Thursday, August 18, 2011

Do you suffer from Decision Fatigue?

By Maj. John Alderman
Commander, 124th MPAD
August 18, 2011

It's an old adage in my family never to shop when you're hungry, because you'll always buy too much food. Likewise, as military leaders, we know that we should avoid making decisions when we're angry. Yet, making decisions when angry or stressed, even afraid or hungry, is just part of being a military leader.

This article from the New York Times by John Tierney addresses some of the science behind a particular kind of stress embedded in just making decisions. It's worth a read to help folks better understand when and how we should make decisions - and why "sleeping on it" is so often such a good idea. Here's an excerpt:

"Virtually no one has a gut-level sense of just how tiring it is to decide. Big decisions, small decisions, they all add up. Choosing what to have for breakfast, where to go on vacation, whom to hire, how much to spend — these all deplete willpower, and there’s no telltale symptom of when that willpower is low. It’s not like getting winded or hitting the wall during a marathon."

For more along these lines, see the Georgia Guardsman book review of Lt. Col. (ret.) Henry Thompson's The Stress Effect.

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