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The average person makes over 35,000 decisions per day, which can easily leave you too tired to take action on your most important tasks (or MITs). In this episode, Mike and Thanh tackle decision fatigue, and show you how to exercise all the tools at your disposal so that you don’t get burned out or make bad decisions. Decision fatigue is #1 the enemy of sound decision making and procrastination’s greatest ally, so in this episode you’ll learn what you can do to overcome it by conserving your willpower for the decisions that really matter as well as several tips for replenishing your willpower when it’s gone but you still have more work to do.

Cheat Sheet

  • The negative consequences associated with decision fatigue and how to avoid them [1:55]
  • The three types of decisions that we make on a regular basis that contribute greatly to increased decision fatigue [4:11]
  • Why most people blame their lack of goal achievement on willpower (and what you can do to flip the script by leveraging it to take massive action on your goals instead) [5:37]
  • How willpower influences your ability (or inability) to do deep work [9:00]
  • Why you shouldn’t make important decisions when you are mentally fatigued [11:47]
  • How the massive number of small decisions we have to make in a day contributes to making bad decisions when they matter most [13:27]
  • How changing habits (like deciding what to wear the night before) can help alleviate decision fatigue and increase your willpower [15:23]
  • Why not all hours of the day are created equal and how you can leverage time arbitrage to get more done [16:14]
  • How to leverage the 80/20 principle to maximize the effectiveness of your decision making [19:27]
  • Why most people tend to make decisions at the worst possible time (and when you should make them instead) [22:50]
  • How to align the most important things you need to do with when you have the most possible energy for maximum effectiveness [27:42]
  • What you should really be doing at the beginning of every day [33:19]
  • Why email is such a productivity killer and what you can to do to avoid having it zap you willpower [36:24]
  • How to systemize your daily decisions into a ritual so that you have more willpower left over for the ones that really matter [39:58]
  • How to get other people to help you so that you have to make less decisions [51:31]
  • The template you can use to make a decision easier so that you can use less energy to make it [1:00:40]
  • What “eating your frog” is all about and how it can help you be more productive by increasing your willpower [1:05:09]
  • What you can do to replenish your willpower when you need a quick boost [1:07:05]
  • Why happy people are productive people [1:17:15]


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  1. Hi, very good episode. I was wondering if doing your taxes is also considered Deep Work. It takes time, you have to be concentrated, but it’s not very challenging. And that is, according the book, one of the elements that determines Deep Work.

  2. Decision can be seen as a productivity killer, or as a consequence of progress, which is a driving force of motivation. But I can completely relate that improving the decision taking is a big time organization booster.

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