Would you invest 5 minutes in reading a post that can potentially save your 50 minutes every day? If your answer is yes, you are a step ahead than the rest.
Watching my boss dressed in the same blue shirt and brown chinos every day, I thought he was too lazy to choose. Then, I thought he was trying to imitate Bill Gates and Zuckerberg. Later, I stopped noticing.
That particular day, I realised why his “work uniform” not a sign of laziness, but his wisdom.
It was helping him make better decisions! (No, not in the lucky charm way.) That was an important lesson for me. One that I never intended to learn, and he never intended to teach. But somehow, we both did.
#1 Limit (or standardise) your “everyday” choices
It takes me 10 minutes to decide what I should wear on a particular day. How much time does it take him? Not even a second.
Time saved = $$ earned!
Don’t you think we were better off when we had only one brand of toothpaste, “Colgate”, the soap everyone used was “Hamam”, and dad used to drop us to school on “Bajaj” scooter?
Look at the scenario now — We spend more time in a grocery store trying to figure out which brand of cheese to go for than relishing that cheese on the dinner table with our family.
Choices are evil. Kill them.
#2 Adopt the strategy of “Satisficing”
What is satisficing? To understand this, consider a scenario.
Following step 1, you fixed “brand X” for your daily cheese needs. One day, you visit the store, and the shopkeeper tells you that brand X is unavailable. What would you do in that situation?
A: Call up home and ask the next preferred brand. (Time spent: 3 mins)
B: Choose yourself. (Time spent: 5 mins)
C: Go for the first in sight. (Time spent: >30 seconds)
D: Don’t buy cheese. (Wonderful! Time spent in explaining mom at home: >5 mins)
Congratulations to those who chose C. Option C is called the strategy of satisficing — going for the first thing that fulfils your “basic” need.
Goat cheese, cow cheese, mozzarella or cheddar – Hardly matters. It’s cheese anyway. (Unless you are a chef. In that case, it does matter!)
#3 Drop selection. Start elimination.
Often when sitting down to write, I’m overwhelmed by the number of topics. As a writer, my mood often dominates my work. Bottom line: Satisficing doesn’t work for me all the time.
And so, I go for a strikeout!
That is what women do while shopping, and HR managers do when they go headhunting. First, fix the number of items (candidates or dresses) you want. Second, select the ones which fit the basic requirement. Third, eliminate till you find the best.
1-2-3…and you nailed it!
Over to you
If picking is a choice, so is dropping. But what matters is not what we choose to pick or drop, but how we choose. I won’t deny that some decisions are actually tough. They demand hours of analysis of variables and results which will stress us out. What should one do in those situations?
Well, you use your mind. And if your mind is already occupied with trivial decisions like the ones we sorted with the above three steps, then, you won’t be able to do anyone any good and feel paralysed with decision fatigue. So, clarity and presence of ample mind space are important which standardising, satisficing and eliminating will help you achieve.
Thank you for staying with me. For more tips on better decision making and becoming more productive, check out this infographic.