5 Tips for Overcoming Decision Fatigue

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I have a special treat for you today! My friends, Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory, are experts on this thing called being overwhelmed and they are sharing their wisdom with us! I asked them to stop by because I recently read their new book Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity. This book has changed my day to day life and I couldn’t keep their secrets a secret! Here’s Kathi and Cheri:

5 Tips for Overcoming Decision Fatigue

What does overwhelmed feel like to you?


To me, overwhelmed feels like stupidity.


I feel like I should know what is going on, how to fix it, and what my next step should be.


But I don’t.


I feel like everyone is judging me because surely they know how to make better decisions than me.


When it comes to feeling overwhelmed, one definition does not fit all. However, there are signs and patterns we can look for. By identifying overwhelming circumstances, we empower ourselves to prepare for these situations, and when possible, to avoid them altogether.


Here are five common reasons we become overwhelmed by the daily decisions we each face.


Which of these scenarios sound familiar?


Decision Fatigue Trap #1:  I feel like I have no options.


An infuriating quote regularly makes the rounds on social media: “The first time you make a mistake, it’s a mistake. The second time, it’s a choice.”


Each time it shows up, I yell at the screen, “That’s not necessarily true! The second time, it’s a choice only if I’m aware that it was a mistake and know that other options are available!”


Choice requires options.


In order to make new decisions, we must know that we have alternatives. It doesn’t matter if everyone around us sees tons of possibilities. We have to perceive the options for ourselves.


Decision-Making Tip #1: When you find yourself sinking beneath overwhelming beliefs like This is the way I’ve always done it or I can’t see any other possibility, remind yourself I can make new decisions and I have options.




Decision Fatigue Trap #2:  Trying to make the right decision is driving me crazy.


As a Highly Sensitive Person and recovering perfectionist, I spent my first forty-five years in fear of making mistakes.


During my decades of error terror, I tried to think through every possible worst-case scenario for each decision: “Plan A: I could ask her to … But then she might …Which would mean that he would then … And that would lead to them choosing … So unless I want to … Unacceptable. Plan B: I could tell her to …”


I would imagine dozens of hypothetical situations, none of which were occurring, but all of which were so absorbing that I experienced emotional reactions as if they were actually happening. Talk about exhausting!


In our attempts to make the right decision, we can live so many hypothetical lives that we have neither time nor energy to live our real lives well.


Decision-Making Tip #2: You’ll feel far less overwhelmed when you quit demanding the perfect choice and give yourself permission to make a good enough decision.




Decision Fatigue Trap #3:  I know the decision I need to make…but I’m not making it.


If stalling were an Olympic sport, I’d be a gold medalist. I have seemingly virtuous reasons for not executing a decision, like the sudden impulse to clean the house. With a toothbrush. Plus plenty of selfish reasons, from “I’m just not feeling it right now” to “I’ll do what I want, the way I want, when I want.”


Problem is, procrastination makes us feel like losers. It’s overwhelming and can become downright demoralizing. When we actively avoid obedience, we feel the truth of James 4:7 (NIV) at a heart level: “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”


Decision-Making Tip #3: When you talk with God about your avoidance, He reveals the deeper issues, which are almost always fear-related. As you pray-cess your fears, God’s love and grace free you to move forward, leaving all your overwhelming guilt behind. Then, you can echo Paul, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:25a (NIV)



Decision Fatigue Trap #4:  The consequences of a past poor decision overwhelm me.


I totaled my husband’s car at the start of spring break. One split-second bad choice cost us a week of vacation and years of car payments. It felt So. Completely. Unfair. I try so hard in so many areas of my life, I did not need this on top of everything else …


The problem with pity parties is that nobody brings us gifts. And the entertainment is terrible.


Decision-Making Tip #4: Accepting the consequences of a poor past decision is an ongoing balancing act. Some days, you’ll lean toward persecution. Other days, you’ll teeter toward punishment. You’ll feel far less overwhelmed when you’re in the middle ground of accepting responsibility.




