DECISION-MAKING STYLE

INDECISION IS A DECISION

 

YOU CANNOT MAKE PROGRESS WITHOUT MAKING DECISIONS

 

ARE YOU MAKING YOUR DECISIONS CONSCIOUSLY?

DECISION-MAKING

THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING DECISIONS AND YOUR RECOVERY

1. The vicious cycle of decisions: Decisional fatigue → indecisiveness → stress → you can’t think very well → Decisional fatigue   2. Interpersonal:  Different decision-making styles can cause tension in relationships.
The road to recovery for our post-concussion syndrome patients can be seen as a big personal project. The choices are endless. There are many things competing for our attention and time. And, our resources (time, money, effort, favours, etc.) are limited.   How do you know you are making the best decisions to get you to the next step? Some of the decisions our post-concussion patients grapple with involve:
  • Finding therapy in their area
  • Pacing their recovery plan
  • Managing work-related issues
  • Planning for the future
  • Financial matters
  • Other health concerns (e.g., surgeries, treatments, etc.)
  • How to manage family affairs
  • Making time for themselves
  Post-concussion syndrome doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Adding one more big project to your life begs many questions.
As we mentioned in the previous section, post-concussion syndrome does not occur in a vacuum… It occurs in the context of your life, and all that is going on in it.   Burden of Adversity Hypothesis
  • Repeat exposures to physical and psychological trauma are likely to affect outcomes after concussion (Bahraini et al., 2013).
  • Many chronic physical and psychological disorders noted in adulthood have precursors that arise during childhood (Forrest et al., 2004)
  • the effect of mTBI and associated consequences on the function of an individual can be conceptualized developmentally over the course of a lifetime (Bahraini et al., 2013)
  • short-term and long-term challenges associated with function after mTBI are the product of biological, psychological and social processes occurring over time (Sampson et al., 2004)
In concussion patients, it was observed that the more adversity they had seen in their lives, the more likely they were to have more post-concussion syndrome symptoms and stress scores; and the more likely they were to have lower measures of resilience(Reid et al., 2018)   Implications with respect to decision-making • Many big decisions will need to be made… • not just decisions related to consequences of the head trauma… • but also life decisions that address the consequences of the adversity you faced before the trauma… • or better put, decisions to address the next step to being the person you believe you could be
According to Yerkes and Dodson, peak performance is achieved when the level of pressure we experience is appropriate for the work we’re doing. When we’re under too much or too little pressure, performance declines, sometimes severely.       When it comes to making decisions, which part of the curve are in?   Are you putting too much pressure on the decision-making process? Are you to laid-back?   Hear what one of our generation’s super-performers had to say about decisions?
  You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something–your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

-Steve Jobs

  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy would suggest you evaluate your thoughts using Socratic Dialogue. Examples of this are:
  • What is the evidence that my thought is true? What is the evidence that my thought is not true?
  • What’s an alternative explanation or viewpoint?
  • What’s the worst thing that could happen and how would I cope if it did?
  • What’s the best that could happen?
  • What’s the most likely outcome?
  • What is the effect of telling myself this thought?
  • What could be the effect of changing my thinking?
  • What would I tell someone else if he/she viewed this situation in this way?
  • What should I do now?

PROCHASKA’S MODEL OF CHANGE

WHICH STAGE OF CHANGE ARE YOU IN?

 

WHICH STAGE ARE YOU IN WITH RESPECT TO A PARTICULAR DECISION?

  • IF CHANGE IS NOT EVEN ON YOUR RADAR, OR IF YOU’RE ENTERING THE CONTEMPLATION PHASE, YOU’RE PROBABLY BETTER OFF WORKING ON MOTIVATION
  • RELAPSE IS OFTEN PART OF THE CYCLE OF CHANGE

ASPIRATIONS & MOTIVATION

WHAT IS WAITING FOR YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS?

MANY METHODS OF VISUALIZING THE POSSIBILITIES THAT AWAIT US ARE AVAILABLE TO US

 

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?

RUMINATION

THINKING ABOUT SOMETHING VS. THINKING THROUGH SOMETHING

Unbroken string of sour musings with no action statements (vs. action oriented)  

Often leads to a paralysis of analysis

It is not fun

CAN YOU RUMINATE YOUR WAY OUT OF RUMINATING?

  • FEEL BETTER ⇒ STOP RUMINATING
  • DON’T FEEL BETTER ⇒ KEEP RUMINATING
 

ARE YOU WAITING FOR THAT A-HA MOMENT?

