Care to guess how many decisions you probably make in a day? The answer is thousands. According to researchers at Cornell University, an average adult makes approximately 35,000 conscious decisions per day. That said, it’s no wonder that you end up with decision fatigue (the deterioration of quality decisions) towards the end of each day.
To help save your time and avoid decision fatigue, here are 5 interesting methods you can try out to make quicker decisions in life:
#1. Just pick any one and go with it
You’re sitting in a restaurant and it has been 15 minutes, but you’re still contemplating between the carbonara or bolognese spaghetti. If you don’t make a decision quickly, your hungry friend will soon become your hangry (hungry + angry) friend. But, now you can’t think clearly cause you’re nervous your friend is getting agitated! What do you do? Well, simply put your foot down on a choice and stick with it.
Although it appears as if you’re making a thoughtless decision, you’re not. Out of the dozens of options on the menu, you’ve narrowed down 2 selections that you think is good. This means you’ve already eliminated the other “terrible” options, so your final decision can’t be bad. Instead of wasting your time and risk being yelled at by your friend, it’s better to decide quickly and make the best out of it. So, just choose!
Oh, and once you’ve decided on something, remember to never look back.
#2. Make big decisions within 10 minutes
Before you give this method a pass, hear us out. While it’s common advice to not waste your precious time on small decisions (e.g. what to eat or wear), here’s how it can work for making important decisions.
Following advice from Jon Braddock, a company CEO, he said to simply ask yourself one question, “Can I live with either outcome?”. If the answer is “yes”, then there’s no reason to hesitate since your choice will yield a positive result anyway. But if the answer is “no”, then you should not be considering either of the options at all since both results will be equally bad. And if one of the outcomes is better, you already have the answer…
Use this method once you’ve gathered enough information about all your options in order to make an informed decision; especially if it affects your future.
#3. Be a fly on the wall
Have you ever wondered why it’s easier to give relationship advice to your best friend but it’s harder to solve your own relationship issues?
Psychological researcher, Igor Grossman, found that people who were asked to reason about their friend’s relationship problems responded with wiser reasoning than those who had to reason about their personal relationship conflict. He also found that those who thought of their own relationship conflict through a 3rd-person perspective were as wise as those who reasoned about their friend’s problem.
Hence, positioning yourself as a fly on the wall (being an observer and thinking from an outsider’s point of view) when solving personal issues could be the key to rational problem-solving. To do this, simply take yourself out of the picture and imagine the issue is your close friend’s problem. Then, imagine you’re advising him or her on ways to solve the issue and you’ll be able to make a decision about it in no time!
#4. Make someone else decide for you
In a series of experiments conducted by Cornell University and University of Chicago, it was found that those who had to make a decision with no information to refer to were more unhappy than those who had been assigned an option. This is because they could not give themselves credit (although their choices were good) as they felt they might not have picked the best option (a.k.a #FOMO). Hence, they were not happier than those without a choice.
It may feel nice to be in control of your life especially if you’re a young adult who has just tasted freedom. However, sometimes when decision-making starts to become overwhelming, it’s better to relinquish control and hand it to someone you trust. This works best for trivial things such as asking your friend to choose the wine at a restaurant or asking them if you should buy the blue or red top when the two of you are out shopping.
So, the next time you’re stuck on making a minor decision like picking a movie to watch, perhaps it’s best to hand over the decision to someone else.
#5. Don’t try to be perfect
Do you find yourself undecided at the bookstore mulling for more than 30 minutes over which coloured journal is the “right one” for you? While it may seem rather insignificant, it’s still a choice to make. This is when you should understand that perfection isn’t everything.
More often than not, the perfect choice may not even be available or it’ll simply take too much time and effort to nail the “right decision”. To solve this, simply ponder if the decision is life-changing. If yes, then it’s worth weighing its pros and cons. But, if the decision will not in any way affect your life in a year or so, then it doesn’t matter whether you made the best choice since the result is insignificant. Hence, it’s fine to just choose what’s “okay”.
After all, a wise man once said, “Sometimes good enough is perfect”.
The next time you find yourself stuck on making a decision, remember to put these tips to good use. Now you’re ready to go forth and decide!