Decision after decision after decision. Problem after problem after problem and then solution after solution after solution OR frustration after frustration after frustration. I think you get the point?
I recently read Just Lead!: A No Whining, No Complaining, No Nonsense Practical Guide for Women Leaders in the Church by Sherry Surratt and Jenni Catron. A lot of great information for women leaders, and for leaders in general. One portion, however, caught my attention. They were referring to this article from the NY Times and re-printed a portion of it. Today, I am writing that same portion quoted. I encourage you to pause and think on it. Is this you?
Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences. (Sure, tweet that photo! What could go wrong?) The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing. Instead of agonizing over decisions, avoid any choice. Ducking a decision often creates bigger problems in the long run, but for the moment, it eases the mental strain.
If that sounds like you, I encourage you to take a break. Rest. Reflect. It is worth the time to step away from the chaos to figure out what needs to change. No one else is going to tell you to re-evaluate your time and energy.
From experience, I have learned that hoping it goes away, or the chaos ends, or even thinking it is only for a couple days (when it has been going on for months) is not the answer. If you see a pattern, and you have had this same conversation with yourself many times, it is time to listen to that conversation. Make changes that may be hard, but in the end, much easier than a path full of hurt and pain for yourself, and for those you love.