Many people experience something we might call decision or executive exhaustion: after making a lot of decisions, it can be hard to make more decisions and to exert "willpower". Yet, this seems odd because we are constantly making decisions all the time in some sense, choosing to do what we do over everything else we could have otherwise done. So, what and why do we sometimes get exhausted of making decisions when most of the time we do not?
Some notes to consider in answering:
- Some people seem to experience this from all decisions and are worn out after dozens of minutes of being awake.
- Some people seem to never experience this.
- Exhausting decisions seem more salient or like they require more deliberate thought than ones that are not exhausting. Non-exhausting decisions feel automatic.
- Food and rest (but not a full nights sleep) helps some people recover decision function but not everyone seems to respond to this over short enough timescales for it to be useful for recovering functionality within the day.