It’s not a surprise that the quality of our decisions is highly variable based on a lot of factors such as:
- Sleep quality
- Current mood state
- Physical environment
- The number of decisions we’ve made previously
Studies show that even those at the highest level of quality decisions makers are influenced by these factors. For example, let’s take experienced judges who are supposed to make the soundest decisions, weighing all the evidence, and filtering it through a logical lens that abides by the current law.
A study in 2011 showed that experienced judges were 65% more likely to grant in favor of parole if the decision was being made immediately after breakfast or lunch. The researchers hypothesize that when we are physically and mentally depleted, we tend to defer making decisions until later.
So what can you do to ensure you are making the best decisions?
Make sure your blood sugar is stable.
Yes, the term “hangry” is a real thing, and we tend to make more carefully considered decisions and make more determined efforts when are blood sugar is under control.
Take a short break.
When we are forced to make a ton of decisions in a row, we tend to start deferring. A short break can help us refocus our efforts. Try a midday workout class, a fueling nutrient-dense lunch, a walk outside, or a quick 3 minutes in a full-body Cryotherapy unit
Focus on a positive emotion.
There are many cognitive strategies to help refocus us. Download Insight Timer for thousands of short meditations that can help guide you when needed.
And lastly, if you want to read an incredible book by the king of willpower research, check out Dr. Ray Baumeister’s, “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength”.