Making decisions is often one of the toughest things we need to do. And I am not just talking about larger, life changing decisions. Small decisions such as deciding what to eat for dinner/breakfast or what to wear also take a lot of bandwidth.
To avoid a mental overload, then, here are ways that have been proven to make the decision-making process easier.
There is no absolute right decision
While there are definite wrong decisions, when it comes to deciding between two ‘right’ decisions, psychologists say that there is no absolute right decision.
While you can take your time to analyze and carefully think through your options, at the end of the day, obsessing about every little detail of your choices might create a mental overload. Instead, choose the option that makes most sense to you at that time and one whose consequences you can live with in the future.
Give yourself an ultimatum
We are lead to believe that taking very long to make decision leads us to making the right call. But this often can have negative consequences. Taking too long to make up your mind might leave you much more confused than before if you do not take care.
The best way to stop yourself from taking too long to make up your mind is to give yourself a deadline. Of course the deadline depends on the size of the decision. A life changing decision will definitely take longer than your decision on what to eat, but having a ticking deadline should help you make your decision sooner.
Limit your options
Once again, we are often lead to believe that the more options we have, the better the choice we will make. However, that has been found to be false. Indeed, psychologists, in studies of how having options affects us, found that having too many options led to something called decision paralysis. This means that too many options made it even harder for us to determine which would be the best choice for us.
The number of options that you limit yourself to will depend on the kind of decisions that you will make. However, ask yourself these two questions when making a decision:
- What is the aim in keeping your options open? This will help you weigh whether the stress of options outweigh the benefits of a single choice.
- How well do your options fulfil much of your needs? This will help you choose the option that fulfils the most needs.
Embrace your choice
And once you have made your decision, decision paralysis and make do with it. Shut down every other option that you had and make do with the decision that you made. Sticking to your decision will actually make it much easier for you to change it in future because you now have a concrete idea of what doesn’t work, which means that there is one less option for you now!
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