When to Make Important Decisions


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Jonathan Levav of Columbia University and Shai Danzinger of Ben-Gurion University studied 1,000 parol decisions by various judges.  Seventy percent of prisoners received parol (were set free) in the early morning while only 10% of prisoners received parol by judges who decided on parol later in the day.

Why is this significant?

The judges, at different points during the day, suffered from something called Decision Fatigue – a loss of willpower, making it more difficult to make important decisions.

These judges were unwilling or unable to make critical decisions (free prisoners) when their willpower was at its lowest point. As a result, the judges chose the safest, least risky course of action – defer on their parol decisions.

The decisions you make affect the quality of your life. Poor decisions affect your life negatively and good decisions affect your life in a positive way. It’s critical, therefore, to make good decisions. But making good decisions can be difficult when you suffer from Decision Fatigue (low willpower). In order to guarantee that your decisions are good ones, it’s critical to make those decisions when your willpower is at its highest point.

When is willpower at its highest point? Willpower is at its highest point:

  • At the beginning of the day – during the first two hours after waking from sleep.
  • Two hours after a mid-day power nap.
  • Two hours after eating a low-carbohydrate meal.
  • Two hours after exercising aerobically.

Never make important decisions when your willpower energy is low and never enter into any negotiation when you suffer from Decision Fatigue – your willpower will be too low to make an effective counter-argument and you will find yourself on the losing end of every negotiation.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Thanks for sharing. And agreed. I always get surprised at how much time people waste in the mornings. When that’s the most productive time of the day!

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