“Ugh, I can’t do any of this today.” When your brain is feeling burnt out, it might just be tired of switching back and forth between fast and slow decisions. What are those? Fast and slow choices have to do with how your brain processes things. When we understand processes like this, we can begin to understand how and why different things affect our minds, and then we can avoid or encourage them.
Slow thinking has to do with how we process decisions that require conscious effort, logical thought processes, and deliberate planning. These are decisions made slowly – your brain able to go through different rational pathways before making a final decision. Some examples of tasks that involve the slow decision part of the brain are writing, strategy, design, and presentations.
Fast thinking is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Snap your fingers, that’s how a quick decision works. These decisions are automatic, intuitive, and almost unconscious. Some examples of fast thinking tasks are emails, scheduling, and instant messages (like Slack).
Our brains are always being bombarded with countless different tasks. With these two opposite ways of thinking, our minds are perpetually at war. Our brain gets exhausted from having to flip back and forth between fast and slow thinking. This fatigue is something that can be helped by carving out our time between fast and slow tactics. Take a look at all of your tasks. Break the list into ‘fast’ and ‘slow.’ Schedule your day according to that list, alternating your tasks. It seems that this will take up so much time in your day, but in actuality, it will free up your brain to overcome burnout and help you work faster and better. So really, take a chunk of your time for slow-thinking tasks, and then a chunk of your time for fast-thinking tasks (so, slow chunk, fast chunk. See, I’m not crazy).