Most of us feel a bit more tired these days, after all we’re not 22 any more (apologies and congratulations if you are!)  This is true, but I would be very careful with the logic that tiredness need be a constant companion and an automatic fact of a busy life.

We tend to use ourselves as a benchmark, so if I feel tired today, well, I felt tired yesterday too, so I guess that’s just normal right?  Well, no, not necessarily.  We’re not great at knowing what’s “normal” and if we feel we are not able to perform at our best then we should take more notice of this and not just accept this as unchangeable.

We are paid after all to thinking clearly and take good decisions.  That includes both the complex decisions which take time to figure out, as well as scores of momentary decisions every day; how to react to our colleague in a different department, whether to order Salad or the Burger, (again.)  If we are not able to think clearly enough to take the right decisions, then just working harder, getting more tired and taking worse decisions is unlikely to be the answer.



“Interoception” is a sense. (We have somewhere between 9 and 21 senses by the way depending on how we define it.)  It is our ability to “listen” to our own mind and body to figure our what it is telling us. It is really worth investing some time in, because we are typically very bad at it.

For example, is hunger impacting on our decision making ability? (*You must read the “Israeli Parole Judge” summary below, if you haven’t seen this before.) Is tiredness affecting how clearly we think and how we react to others?  Is my heart rate way too high? Am I carrying over the bad mood from my last meeting in to this next one?

I’m not suggesting we should all down tools if our resting heart rate tops 76 bpm, but it is worth thinking about how optimally we are performing and whether a little more sleep, a snack before a late meeting or having a holiday to look forward to in the diary might just help us more than an extra hour at the laptop.

If you could change one thing today, what would help you to take better decisions and work more effectively?


Click on this link if you feel other people find you moody or erratic

Click here if you want to consider how changes of mood might be affecting you

Click on this link if you feel you are too tired to innovate


*What we can learn from Israeli Parole Judges

A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesdescribes how Shai Danziger of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and his colleagues followed eight Israeli judges for ten months as they ruled on over 1,000 applications made by prisoners to parole boards. The plaintiffs were asking either to be allowed out on parole or to have the conditions of their incarceration changed. The team found that, at the start of the day, the judges granted around two-thirds of the applications before them. As the hours passed, that number fell sharply (see chart), eventually reaching zero. But clemency returned after each of two daily breaks, during which the judges retired for food. The approval rate shot back up to near its original value, before falling again as the day wore on.

Basically the Parole decision depended on how hungry/tired the judges were.  (Bear in mind these people are serious, committed professionals and had no idea that their release rates varied throughout the day.)  Is there any reason to believe that your decision-making doesn’t vary as the judges’ did?