How to Make a Decision
Ever pondered a decision but found you just weren’t able to? Research has found that taking a short snappy rest early afternoon (even while in the workplace) is proven to be helpful. Indeed, science just demonstrated it.
While past research has discovered that rest enhances our capacity to think and take care of issues, another investigation set out to make this thought a stride further. Scientists out of the University of Bristol tried how rest influences the speed with which we process data, both intentionally and unknowingly.
Curiously enough, most of the boosts and data we get amid the day is really taken in unknowingly.
For instance, when you half-hear your collaborator’s discussions or see a board out of the edge of your eye, you’re not effectively concentrating on these boosts, but rather that doesn’t mean they’re not giving you basic data.
This examination found that after a snooze, members could all the more rapidly process and respond after presentation to oblivious improvements, recommending that even a short measure of rest can enable us to process subliminal signals.
Persuaded to sleep yet? Wonderful—simply remember a couple of best practices: Limit your rest time to 20 to 30 minutes so you wake up feeling revived instead of sluggish. Also, in the event that you have power over your rest condition, let in some light so your body doesn’t believe it’s evening.
Too much information
It’s a pretty common idea that the more information you have, the better decisions you can make. However, at some point, you cross a threshold where you have too much information. It’s one of those dumb tricks our brains pull on us that’s hard to counteract.
When we have too much information, we start to fill in gaps and add weight to information that doesn’t matter. Psychology Today explains what’s going on:
The human mind hates uncertainty. Uncertainty implies volatility, randomness, and danger. When we notice information is missing, our brain raises a metaphorical red flag and says, “Pay attention. This could be important…” When data is missing, we overestimate its value. Our mind assumes that since we are expending resources locating information, it must be useful.
This information comes in all forms. It might be that you’ve done so much research about a topic that you’ve passed the point of “educated decision” and moved onto too much information. Or it might be that you’ve sought out the advice of several friends, all of whom have given you different opinions. Regardless, when you have too much information on the table, you’re making the decision process way more difficult.
In my own case, I certainly reached that point of information overload where I had too many facts and opinions in front of me.
Cutting some of that out helped. Instead of talking with a bunch of friends I kept it to just a few whom I trust.
The other big realization I had with both bigger and smaller choices was that my decision was always reversible.
With a lot of our decisions, we put more weight on them than they’re worth.
Yes, moving across the country to a new place is a big deal, but it’s also totally reversible.
If it sucks, you move again. Likewise, with most smaller decisions, setting up a two minute rule to make the choice gets it out of the way so we can move on.
Most decisions we make don’t matter as much as we think they do, and recognizing that helps keep the amount of information you take in to a minimum.
Pretend You’re Advising Someone Else
Big decisions can wreak havoc on your emotions, and that clouds your mind so that you can’t make a solid decision. The New York Times suggests that you pretend like you’re advising a friend through the decision.
The reasoning here is really simple: your short-term emotions get in the way of decisions, and that clouds your judgment. It’s hard to break free of your emotions, but it helps to know they affect your choices.
This only works in certain circumstances. Pretending to give advice to a friend about the cheapest moving truck doesn’t make sense, but advice on where to move does. This was one of the most helpful ideas for me as I tried to pick where the heck I wanted to go next. I went with an imaginary friend with a similar disposition to me and tried to think of how I’d approach a conversation with them. I pictured the type of questions I’d ask, thought about the various risks I might mention, and even came up with a few things to research about different locations.
It certainly takes a bit of mental gymnastics, but it’s worth it to at least try. You can always seek out advice from a friend as well, but this way you can do so on the fly without the need for a long phone call.