Decision Fatigue Trap #5:  I’m coping with life circumstances that involve(d) little-to-no choice.


Decision-making takes extra effort in the middle of messy.


Research shows that our fluid intelligence—our general ability to think abstractly, reason, identify patterns, solve problems, and discern relationships—drops significantly when we are overwhelmed.[i]


Decision-Making Tip #5: When you find yourself struggling with what should be simple choices, reassure yourself of this fact:


You’re not feeling overwhelmed because you’re stupid. It’s the other way around: you’re feeling stupid because you’re so overwhelmed.

[i] Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir, Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives (New York: Times Books, 2013), 47–52.


You can escape being overwhelmed!

Kathi and Cheri would like to send a copy of Overwhelmed: Quiet the Chaos & Restore Your Sanity to one of my readers!

To qualify for the drawing, you need to do TWO things:

#1. LEAVE A COMMENT below.

#2. SHARE THIS POST on social media.

That’s it! Once you do both, your name will be entered into the random drawing. Be sure to tell your friends so they can sign up too. The drawing will take place on Tuesday, January 17th, so don’t delay! {Contest is limited to US & Canadian readers only.}


About Overwhelmed


Feeling overwhelmed? Wondering if it’s possible to move from “out of my mind” to “in control” when you’ve got too many projects on your plate and too much mess in your relationships?


Kathi and Cheri want to show you five surprising reasons why you become stressed, why social media solutions don’t often work, and how you can finally create a plan that works for you. As you identify your underlying hurts, uncover hope, and embrace practical healing, you’ll understand how to…


  • trade the to-do list that controls you for a calendar that allows space in your life
  • decide whose feedback to forget and whose input to invite
  • replace fear of the future with peace in the present


You can simplify and savor your life—guilt free! Clutter, tasks, and relationships may overwhelm you now, but God can help you overcome with grace.




Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker and the bestselling author of several books, including Clutter Free, The Husband Project, and The Get Yourself Organized Project. She and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four young adults.


Cheri Gregory spends her weekdays teaching teens and weekends speaking at women’s retreats. She’s been married to her college sweetheart, Daniel, for more than 28 years. The Gregorys and their young adult kids, Annemarie and Jonathon, live in California.


The winner of this contest is Kathy who commented 2017/01/13 at 9:07 pm. Thank you for being a part, everyone!




  1. Bernadette Echevarria says:

    This article was spot on. It spoke to my heart .. it was heaven sent. Thank you for your transparency.

  2. Denise krackenberger says:

    This blog is speaking to me this morning. Learning the hard way as always that I need to “be still” and stop overwhelming myself.

  3. Darlene O'Lena says:

    I am SO overwhelmed in my life. I am a widow for 15 yrs. and working in a job that I hate. I feel like I’m painted into a corner that I can’t get out of. It makes me feel exhausted constantly.

  4. Jacki Payne says:

    I really needed this reading this morning. My decision fatigue has me tied up in knots so tight I can’t seem to move out of my own way! Going to try some of these tips and looking forward to reading more in depth about what to do about my problem…and I will keep on praying

  5. I would love a copy of this book! My mind is always planning, preparing, and making decisions! I need to learn how to quiet the chaos in my mind to help me be still in God’s presence!

  6. Vonni Anderson says:

    As I read this, I cried! I felt like you could see the struggle I have had for so long and we’re speaking directly to my heart! What a relief to know I am not going crazy – that there is a way to stop the madness and regain the peace I once felt! I am ordering this book immediately!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      It helped me so much, Vonni! I hope it will help you too!

      The reason I loved it so much was I felt it wasn’t coming from two people who already get this naturally and were just sharing with me the obvious things to them. No – Kathi and Cheri really struggle and they help struggle people like me too!

  7. I love the encouragement to “pray-cess” your fears. After I stress about a decision, to it’s the praying that stills my racing mind and allows me to receive God’s direction.

