Friday, January 18, 2013

Decision fatigue. School fatigue.

Some decisions are huge and life-transforming (like deciding to come back to dental school- Nick wrote about this earlier this week). Others are smaller but just as exhausting when there’s many of them.

Last year I thought deciding what dental school to go to was difficult enough. And yet even when you are here in dental school, the difficult decisions don’t stop.

What should I do this summer?
Should I apply to a dual-degree program?
Should I go to this seminar?
Should I apply to a specialty program?
Stay in or go out?

Research shows that being flooded with decisions can wear you out and deplete your willpower. A few days ago I shopped for running gear (decisions, decisions) and had a quiz (another decision-making activity) in the afternoon. By the time I got home I just plopped on the bed exhausted.

I’ve also been trying to figure out my summer plans which has been pretty stressful. I’ll also admit that part of the reason for my big life change is decision fatigue. Don’t take me to Cheesecake factory.


This Forbes article on decision fatigue suggests that you should learn to deal with consequences instead. Don’t linger too much on the decision. Deal with the consequences (it may be regret).

I like this article about Marissa Mayer. She got into all the colleges & got every job. Her friend told her this when Mayer was deciding where to work (and Google wasn’t an automatic yes, so…):

“You’re putting too much pressure on yourself to choose the right one. I see a lot of good choices, one of which you’ll choose, and give everything to.”

I am lucky to have so many choices. That I have family in Korea and an apartment here in Philadelphia and friends in Beijing is great. Choose one and deal.

I wrote about making minor changes to your daily routine last summer. Here’s mine: I’ll take ten minutes to jot down pros/cons and make the decision. It’s up to me to make the best of my choice. And don’t sweat the big stuff.

Like choosing the picture for this post. I had so many to choose from. But I like this popcorn picture and somehow I made it fit by making the picture part of the point I’m making. See? I think that worked out.


  1. 우리 예삐 공부 하느라 애쓴다
    듀얼? 쉽지 않겠지만 엄마는 했으면 좋겠네
    우리 딸이라면 할수 있지 않을까?
    노 패인, 노 개인~~
    건강 유의하고, 독감유행이라며..
    손 잘닦고~
    킵웜*^^* LUV MOM

  2. 낯익은 손들!!
    우리 애기들 손..하하핳

    1. Hahaha- yes I got the flu vaccine (and I have baby hands). Do you recognize the bowl?