 

I’m a gambler and love slot machines.

-La La Anthony

 

DO YOU HANG OUT WITH OTHER RUMINATORS? DO YOU CO-RUMINATE?

 

YOU CAN’T JUST WALK AWAY FROM RUMINATION…OR CAN YOU?

WHY? WHY ME?
  • Maybe there is no reason
  • Computational linguistics shows that if you drop down the why your mood will get better
  • Can you budget your whys to just 5/day?
  • Why-ing can be good if it’s constructive and productive.
  2. FAIRNESS
  • The Just-World Belief; i.e., good things happen to good people.
  • If something bad happens to me, does that mean I’m bad?
    • Many patients tell this to themselves (and aren’t even aware of it)
  • Post hoc fallacy: post hoc ergo propter hoc
    • e.g., my baby is crying so I must be a bad mom
    • Can you take losses “well”
    • Work on solutions, avoiding beating yourself up
  3. REGRET
It is easier to act yourself into a better way of feeling than to feel yourself into a better way of action. –O.H. Mowrer
 

1. Substitute mentation

  • Dishwasher, gardening, prayer, piano, swim, leave the house
  • Not screen time
  • They will ruminate initially while they are doing that, may be even louder at first but it will eventually peter out
 

2. “Thinking Through” Time

  • You want to add value by thinking, not create stress by simply reminding yourself that they exist and you need to do something about them
  • Get up early, pen and paper more likely to be helpful when you’re fresh and then move on for the rest of the day, you don’t want to think about it during something important
  • Consider expressive writing
 

3. Do something rather than think

LANGUAGE & RHETORIC

IS YOUR SELF-PROPAGANDA HELPING YOUR CAUSE?

I would like to be competent… “and with the competency, the confidence comes”   “I need to figure out what I’m going to do before I can be motivated”
 

Where do these beliefs come from?

Are they helping us to get ahead?

Can we think of circumstances when these theories don’t hold water?

 

Children often have confidence before they are competent?

Actually, they are often motivated before they know what they want to do…

…Pretty much every kid

LANGUAGE REFLECTS OUR CULTURE.   IS THE LANGUAGE WITH WHICH YOU SPEAK TO YOURSELF PART OF THE CULTURE OF PROGRESS?   WE HAVE DISCUSSED LANGUAGE AND RECOVERY ALREADY AT LENGTH.   WE HAVE ALSO DISCUSSED A TYPE OF INTROSPECTION DESIGNED TO ELICIT CRITICAL THINKING – SOCRATIC DIALOGUE.

1. Cost-benefit Analysis

What are the pros and cons of telling yourself that you are not going to get better. Try out our Advantages-Disadvantages Worksheet. What are the chances that line of thinking will help you get where you want?”  

2. Examination of the evidence

What is the evidence that the next time you get in the car something terrible will happen? Have you checked the statistics? What is the evidence that nothing terrible will happen, and that you may regain control over your life?  

3. Exception-seeking

Has it ever crossed your mind that it may be the other way around? That competence is born of confidence? That motivation will carry you to your eventual goal?  

4. “Name your price”

What can you do about your situation now? What would it take for you to take the next step to what you want?  

5. Scaling/Rating technique

How close are you to where you want to get on a scale of 0-10? And what would one step up on that scale look like? What thoughts and behaviours fit with you being one spot higher on the scale?  

6. Testimonial technique

What are some of the success stories of those who have done what you endeavour to do? Have you spoken to people who have been through it, or helped others through it, to come out of it successful in the end?  

7. View-pointing

What would your dear granny say if she knew you were saying that to yourself? What about your child? Or what if you were to say that to your child? or your dear granny? Or what would the version of yourself you would like to be – or version of yourself you once were – tell you if they heard you speak to yourself like that?  

8. Identifying cognitive dissonance

What happens if what your doing and what your desiring for your future don’t seem to be in line with one another?  
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” – Albert Einstein
It is easier to act yourself into a better way of feeling than to feel yourself into a better way of action. –O.H. Mowrer
 

1. Substitute mentation

  • Dishwasher, gardening, prayer, piano, swim, leave the house
  • Not screen time
  • They will ruminate initially while they are doing that, may be even louder at first but it will eventually peter out
 

2. “Thinking Through” Time

  • Get up early, pen and paper more likely to be helpful when you’re fresh and then move on for the rest of the day, you don’t want to think about it during something important
  • Consider expressive writing

YOUR DECISION-MAKING STYLE

DO YOU TEND TO SATISFICE OR MAXIMIZE?