  8. Really great post! I really like Decision Making Tip #5. I need to write that down and put it on my bathroom mirror to remind myself!! Thanks for sharing. The book looks like a great read and something I know I would benefit from.

  9. Jane Kemp says:

    I can so identify especially with #5. In August of 2012 my husband stopped breathing in the car on the way home from a 4H banquet. Our 2 boys helped save his life. He came home 2 months later with a tracheostomy & on a home ventilator life support system, both of which he’ll have the rest of his life. I was still homeschooling the boys. They’ve since graduated & are both in college. I lived overwhelmed. It wasn’t until about October of 2016, 4 years later that I felt a difference, that I had finally relaxed a bit into our new normal. There are still days overwhelmed is how I live. But God’s grace, mercy & presence make it doable.

    1. Lyneta, Kathy's Ministry Team says:

      Jane, it sounds like you’re learning so well how to make decisions and live life despite difficult circumstances. Leaning into God’s grace, mercy, and presence isn’t always easy, but thank you for sharing your testimony about how it can made a dramatic difference in your life. You are an inspiration!

  10. Tiffany W. says:

    Thanks for sharing these practical strategies for overcoming decision fatigue. I think they will be extremely helpful in all aspects of my life. I would love to read your book, as I think it will be a game changer for me.

  11. Love this list! I identify with so many of your points, although I hate to admit it. Thanks for the input & inspiration!

  12. Wow…this hit home for me today! Perfect timing and there is no doubt Who is responsible for that 🙂
    I can’t wait to apply the tips and am so glad I am not the only “procrastinating perfectionist” out there lol.
    Looking forward to reading Kathi and Cheri’s book. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  13. Cheryl Mohr says:

    Very insightful. Just what I needed today.

  14. Mary Everett says:

    My boss and I were just talking about deciding what to say no to and not feel guilty about it. I feel very overwhelmed right now, so I appreciate your wise words.

  15. Claudine Phillips says:

    There are many people and ideas that come into my mind each hour. Being an influencer, connector type, I just go into that mode naturally. I spend much of my day in my brain playing out scenarios in my mind and I don’t know how to yet find peace through that aside from crying out to God in His Word. His Spirit then guides me into action.
    The ideas for how I feel so excited to help people keep coming. I know in part that is how God wants it for me, me continually coming to Him in His Word, but it is a tiring journey. Thanks for allowing me to share.

  16. You described me perfectly; that’s something I struggle with all the time. Thank you for those timely tips!

  17. KAREN PECKHAM says:

    This is so right on track for me today. Thanks!

  18. My New Year’s resolution was to not get myself into any situations unnecessarily where I have to make a choice that is worrisome. I have a bad habit of self inflicted situations. I am trying so hard in this area. I am now 60 and life should be so simple and easy. Well, I made it 9 days. But, I will say this was not actually self inflicted. It is a huge decision on the timing of two major events. Either way one side is going to be disappointed. I wish I wasn’t the one having to decide.
    Thanks for this article. I am taking time to be still. I ask for prayers. Thank you

    1. Lyneta, Kathy's Ministry Team says:

      Sally, it’s easy to get sucked back into the guilt of making decisions that will disappoint someone, isn’t it? I pray that you will make the decision that gives you peace, and that you will feel God’s hearty approval.

  19. gieshia luckey says:

    I really needed this today!!! This reading has spoke to my heart!!

  20. I’m feeling incredibly overwhelmed at the moment. I was let go this week from a position that I held for nearly 12 years – a position from which I originally loved, but grew to hate due to an incompetent manager and bullies for coworkers. My home is in chaos due to a broken water pipe in the ceiling last year that destroyed my kitchen. I have a 20 year old son that is still living at home that I can’t figure out how to ‘launch’. I have forgotten who I am, and like the authors, I too suffer from sensitivity and from perfectionism. Winning this book would be a Godsend, and I hope would give me some direction to recover from the latest blow.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Judy –

      One thing I really took away from this book was the power of small steps. When we try to fix it all, we can’t. Try beginning with asking Jesus, “What small step can we take together?” Just one and it doesn’t have to be big.

