Decision Burnout

Having choices is always a good thing, right? And more choices is better than fewer choices, right?

While both of those are true in many situations, having to make too many decisions can be a problem. Studies have found folks suffering from burnout find it difficult to make decisions, and for those close to burnout facing new decisions can push them over the line.

As great as it is to have choices, every decision takes mental energy. If there are a lot of decisions the sum of the energy needed can exceed what we have available. 

If your husband works a job that demands him to make many decisions, he may come home decisioned out. If he won’t make choices, or says “whatever you want” or just refuses to answer when you ask him to make a choice, he might be suffering from “decision burnout.”

If he has too many decisions in his life, giving him more is only making it worse. If you can do some things without his input, doing so might be a loving act. When you need his input try to phrase it so there is an easy answer for him. So rather than asking him where he wants to go to eat, or giving him a choice of several places, ask him if he wants to go to Joe’s Crabshack. He is free to make another suggestion, but he can take the easy way out and say yes if he needs to.

This won’t apply to some men, and some would feel manipulated. But if he is decisioned out this could be a real kindness.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’ve never been without an opinion.

For the record, I coined the term decision burnout for this post. Then I Googled it and got 245 hits!

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5 Comments on “Decision Burnout

  1. If it is not too trivial of an example or too different from having too many decisions verses too many choices for one decision, where I see this for me is going to someplace like Baskin Robbins or, worse yet, the Tillamook Cheese Factory (when we get to Tillamook). When I go to a cheap place with soft serve ice cream, I can quickly and easily choose between chocolate, vanilla, or twist. But give me 30 or 50 or 100 yummy flavors to choose from, and it becomes near impossible to decide just one — especially since it is a treat and we don’t do it very often.

    • @MrShorty – I’ve read some studies on this, and you are correct. Too many choices not only makes it more difficult to decide, it results in us being less happy with our choice.

      I’ve driven by the Tillamook Cheese Factory more than a dozen times and never stopped. Need to do that next time!
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Biblical Marriage and Biblical InterpretationMy Profile

  2. I only have one significant decision to make every day, and it’s always the same one – how hard do I push myself? How much am I going to make myself hurt more in the face of increasingly terminal cancer, and why?

    There isn’t much purpose, because no one will ever know how many chin-ups I can still do, to what degree I participated in the blogosphere or did my own writing, nor how I got another part done for the aeroplane I will never complete.

    But I now, and that’s the rub, and I have to make that positive decision every day, knowing, “It’s gonna hurt.”

    One decision, and that pretty well takes me to my knees.

  3. Decision making always has me in anxiety. Growing up in poverty, it was often a one-chance-only decision, so it had better be good. There was also a lot of criticism and even discipline for perceived wrong choices (not sin, just maybe unwise or mistaken or not what the parent wanted to deal with). There was also this legalistic “humble politeness” that one always defers to the other party. So, for example, when hubby and I were dating, if he gave me the choice of restaurant I would be in great anxiety trying to choose which one I thought he would like because I was taught not to choose for myself. It was reinforced by the few times I,did choose “wrongly” and the service or food wasn’t great, or someone didnt really want to go there and moped or complained, which “proved” I made a bad decision and was selfish.

    There was also a time I was crazy frugal. Never treated myself to anything. Not even a 50 cent chocolate at the checkout lane. Then, I did, and my car broke down. I knew it! I was being punished for making a bad decision!! For wasting money on myself.

    While I am better now, I still get anxious about any decision. There is always this nagging voice that says I am screwing it all up. It doesn’t matter what I like or think or work towards. It is all just wrong. I should only accept what others give me or approve of.

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