One model sees two extreme styles of decision-making:   1. Maximizers 2. Satisficers   Research shows that we are not purely of one type or another; we are a blend of the two (Schwartz, 2002).
What is a Maximizer? • Spend a great deal of time & energy making decisions • Are often decision-avoidant.
    • When decision-making is an exhaustive process, one can go numb to the whole process.
• Often second-guess their decisions
    • Am I sure this is the absolute best tripod out there, for years to come, for all circumstances that I may find myself in the future?
• Are high-achieving
    • Often have perfectionist traits
• Are rather unhappy:
    • would you rather be 10% more high-achieving, or 10% more happy
What is a Satisficer? • Are acutely attuned to the opportunity cost of exhaustive decisions
    • What is a better use of your time?
    • To find the best tripod for your camera, or get a good enough one and spend the extra time you save with your children? 
• Set decision-making criteria in advance, and “settle” for the first “good enough” option • Make objectively “worse” decisions
    • You may not get the best tripod for your camera on Amazon
    • You may have missed out on a 4.9/5 star option when you chose your 4.2/5 tripod
• Accept that they may sometimes miss out on a “better” option
    • You’re good with a good enough camera tripod
• Are overall happier
    • That dance move your daughter made was priceless
    • you’re happy you didn’t miss out on it while you were doing tripod research on Amazon
• Are annoyed by maximizers
What are some of the consequences of Maximizer behaviour (vs. Satisficer behaviour)?
  • less likely to:
    • be happy
    • be optimistic
    • have self-esteem
    • have life satisfaction
  • more likely to:
    • have depression
    • perfectionism
    • regret
 
  • less satisfied than satisficers with consumer decisions
 
  • more likely to engage in social comparison (i.e., Keeping up with the Jones’)
 
  • more adversely affected by comparing themselves to those “better off” (as they see it)
 
  • more sensitive to regret and less satisfied in an ultimatum bargaining game
Can people feel worse off as the options they face increase?   A study on choice (So many to chose from)
  • In 2000, psychologists from Columbia and Stanford University published a study about jams (Iyengar et al., 2001)
  • On a regular day at a local food market, people would find a display table with 24 different kinds of jams.
  • Then on another day, at that same food market, people were given only 6 different types of jam choices.
  Guess which display table lead to more sales? While the big display table (with 24 jams) generated more interest, people were far less likely to purchase a jar of jam than in the case of the smaller display (about ten times less likely).   The study shows that while choice seems appealing, at first sight, choice overload generates:   Paralysis of Analysis.   Customer satisfaction was also lower in the group that had more choice. The bigger display of jams lead to lower customer satisfaction than the smaller display; choice can actually demotivate. These results have been replicated several times since 2000 in different contexts.   So more isn’t always better.   But where lies the right balance?

PRIORITIZATION

WHAT’S ACTUALLY GOT YOUR ATTENTION, AND WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR ATTENTION TO BE?

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.    When the class began, he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with large rocks. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.    So, the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the large rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.   The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”    The professor then produced 2 cups of water from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.   “Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.  The large rocks are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions–things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.  The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else–the small stuff.”   “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the large rocks. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.   Take care of the large rocks first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand and water.”
   

How does this relate to us?

• We frequently under-prioritize health and self-care. • But, if we take care of ourselves, we will have more energy for other areas of our lives. • Our health should be one of our biggest ‘rocks’.    

Prioritizing the Important Things

  • Many of us spend most of our time doing things in our life that are not very important to us, and ordinarily, we tend to do the easiest tasks first because…well, maybe because we can cross them off our lists quickly (and get that dopamine ‘reward’ rush)
 
  • The goal is to reverse this pattern.
 
  • Schedule chunks of time to work toward your most important life goals and priorities, and allow no interruptions.
    • The lesser items will fit in.
    • This is like filling your bucket with large rocks first, then filling the rest in with pebbles, then sand, then water.
  (CogSmart, 2018)
There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to achieve it.” 

–Napoleon Hill (American author)

 
  The reason why some people seem to get so much more done faster is because they are 100% clear on their goals and objectives, and they don’t deviate from them! (Tracy, 2017)   The more clarity you have about what you want in life, and the steps you need to take to get there, the easier it will be to overcome things like procrastination or disorganization.  

