Normal humans make about 35k decisions on a typical day — and whether or not they’re good ones depends a lot on what our stomachs say.
You’re probably familiar with the idea of “decision fatigue” — the idea that each decision we make pulls from a single, limited pool of energy. But, how big of a pool we start from, and how fast we drain it, is impacted by a bunch of factors.
And recognizing when our “decision tank” is running low is crucial to making good judgments. AKA, not yelling at Sven, the intern, for bringing you a latte with 2% milk instead of soy.
HALT in the name of Sven
Human behavior expert Melody Wilding suggests using the “HALT system” to ask yourself whether or not you’re in any condition to make a rational decision.
The method boils down to taking stock of a few basic needs and asking yourself whether you’re:
Hungry: “Hanger” is real. Low blood sugar can make you feel anxious and cranky (take, for example, a study which found that judges ruled more harshly right before lunch). So before you scald someone with a boiling hot latte, grab a cheese stick.
Angry: If you’re actually experiencing non-food related anger, research shows that “venting” has “virtually no benefits,” and can actually increase negative feelings. Wilding suggests journaling or meditating to re-center. Dear diary, I hate Sven…
Lonely: Humans are social by nature, and turns out, the warmth of your laptop isn’t a replacement for human touch. If you find yourself spiraling, phone-a-friend, or take a break to grab coffee with a coworker.
Tired: Fun fact, going through life in a state of perpetual exhaustion isn’t sustainable. Having good “sleep hygiene,” (a nightly bedtime routine) is just as important as brushing your teeth.
HALT — It’s pretty simple stuff. And your interns will thank you.