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  • Marnie Suss

how a digital clean out can reduce decision fatigue

Updated: Feb 26


Learn how to manage information overload and decision fatigue caused by constant exposure to digital content.

  • Learn practical tips you can do today to reduce decision fatigue.

  • Learn actions you can take today to reduce subconscious micro decisions.

In 2016, I turned off push notifications for news applications. The updates and constant bombardment of information was too much. Then emails and social media grew exponentially increasing distractions. What I didn't realize at the time was all this information was creating information overload and subconscious decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue is the deterioration of decision quality after a long session of decision making. Little did I know that the constant consumption of information was creating a series of micro decisions in the subconscious.

  • Is this information true?

  • Should I listen to this person over this other source?

  • Do I need this information now?

  • Did I make the right decision?

  • How do I compare so many choices?

We are constantly assessing information and as a result making micro decisions.

Here's how a digital clean out can help reduce decision fatigue:

1. Unsubscribe to retail emails.

We all do it. We sign up for the discount and suddenly our inboxes are filled with products we don't need. Each email also forces us to make a decision: keep or delete. Multiple this by 25 emails each day and you have a lot of micro decisions.

Here's what I do:

Unsubscribe: I unsubscribe to anything I do not regularly buy or need. I do this before the holiday sales to avoid overspending or buying things I don't need.

Keep: Email subscriptions that actively help me maintain awareness about a product, topic, or service.

2. Unfollow anyone on social media that does not bring joy.

This is a tough one because alternative views are important for a well-rounded perspective. But decision fatigue comes from both the decision making process and exposure to negativity or things that do not bring you joy. The more negative content you consume, the harder decision making can become.

Here's what I do:

Unfollow: I unfollow anyone that brings negativity - whether they are overt or subtle. There are accounts that I love to follow, but sometimes they're not aligned with where I'm at in life. What matters is how I am interpreting it in these moments. So I unfollow until I'm ready to consume the content again.

Remove followers: I remove followers from my private IG account frequently. My threshold is if I wouldn't share it with you in real life, then you don't have a right to my private social media.

Mute: Confession, I mute 90% of the accounts I follow including friends. Not because I don't want to see their lives or interests, but sometimes it can be a continuous cycle of content that can create mental fatigue.

I can't change what people put out into the world.

But I can choose what I consume.

3. Clear out ALL text messages.

This one might be extreme, and honestly, it's the hardest one for me to do. It's the equivalent of a "Monica closet" to me. We often converse about decisions via text. It's not always the most efficient method for decision making. Too many text chains can create digital clutter and obfuscate the important decisions.

Here's what I do:

Delete: Right now there's about 100+ inactive text chains on my phone. Why? I'm not sure. Maybe it's like throwing out your iPhone box. Maybe I'll need it someday? Probably not though. So I delete all my messages periodically. It's nice to start fresh.

Keep: The active texts or texts with relevant information.

4. Clear out phone contacts.

I remove phone contacts frequently. There are a million ways to find and contact people, I don't need everyone I've ever met in my personal phone. This helps me to focus on the opinions I value the most. So when I am faced with a life or career decision, I know who I want to turn to.

Streamline to focus on active decisions

By filtering the content you consume daily, you can streamline the undercurrent of subconscious decisions and free your headspace for active, priorities and decisions.



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