Don’t know where to start?

  Top-down approach: Have you tried visualizing your preferred future as if it were playing out like a movie in front of you?   Bottom-up approach: Others prefer to develop as system that allows them to have better control over all their work (where work means anything you want to get done that is not yet done), and in doing so, have their minds freer to to invest in higher level ideals and values (Allen, 2003). This organization is a powerful method to improve your executive functioning by leveraging your mental resources; that is, by creating an “External Mind”.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

-Reinhold Niebuhr, Serenity Prayer

   

You will have to accept that there are things that fall outside your purview.

 

This will allow you to leverage your thoughts and actions towards achieving your priorities.

 

Read our Responsibility Pie article and Responsibility Pie Worksheet for more information.

“There are no solutions – only trade-offs.”

Thomas Sowell (Professor at Stanford University)

  You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

English Proverb

   

Sometimes the solution you want to exist doesn’t.

 

You will have to make concessions.

   

In this Time Management Matrix (by Stephen Covey) we can see there are 4 quadrants.

Relating these 4 quadrants to our parable above (Section “A Parable“), we get:
  • Do first (Q1) – these can be thought of as our ‘large rocks’ and ‘pebbles’
  • Do later (Q2) – also contains ‘large rocks’ and ‘pebbles’
  • Delegate (Q3) – this is the ‘sand’ in our lives
  • Eliminate (Q4) – this is the ‘water’
 

We can use this quadrant in strategically deciding upon how to to invest our time .

This matrix is helpful for both organization AND prioritization, because successful time management requires BOTH!  

The Four Quadrants in greater detail

  Q1: DO IT FIRST These activities require immediate attention, they are “now” actions, they are both urgent and important – i.e., big rocks/pebbles
  • Some activities we might place in this box might be crisis situations, pressing problems, or deadline driven activities/tasks
  • Emergencies
  • Important appointments
  • Important deadlines
  • Pressing problems (car dies, roof is leaking)
    • Important tasks are those that have to do with results
    • If something is important, it contributes to your mission, your values and your priority goals 
    • Urgent tasks require us to seize the opportunity to make things happen
  Q2: DO IT LATER These tasks are not so urgent, but still important: Health, exercise,  relaxation, recreation, self-care, relationship strengthening, life goals, planning & prevention, investing in processes & algorithms to improve time efficiency, self-improvement, etc., i.e., still large rocks & pebbles
  • They can be seen as investments for your future so you have more time to do Q1 activity.
  • These are tasks that are often ignored by many who struggle with time management, and conversely, protected by expert time managers.
    • The goal is to move toward spending most of our time in the Important/Not Immediate quadrant. These are the large rocks/pebbles
    • If you spend more time on planning and prevention, you will not need to spend as much time in the Important/Immediate quadrant
  • Investing in Q2 activities is the heart of effective personal management – dealing with things that are not urgent (until they are), but important
  Q3: DELEGATE These are tasks or activities that are not so high up on our list of important things, but may still be tied to some sense of urgency
  • It is the sand in the parable, and includes things like: interruptions, phone is ringing, someone is knocking on door, popular activities (TV shows, shopping sales)
  • They might also include meetings, on-going tasks (like finishing a book you’re reading just to have it done) and perhaps some time wasters.
  • As much as possible, try to minimize, delegate, or eliminate these as they do not necessarily contribute to your overall goals.
  Q4: ELIMINATE These activities are the water in the parable.. the things we place in this quadrant are neither important nor urgent
  • They can include trivial tasks like redundant tasks (e.g., colour-coding something that doesn’t require it), interruptions like social media notifications or phone calls, mindless activities like going down a social media rabbit hole, or excessive time wasters like binge-watching Movie streaming platforms, gossiping, list (re-)reading, trivial online research.
  • These should be eliminated as much as possible if you want to stay on track