  21. Rebecca Thornton says:

    Wow! This is so me. I get so overwhelmed to the point I’m literally unable to think, breathe or move. I’ve struggled with this for a few years. I thought it was all me & I was the only one. What a blessing it would be to have help & meet others going thru this. Gonna attempt to share on Facebook which is something I’ve never done.

  22. Amber Donnelly says:

    This book sounds amazing! I would love to get it for myself and my mom.

  23. And who among us is never overwhelmed?!
    Cheri and Kathi’s book sounds like a must-read for all of us!
    Thanks Lynn!
    May you all be ‘overwhelmed’ by His blessings!

  24. As I was reading this, I was thinking that I am not alone in these feelings of decision making and always questioning and worrying if I made the right decision and wishing I could find a solution that would truly help and work.

  25. Thank you! God’s timing for this post is perfect as always!

  26. To say that someone like me doesn’t stay overwhelmed is an understatement.
    I can’t wait to read this book and share it with others that are overwhelmed!!

  27. Overwhelmed is how I live. I’m 54, a spinster, have no support system, my mom and sibling are very needy themselves and are critical of everything I do, I work in a male dominated career and always feel like I’m in a competition. Mistakes would be a career killer and would justify the male superiority complex. I keep my sanity by reading Proverbs 31 First 5 every morning. Thanks for the article it really hit home.

    1. Lyneta, Kathy's Ministry Team says:

      Lisa, it makes it even harder to make a decision when others are hyper-critical, doesn’t it? We often forget our inherent worth if others constantly bombard us with negativity. I pray God will bring the support system of encouragers into your life that will remind you of all the decisions you do get right and the good you bring into the world.

  28. With many ‘things’ that require decisions at fast pace and hard decisions the appear to be beyond the scope of my understanding at times; yes, decision fatigue sounds the norm around here; my brain is saturated with info to sort through. thanks for the good post today.

  29. Shylinda Graystreete says:

    I really Loved this article, it spoke to me and it was truly an eye opener, because I sometimes feel like no one understands; what’s wrong with me; I keep praying but nothing is changing. I’ve gone from living to merely existing. This was never me before. I ask myself “what is it that I’m doing wrong?” I can’t so simple tasks. or make simple decisions anymore. I feel at times like I’m in a fog and I want the sun to shine again. I definitely will be ordering this book. God Bless you and thank you for your wonderful wisdom and insight. The struggle is definitely real, but I Am Stronger Than My Struggles!!!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Shylinda – thank you so much for being so vulnerable.

      Sometimes, to head in a healthy direction, we need additional health. My family has really benefitted from professional counseling. Many of us have seen a counselor who has helped to see what we cannot see – the things in our heart, minds and patterns that keep us from moving forward. I highly recommend it!

      If you need help finding one in your area, you can contact Focus on the Family. They can help you find one in your area. Call 1-800-A-Family

  30. Andrea Johnston-Gautschi says:

    I could really use some help figuring out how to manage my time and make decisions. Both of those simple, ordinary tasks seem to overwhelm me.

  31. Thank you for this great reminder.

  32. I’ve just had a very exhausting day and am feeling overwhelmed. # 5 is speaking to me but what is the solution after realizing I’m overwhelmed? Is it referring back to tips 1-4?

    1. Lyneta, Kathy's Ministry Team says:

      I think that’s a good start. Evaluating what exactly is keeping you from making the next decision can help you identify it and apply the appropriate tip. Also, sometimes it helps to have a rest period before making any more decisions, if possible. Kathy and Cheri wrote a chapter about the Sabbath in the book that helps us see how we’re designed to need regular rest periods. I realized I’d be more productive and less overwhelmed with a regular day of non-productivity. It’s made an amazing difference.

  33. Oh, I totally deal with overwhelmed situations #1-3. Spot-on. Perfectionist (recovering)? Check. Under confident? Check. Conflict-avoider? Double check. Hence dealing with situations 1, 2, & 3. Oi.

