do not think it would appeal to my hubs!

    I love the phrase someone used in the comments: template for our days. It’s less of a schedule and more of a rhythm. But we tend to do library and playdates and errands and chores at similar times each week.

    Other stuff: Before head out for school, load of laundry and dinner prepped. After lunch, coffee, focused prayer, write, read. Evening, prep morning coffee and clean kitchen. (I do feel the need to say these things do not happen perfectly every day. But…template.)

    I just love your blog! I’ve learned so much from it.

  20. Karenlynna says:

    I love this topic!
    Since I started homeschooling back in 2002 or 2003, I’ve had a monthly menu so I don’t have to make that decision every day. I have a general template that includes Beans & Rice on Mondays and Pizza on Fridays. Sometimes I rearrange it, but usually it is best to go with the decision I had already made.
    Piggy-backed with this is my monthly Big Shop. I have a master shop list of my four favorite stores (Sam’s, Aldi, Walmart, & Kroger) & I carefully check the stock in the house for everything and mark it on that list. In two days I get to those four stores and am I all set for the month. Fresh produce and dairy can easily be picked up by my husband or we’ll go to Sams again just for fun. In January I decided to double my efforts and did menus and shopping for two months. The house was packed to the gills at first and I did have a few disasters like no sour cream on Thursday’s Mexican night, but overall it has lessened my stress even more. You’ve got me thinking about eliminating one of my four to simplify just a bit more!

  21. Jo says:

    I used to do this when I cycled to work and needed to pack clothes the night before. I just wore a pair of dark jeans and had a selection of coloured t-shirts and v-neck jumpers. Pick one of each and I was good to go each day. Most went ok together in most combinations!

    I would definitely eat the same thing for days on end if I didn’t live with someone else.

    I have certain internal rules I live by too such ‘wooden furniture must be solid oak’ to go with our house, ‘nothing with bones, paws or other doggy emblems’ on the stuff for the dogs , ‘only keep mugs with farmyard animals on them’ – weird I know but allowed me to clear out a whole load of extra mugs without feeling guilty!

  22. Decision fatigue is why I didn’t go to my college class today. I am in the process of developing a capsule wardrobe because it seems like all of a sudden most of my clothes have stains, snags, holes,or are otherwise completely uncomfortable. I am journaling about what type of routine I would like to have right now . . . These are great suggestions!

  23. jackie says:

    I read somewhere recently a post on how to save money on clothes (I think it was Money Talks News) about the concept of a personal uniform. Wearing basically the same thing every day. That’s me with my jeans, black cotton shell and black loafers.

  24. wow, this is an excellent list! Especially love #4 and #5 and I’m sending this post to my husband who also works from home.

    However, I adore food and cooking, so I would never ever eat the same thing every day. I do menu plan so that my shopping is efficient, but my real tool for getting meals on the table is my supper notebook. Each evening I jot down in a notebook what we ate for supper and where I found the recipes, if any. I even include social nights out and when family and friends joined us. Then, when I am blanking on what to have for dinner or what to put on the menu plan, I flip back over the previous years and see what we had before in February. . . . BEST source of ideas and reminders for me!

    Also, really helpful for my decision making recently has been this: move from clarity to clarity. If I don’t have clarity, I don’t act. I wait until I have clarity on a decision, even tiny ones. This might be a personality thing, but sometimes I just need a little extra time. If I’m hesitating over a purchase, I put it down and walk away. I blogged about this process and how it’s been working for me here: http://thriftathome.blogspot.com/2014/10/a-mended-hanky.html

  25. Keah says:

    I notice decision fatigue the most at restaurants. I try to order from the daily specials’ menu instead of the regular menu because the options are more limited.

  26. Kimberly says:

    Can you explain more about ” If we need to make a major a major purchase, we’ll be back (they have the best warranty around), but until then, I’m enjoying having one less option to consider.”

    We have a costco membership and I feel like I’m missing something. We’re in the process of refrigerator shopping. I’d love to narrow down my choices and eliminating a store or two based on warrenty seems a good way to go. Thanks!

  27. I’m the kind of person who can really struggle with ordering at restaurants. Years ago, I noticed that there is usually l at least one item on a menu that makes me say “Ooh! That sounds good!” Often aloud, haha. So I decided that when I hear myself say “Ooh!” I close the menu and order whatever made me say it. That one decision has saved me untold deliberation time, and made meals out with others much more pleasant!

  28. Jocelyn says:

    This is such an awesome post. I wanted to by an e-reader so first question was … should I get a Kindle or a tablet? I tried to get advice from a store but everyone was very unhelpful and I couldn’t even touch the options … they were all locked up like dangerous beasts. I surfed the net and read reviews and in the end, completely overwhelmed and just exhausted I chose a HP Slate. Why? I love HP (for no logical reason – I know nothing about the company) but the real reason was the word Slate. Yes, I love the word Slate. It’s Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls Wilder. It’s all their fault. Am I happy about my choice? No. But I couldn’t have made any other one.

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