Some Time Management Tips

  1. THINK ABOUT ASKING FOR HELP This can be hired or help from friends/family. This can be help with driving, groceries, lawn work, shoveling the driveway, finances, meal preparation, etc. If you can arrange things so you have an hour or two extra a day just to relax and perhaps do your exercises if you haven’t done them already that day, that will be a good practice. This is a good practice even for those without concussions.   2. INCREASE Q2 ACTIVITIES Think about investing in processes that will save you time in the long-run Q2 activities are things that take up some time up front – like concussion rehabilitation – but free up a lot of time later – through increased efficiency and less symptoms after succeeding in therapy. Examples:
  • learning to improve sleep quality so you don’t need as much sleep
  • learning simpler nutritious meals so you save time in their preparation
  • learning an exercise regimen that can save you time while satisfying your workout desires
  • making a weekly time budget (just like a financial budget but for time) so you can get the help you need
Bringing this spirit back will help you protect your time, live a balanced lifestyle and support your rehab efforts on your road to recovery. Check out our Covey’s Time Management Matrix Worksheet to help you in identifying how you use your time.   3. REDUCE Q3 AND Q4 ACTIVITIES Think about challenging what really matters to you. Maybe you can let somethings slide. Perhaps having the perfect yard is not that important to you and you can have simpler plants in your garden this year. Have you heard of a “Not-to-do List“?   4. THINK ON PAPER
  • When you WRITE down a goal, you give it a tangible form, and this can help free your mind to express itself more creatively and efficiently
  • Unwritten goals stay on your mind and tie up mental resources
  5. BREAK IT DOWN
  • You might think this is a time-management strategy, but the truth is, prioritization is key in achieving long-term goals
  • Breaking larger goals into smaller, time-related goals (S.M.A.R.T. goals)
  6. AVOID COMPETING PRIORITIES
  • Sometimes with simpler tasks, it can be easy to manage two things at the same time (e.g. talking on the phone while you wash dishes)
  • But as the level of difficulty increases for a task, this can become a challenge
    • Research shows that people in higher positions of power (think CEOs, managers, or people in senior positions) are more likely to prioritize a SINGLE goal
    • Compared with people in less senior positions who have a tendency to try managing multiple priorities at once
      • This kind of dual-task strategy can mean that our most important tasks aren’t getting done to our highest standard
      • Avoid interruptions, ad-hoc requests, and concurrent tasks as much as possible!
      • So if you’re trying to finish a report for school or work, avoid taking any calls or responding to emails in the middle of your work, and definitely ignore those instagram/facebook notifications…they can wait!
  7. REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW
  • Reflect critically on your task list and priorities
  • This can help you maintain control and focus
  8. M.I.T. (Most Important Task)
  • Create a daily MIT list
  • Write down 3 important tasks that should be done that day
    • Hint: they should always relate to your larger, future goals 
  9. LEARN TO SAY NO (or delegate)
  • When we’re trying to do too much, we can become stressed out and our productivity decreases for the things we want to get done
  • This is a major tenet of practising assertiveness
  10. DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
  • We all do it from time to time, but getting hung up on the small details during a task can lead to unwanted stopping points in getting things done
    • This is especially important if the thing we’re hung up on won’t really have much impact on the final outcome of the task we are doing
    • If it’s really bugging you, make a note of it on your to-do list to clear your mind in the moment, and allow yourself to come back to it later
  11. STOP & SWITCH
  • You might be thinking this seems to go against everything we’ve been discussing to this point…
  • But knowing when to stop is the key to long term success
    • This can be taking a lunch break, going for a walk, taking a weekend off, or giving your eyes a break from that book or screen you’ve been staring at
    • Having a proper rest period will help you work better when you come back to the task

PROBLEM-SOLVING

SOME TECHNIQUES

What’s the worst thing that could happen and how would I cope if it did?

 

What’s the best that could happen?

 

What’s the most likely outcome?

Sometimes, the problem is a bigger problem because of the way we are looking at it.

 

Sometimes, we get hung up on this thought, that we accept as gospel…but is it really so?

 

Socratic Dialogue can help you critically evaluate the things you are saying to yourself.

  Examples
  • What is the evidence that my thought is true? What is the evidence that my thought is not true?
  • What’s an alternative explanation or viewpoint?
  • What is the effect of telling myself this thought?
  • What could be the effect of changing my thinking?
  • What would I tell someone else if he/she viewed this situation in this way?
  • What should I do now?

When we’re faced with a decision to make, and we don’t want to exhaust ourselves/drain our cognitive energy in making that decision.

 

We can use this simple acronym to focus on the important elements of that decision.

 

Benefits: ask yourself, what are the benefits of following your option for handling this decision? get your pen and paper and make a list

Risks: are there any risks involved if you make this choice? take note of these risks if there are any

Alternatives: are there any alternative ways of resolving this matter/decision? list them on your paper

Intuition: what does your intuition tell you about your decision? write down anything that comes to mind

Nothing: what will happen if you choose to do nothing and revisit this decision later?

Another useful, and alternative acronym is POOCH.