    I pray often to be a better leader and decision-maker, knowing that I have to make choices based on the info I have, prayer, and the Holy Spirit’s leading. Thank you for this article.

  34. Decisions are made with difficulty when it involves other people and investment of time, energy and money. I can be stingy and over-cautious when I need to be more open in my heart and purse strings. Your thoughts on decision making made good sense and made me realize how important it is to be attuned to the “still, small voice from the Lord.

    1. Need this reminder daily!

  35. Im not one on making decisions…im affriad to…most my life everybody has done that for me…an IF by chance i DID make my own decision…i always got told. ..I MADE THE WRONG DECISION…wn I’ll regret it…i realize NOW 30 something years later that.that was just the devil messing with me…i didnt know anything bout god til i was round 24 yrs old…im 52 now..an it still get nervous makings desions

  36. Kelly Pickett says:

    Ok, did you write this post just for me? I’ve struggled with fear of decision failure my entire life and I just turned 50 last month. That’s a long time! I can’t wait to read your book! Thanks to Proverbs 31 for bringing me here!

  37. I think that sometimes I am too overwhelmed to know how overwhelmed I really am! Thank you for sharing. I feel better already.

  38. This post spoke to my heart! Thank you!

  39. I stumbled onto this blog from the Proverbs 31 devotional, and let me tell you it was all God’s work! This article has radically changed my life! For the last few years I have felt that the 2 issues I needed to deal with in my life were fear and worry, which i do a lot. But then God led me here. I have discovered that I get overwhelmed too easily and that leads to my fear and worry. I can not thank you enough for writing this post. I will forever be changed by it! God Bless you!

  40. I am one of those perfectionists that is drastically overwhelmed with even then simplest decisions. I look forward to reading this book, with hopes that God will use it to help me with all the overwhelming areas in my life.

  41. Teresa Beckham says:

    This was EXACTLY what I need to read. Right now my husband and I are facing some monumental decisions…life changing–are we moving and rebuilding, staying here, all the things that go with all of that… overwhelming! I can’t tell you how overwhelmed BOTH of us feel! I could really use this and am going to start “being still” immediately and seeking God’s wisdom, only then can I accomplish what He wants!

  42. Thank you for sharing these tips about being overwhelmed and how to deal with/avoid it. I’d love to win and read this book!!

  43. Thank you. Very well written and enjoyed the writing style as much as the tips! 🙂

  44. One of my goals this year is to tackle some of those projects that I’ve not done well with due to poor planning, procrastination, and feeling overwhelmed. I appreciated the suggestions! Thank you!

  45. trying to make the right decision (#2) drives me in circles quite often, especially when I factor on what would God want for me, what is His plan and would that align with a decision I have in mind…and then my analytical mind just spins for days or weeks. Would love some wisdom on that in order to make sure I do live the best life God intended me to.
    Love the cover of the book…and ”maintaining sanity” has been my ”go to phrase” for months now.

  46. Stephanie says:

    I really liked this post….I waste so much time getting stuck trying to make the best decision but really often I just need to make one that is good enough.

    This book looks really interesting too!

  47. Cari Adams says:

    Aahh, yeah, this is me. Decisions are the worst and I’m dealing with a big one right now. I love the term “praycess”. Thank you for the post.

  48. Delores McPherson says:

    constantly feeling overwhelmed. Thank you for this post. I am going to try to put these 5 tips into practice and if I mess up – forgive myself and start over.

  49. The clutter issue is central in my life and I haven’t been able to conquer it. I live in the home my parents bought when I grew up and I am now 70! Plus, I have some of my furniture some of my parents and some of my aunts and uncles that they left behind when they went back to New York. People keep giving me things when they move. One neighbor left me a outdoor table another a wooden bench. A friend gave me some of her sisters clothes. I gave some of them away but still have a lot. Including the pants I am now wearing. Anyway I saw that someone had an article or a book on the subject. Any tips and all prayers would greatly help.

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