Limit Your Options And Get More Done

29/52 choice paralysis

(Photo credit: maclauren70)

We often think that the more choices we have the better. That’s the whole idea behind bigger supermarkets and larger malls – more choices. But is that really what’s best for us?

For example, if you’re a bridesmaid picking your dress can be a fairly daunting task, especially if the bride has told you to wear whatever you like. You know very well that she’d be unhappy if you really did wear whatever you like so you second guess every option. But if the bride narrows it down to a specific color and designer — the choice suddenly becomes much easier.

This concept is called decision fatigue – the central premise being that the more decisions we make the less likely we are to make good decisions. Once you accept that fewer choices are better you can start being more productive and improve your judgement.

Follow the items on this list to limit your options:

  1. Have a daily schedule – Waking up at the same time everyday, eating the same thing for breakfast and then going to the gym right after work may sound boring and monotonous. But if you do the same activities enough your body will start to do them automatically.  You’ll never forget to go to the gym again! Plus when your body’s running on auto your mind is free to wonder about more important things.
  1. Buy the same outfit in a handful of different colors – President Obama has only two different types of suits, Steve Jobs was famous for always wearing jeans and a black turtleneck, Mark Zuckerberg owns several copies of the same hoody. What do all these people have in common?  They all make important decisions on a daily basis and so can’t waste any energy on trivial problems like what to wear.
  1. Establish a meal plan – When you get home from work you’re tired and hungry so the last thing you want to do is spend time deciding what to eat. Also studies into decision fatigue show your more likely to eat unhealthy food in this state. Avoid this by planning your meals a few days in advance or even cooking in bulk and eating the leftovers.
  1. Automate micro-decisions – Amazon.com and Soap.com have a subscription package which allows you to ship frequently purchased items automatically. Use virtual assistant apps like Fancy Hands and get other people to make decisions for you like finding a restaurant or booking a flight.
  1. Set time limits on your choices – If you have a lot of decisions to make through out the day, set yourself a limit for how long you can spend deliberating on each one so the choice doesn’t take over your day.

What ways could you limit you decisions?

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