Monday, November 18, 2013

Decision-Making 101

How to Overcome Decision Fatigue

Does the phrase "I'll sleep on it and get back to you" sound familiar?  If you're not using it on a regular basis, you are probably among the millions suffering from "Decision Fatigue"--the loss of the ability to make a good choice because too many choices have been made without a timeout.

World Wide Wiredness makes the planet a tough place to live.  Not only are we all faced with multiple decisions daily, but we're expected to make them in an eye-blink.  If we're lucky, we have time to actually process the options, but more likely than not, we rely on our sixth sense--that niggling little voice that squeaks in the corner of our brain--to make the choice for us.  If you just picked something over something else a minute ago (I picked a handful of Hershey's kisses over an sue me!), can you answer the question "Why?"  Probably not.  I didn't even hesitate long enough to look at the lovely, juicy, fresh apples in the bowl before the voice had me ripping open the bag of chocolates.  Not really a decision; just an action based on nothing in particular.

With holidays of all sorts upon us, Decision Season is in full swing.  We'll decide where to celebrate and with whom, what to eat, who to gift with goodies and who to ignore.  Which goodies to choose is even harder.  For those of us who over-function to a sad degree (me!), this is actually a year-round event.  In my case it always results in a closet overflowing with items I bought because they were perfect for myself or someone on my list only to find something more perfect to replace them at the last minute.  There's a bag of stuff from a book sale at school that dates back some ten years.  I don't recall for whom the stuff was purchased or under what guise of logic, but it's not suitable for anything but a reminder to stop impulse shopping.

You're getting sleepy.....

If you have horses, you are undoubtedly challenged to make some really intriguing decisions.  First, which horse will you buy, rent, steal, or adopt?  Where will you keep it?  Will you still keep it there tomorrow?  What will you feed it?  Who will be your guide when you're lost in the equestrian wilderness of brands and styles and disciplines and belief systems?  What will you use to get the horse crap out of your clothes?

If  you're not frustrated enough, check out the various models for decision making.  Ouch!

It's endless.  And the more choices there are, the more difficult the decision becomes.  This is another face of Decision Fatigue.  There's ample research to support the phenomenon of Decision Paralysis that results from too many choices available.  Some of the studies are kind of funny, so you might want to google that.

In sum, the article linked at the top that launched this thought parade says that decisions are best made after rest.  First thing in the morning, if you're a morning person, is the best time to go look at that new horse or pick from the assortment of saddles you're considering.  Don't shop for groceries when you're hungry, and don't pick a horse when you've got a show next weekend.  Don't make any decisions more momentous than which socks to wear if you've been up all night watching Zombie Apocalypse movies. If you've spent all day doing heavy lifting with your brain at work, that's a bad time to choose where you're going to go on your next vacation.  Sure, Bali sounds great right now.  Put a pin in it and check back with your logical self in the morning.  Never hesitate to "sleep on it."  That could be the best decision you'll make all day.

And of course we make no decisions of any import when we're drugged (pain meds being ubiquitous among horsemen, that's almost a given) or otherwise impaired.  Promise?  There are enough blogs full of funny stories about bad decisions horsemen make.  I don't need any more competition.  Thanks!

This just popped up and deserved a place in this article.

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