Programmed Decision-Making: The Simple and Smart Way to Beat Decision Fatigue

(Last Updated On: February 14, 2022)

Your life is shaped by the decisions you take every second. Making decisions all day and every day requires a lot of work and can be very tiring. It is therefore not surprising that many successful people, who have to make a large number of important decisions, do everything they can to reduce their choices when and where they can. Programmed Decision-Making is a strategy that help them doing that.

programmed-decision-making - successful people do everything they can do to reduce their choices with programmed decision-making

Overcoming Decision Fatigue

We have seen that your decisions shape your life, and everything in your life is shaped by your decisions. It’s important to eliminate decisions from your daily life not because they are simply “mentally exhausting”, but they create in your mind a much more important phenomen, the decision fatigue. We work on a certain number of daily decisions that we can make.

Once exhausted, we are no longer able to make choices, or at least make good ones. By eliminating decisions during the day, you make sure you have plenty of decision-making skills for when it counts.

So, What is Progammed Decision-Making?

Programmed Decision-Making is a strategy to reduce choices and decisional effort. A simple definition I like is from and says: “Programmed decision-making is a repetitive decision that can be handled by a routine approach and is not new. In this decision making process you have set procedure, rules and policies to follow.”

This is usually a business concept, but applies equally well to your personal life.

This happens with two steps:

  1. Use routines to get automated decision-making without having to be actively involved in the decision-making process.
  2. Use habits to get things done more easily, and eventually make it effortless.

automated decision-making - Use routines to get automated decision-making and use habits to make it effortless

A Programmed Decision Example

Let me give you an example. You have to dress for work every day. This may involve some different decisions on your part, how hot your clothes should be, what particular top and pants you should wear. Then there are shoes, accessories, etc. The list could go on and on.

However, if you want to eliminate all those small decisions, invent a “uniform” for yourself. For example, in the case of Steve Jobs that involved wearing a black turtleneck and jeans. For Mark Zuckerberg, it’s a gray shirt and a favorite hoodie. They possessed more upper and lower parts in the same style and wore them day after day.

These are just little examples of programmed decision-making.

Programmed decision example -“Simplify and Rotate“ Is a Programmed Decision Example That Applies To a Variety of Daily Situations

Programmed Decision-Making: Simplify and Rotate

You don’t have to go so extreme, but you can simplify your wardrobe. Find some clothes that you like and turn them through. Or create a small capsule closet where everything goes well with everything else. Make it work for you and turn into a routine that involves no decision-making or willpower on your part.

Rapid decision making - Habits and Routines Enable RAPID Decision-Making and Leave You Energy for More Important Decisions

This kind of strategy, that we could call “simplify and rotate”, is easy to apply in a variety of daily situations where you have to take recurring decisions on not-so-strategic tasks. This can be applied for example to your to-do list, what are you prepare for dinner every day, setup a business meeting on how things are going, and so on.

You can see how these strategies enable rapid decision-making and leave you more energy for more important decisions.

Looking for Programmed Decision-Making Opportunities

During the day, you should start looking for other opportunities to cut the decisions of your life. Develop a rotating food plan, or always go for the offer of the day in any restaurant you visit. Create a regular activity routine for the early hours of the morning or just after lunch, leaving room for decision-making activities for the rest of the day.

programmed decision-making - LOOK FOR Programmed Decision-Making Opportunities TO Overcome Your Decision Fatigue

Going Further

Programmed decision-making will also help you to be prepared ahead of time to make the better choice in many common situations. This will help you making conscious choices and with it the power to create your own life.

It’s also a core practice to develop if you want to expand your good decision making skills.

Decision fatigue can be one of your major roadblocks to a happy life. Programmed decision-making is a simple strategy that will help you a lot. Click on the image below and engage in my free Overcoming Decision Fatigue 5-Days Challenge and start getting rid of decision fatigue from your life. Just click below, get your workbook with your decision-making worksheet, do your decision-making exercises, and go on.

To go even further, check my decision-making course:

See you next time!

Mark Tern

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