This year-end, we all look forward to a good break, releasing tension and work pressure of recent months. A major cause of our fatigue and stress is the number of decisions that we have to make, estimated at seventy per day according to a recent study by Columbia University.
As Barry Schwartz, American professor of societal theory and social action at Swarthmore College, highlighted "every decision has a cognitive cost" and when the number of choices to make increases, it can lead to a "fatigue decision" or even worse "an analysis paralysis". The hardest part is probably these decisions' domino effect. Example: "What about organising a team-building for my team? Yes but what is the suitable date? Which provider would be the best for it? Near by or to a more exotic place? Do I incorporate a theme for my training’s reflection? And which one?" In these situations of "decision fatigue," our mind will look for the easiest: the non-choice. But avoiding decisions is also a choice. The choice of doing nothing and leave things as they are even if it does not suit us.
So if you want to move forward in either your professional or personal life you need to make decisions but also being able of letting go for minor things.
Hyper choice has become a selling argument for brands such as Starbucks proposing 85.000 coffee combinations. But is this hyper choice limitless? Hasn't it reached its tipping point, creating anxiety instead of making life easier?
Take for example clothing or food. Major leaders of our time have found tricks to simplify the process of decision on these aspects: Barrack Obama as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg confessed does always dress the same way to "avoid having to ask questions" and therefore "concentrate decision-making power on fundamental issues". Perhaps it is not by chance that Steve Jobs wore only jeans and New Balance and whether Angela Merkel has the same jacket in 30 different colours.
Some restaurants, built their concept on the idea of limited choice. So "Red", in Amsterdam offers beef or lobster only, combining top quality and restricted choice. This is also what pushes you to the comfortable daily set menu choice.
My advice to undertake this detox decision in late 2015:
1- Find daily life areas where you can install habits that liberate you from recurrent decision-making.
2- Kindly refuse making decision for the others. Some people are skilled at loading you with decisions: "You always have good intuition, what shall I do?" Up to you to return: "Both work for me, take what makes you happy".
3- Rest on those who worship making decisions for others. So, let your sister-in-law (if it makes her happy) decide on the Christmas table plan and your brother on the Christmas present for your parents. Cut down choices you make, leaving your brain free for those decisions that are really worth your attention.
4- Reject FOMO! "Fear of missing out" is what pushes you to explore endless possibilities, anxious of not being aware of the latest trend. According to Dr. Schwartz, "trying to make the best choice is condemning oneself to be eternally unsatisfied."
5- Sort & clear your wardrobe
6- Accept choices that go against rationale, like enjoying a sweet gastronomic treat. Good news is that study made by Florida State University researchers shows that glucose level in your blood impacts your confidence and encourages your strategic thinking.