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How to make smart decisions more easily

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Everything our bodies do— whether physical or mental— uses energy. Studies have found that many individuals seem to have a daily threshold for making decisions, and an extended period of decision-making can lead to cognitive exhaustion. So, what kinds of choices lead us to this state, and what can we do to fight fatigue? Explore the psychology of decision fatigue and ways you can avoid fatigue.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Individuals in high-stakes careers like medicine and law are experienced in managing the strain of decision fatigue. The general populace, however, got a crash course in its draining effects during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic when we were all faced with daily choices that required significant trade-offs. As we now know, decisions like these can be exhausting to make, which results in lower-quality decision-making with each passing dilemma. Read this article from the American Medical Association to learn more about "What doctors wish patients knew about decision fatigue." The Decision Lab also offers a helpful primer on the individual and systemic effects of decision fatigue, as well as some potential remedies. 

For more in-depth explorations of the psychology behind decision fatigue, explore this article from the Journal of Health and Psychology titled "Decision fatigue: A conceptual analysis" or this article from Elsevier titled "Behavioural Economics and Human Decision Making: Instances from the Health Care System."

For a lighter take on the subject of decision-making, you might enjoy watching TV comedy writer Michael Schur's TED Talk, "How Ethics Can Help You Make Better Decisions." Comedian Elyse Myers has also taken to the internet to share a few relatable experiences that will at the very least make you feel understood if you, like Myers, regularly suffer from decision paralysis. 

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Jolene Tan
  • Script Writer Dan Kwartler
  • Narrator Alexandra Panzer
  • Sound Designer Jeremie Lim
  • Composer Jeremie Lim
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Produced by Abdallah Ewis, Anna Bechtol
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Script Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Special Thanks Evan Polman
  • Fact-Checker Charles Wallace

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