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7 ways to learn how to make decisions
7 ways to learn how to make decisions

Tossing hesitation aside is easier than you might think.

7 ways to learn how to make decisions
7 ways to learn how to make decisions

1. Say no to perfectionism

Oddly enough, often perfectionism and indecision go hand in hand. Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice, states:

Barry Schwartz

In today's world, where the choice is almost unlimited, the desire to choose the best option leads to one frustration. Try not to search for "the best", but only for "good enough."

Trying to choose the best, we start to postpone the choice and sooner or later we will slip into procrastination. Therefore, do not try to chase an unattainable ideal, but work with what you have at the moment.

2. Make decisions in the morning

Argentine researchers Maria Juliana Leone and Mariano Sigman conducted several experiments and found out Is There an Ideal Time of Day for Decision-Making? / Association for Psychological Science that most people make the most accurate decisions in the morning.

The ability to make choices generally depends on the time of day. In the morning, people make decisions more slowly, but make more accurate choices, and in the evenings, we make decisions faster, but are more likely to make mistakes.

Take note of this and try to make the most important decisions in the morning, when you are not yet tired of work, household chores and other routine. Ideally, create to-do lists that you definitely decide to do today, and follow the list throughout the day.

3. Let someone else make the decision

Studies by K. D. Vohs, R. F. Baumeister, J. M. Twenge, et al. Decision Fatigue Exhausts Self-Regulatory Resources show that a large number of options robs us of willpower and leads to "decision fatigue." The term was coined by social psychologist Roy Baumeister of Princeton University.

There is a peculiar trick that helps to avoid this fatigue: shift the burden of choice onto someone else's shoulders. Of course, you should not trust others in vital decisions - when your parents decide for you where to study and who to work, this is not particularly good. But small questions can be delegated so as not to clog your head.

Dr. Sheena Iyengar, author of The Art of Choice, gives an example. She loves wine, but does not understand at all its varieties, aging, aromas and similar subtleties. Therefore, when she wants to drink, she does not leaf through the wine list for a long time, but simply asks the sommelier to choose something suitable. Delegation of choice at its finest.

Sheena Iyengar

The wine continues to delight me, because I do not make an effort to choose it. I am glad that I do not have to make a decision on my own, otherwise the choice of wine would be a job for me.

4. Make the choice a habit

In fact, you don't even need the help of outsiders to convey the choice to them. You can rely on the force of habit. For example, Steve Jobs always wore the same shirt and jeans. He already had to constantly make decisions in the affairs of the company, and he did not want to spend energy on choosing a wardrobe. And Mark Zuckerberg follows his example.

You can do the same: choose the right food, clothing, or accessories once, and then just follow the habit. Or make for yourself a detailed schedule of the day and in the future do not be tormented by the question of what to do next.

5. Use a random number generator

Another option is to randomly choose between several equivalent options. This method is recommended by venture capitalist Patrick McGinnis. He always has to decide how to conduct his business on the stock exchange, so he hardly thinks about unimportant issues, passing the choice … to his watch.

Patrick McGinnis

To choose between all sorts of everyday little things, I use the "Consult the watch" method. I am narrowing down the list of options to two. Then I assign each option one side of my watch - right or left. I look at which half of the dial the second hand is at that moment. Decision is made. It sounds silly, but if you try this method, you will thank me again. It saves a lot of time.

You might as well roll dice or flip a coin, just like Harvey Dent.

6. Use the 90% rule

In fact, delegation of choice and clock tricks are only good for little things - if you can't decide what to eat for breakfast or what tie to tie. However, not all decisions in our life are so simple. For more complex choices, there is a 90% rule.

It was invented by Greg McKeon, author of Essentialism. It consists in the following. When we make a choice, there are usually pros and cons to each of the options available. McKeon suggests that you rate each option on a scale from 0 to 100. If your solution scores less than 90, reject it.

Greg McKeon.

It's just sanity. If your decision doesn't have a definite yes, say no and don't worry.

The 90 percent rule makes it much easier to make decisions: if an option has more than 10% cons and less than 90% benefits, it shouldn't be accepted. “Think how you will feel if you score 65 out of 100 on some test,” McKeon writes. - Most likely you will be disappointed. Do you want to experience the same feelings when you make an important choice?"

7. Do thought experiments

On his popular blog Wait But Why, Tim Urban advised his readers to make decisions - even those as important as getting married or choosing a career - using thought experiments.

For example, you are in doubt whether it is worth continuing your romance or whether it is better to break up with your partner. Tim Urban suggests this: Imagine a button. Clicking on it teleports you to the future, two months after the break. Your heavy conversations, public scenes and scandals in the past, your closet is free of things of the former or the former - not a single forgotten sock. All in the past. Would you press a button like this? If so, then you are not afraid of the breakup, but the hassle and troubles that accompany it.

Or, for example, you want to go on a journey, but you can't make up your mind. Imagine asking your friend to make a choice for you. One day he hands you an envelope containing your tickets for tomorrow's flight. Are you excited and adventurous or disappointed? If the latter, then you are wrong and want to go somewhere.

Urban says that such thought experiments allow people who are obsessed with logic and try to follow the voice of reason all the time to start listening to their intuition.

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