 

For the dog owners among you, ask yourself, what would POOCH do?

PROBLEM: describe the problem or decision you are facing OPTIONS: write down the different options you could use for making this decision or solving this problem
    • Methods help create the distance to exercise metacognition
OUTCOMES: make a list of the possible outcomes for each potential solution CHOICES: from your list of options, pick one choice and go with it!

This approach is pretty straight-forward, and many of us have used it before:

 

Just writing out the pros and cons of making the decision…and not making a decision.

 
Not making a decision is a decision. -Unknown
 

Check out our Advantages-Disadvantages Worksheet.

This is a simple approach that has helped patients in the past.

 

Check out our I.T.C.H. worksheet for problem-solving.

DECISION-MAKING TIPS

LIST OF STRATEGIES

1. VIEW DECISIONS WITH THE BIGGER PICTURE IN MIND
  • This will reduce the pressure on making a decision
  • Know your commitments and priorities
  • Increase Q2 activities
    • put as many activities as you can on autopilot
  • Minimize Q3 & Q4 activities (this can remove a lot of potential decisions from your workload)
  2. STRIVE FOR “GOOD ENOUGH” DECISION
  • When did “good enough” stop being “good enough”
  • You don’t have to know what’s best to know what’s better
  3. CONSIDER THE OPPORTUNITY COSTS OF TIME SPENT MAXIMIZING (E.G., PLAYING WITH YOUR KIDS)
  • The time you spend in not making a decision does cost you some time and life experiences.
  • set a time allowance to make decisions when appropriate
    • e.g., How much research time is warranted when deciding on your daughter’s birthday gift?
  4. AVOID EXPENDING ENERGY ON TRIVIAL DECISIONS
  • e.g., do the same as last time
  5. SOMETIMES CHOSE TO AVOID CHOOSING BY DELEGATING THE DECISION
  • e.g., “can you grab me some sports socks while you go out?”
  6. SCHEDULE DECISION TIME FOR WHEN YOU’RE FRESH
  • Decisions that could benefit from exercising a a healthy dose of pessimism (see positive psychology) may be best made between 2-4 am/pm as the BRAC (Basic Rest-Activity Cycle) often makes us a bit more pessimistic at these times.
  • Decisions for which the consequences of making the wrong decision could be severe (e.g., marrying the wrong person) benefit from a healthy dose of pessimism.
  • Decisions for which the consequences of making the wrong decision are not so severe (e.g., trying out a new workout routine) benefit from optimism.
  7. THINK THROUGH DECISIONS IN WRITING “PROS AND CONS”   8. TRY THE “COIN TOSS” TECHNIQUE   9. REALIZE THAT ALTHOUGH YOU DON’T ALWAYS AVOID REGRET, YOU CAN REDUCE THE ODDS BY SATISFICING   10. APPRECIATE CONSTRAINTS
  • E.g., staying within budget, etc.
  • E.g., you don’t know what the future holds, but this is a step in the right direction
  11. PREDETERMINE CRITERIA BEFORE MAKING DECISIONS
  • What are the “must-haves”
  • What are the “would be nice”
  • What are the “can’t haves”
  12. KNOW “THE SUNK COST FALLACY”  
“Cut your losses short and let your winners run.”

-Wall Street proverb

 
  • Sometimes, when we start a task, the expectations of that task might change and it’s easy to feel disappointed about the effort you just spent
    • We often feel compelled to continue doing something simply because we already started doing it..
    • But remember – time spent is time that won’t come back…
    • So spending our time working towards the wrong priority is just wasted time
    • Don’t be afraid to switch boats rather than fixing the leak
  13. GET YOUR DAILY R&R
  • Take a break
  • Have more of your attention on other things in life that are important to you rather than just your problems
  • Pick rest breaks that are truly restful and not just entertaining
  • Improvement of your sleep, nutrition, exercise regimen and psychological resilience will all help
 
14. KNOW YOUR DECISION-MAKING HISTORY
  •  Get a pen and paper and make a note of every decision you make in a day.. do this every day for a week
  • As you notice yourself making a decision, ask two questions: 
    • Did this decision matter? 
    • Was there a way to avoid making this decision by:
      • ignoring it
      • automating it
      • delegating it to someone who likes making this kind of decision?
  • After a week, choose two decisions you regularly make that add little value to your life, and then stop making them, or simplify them

 

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Schwartz, Barry & Ward, Andrew & Monterosso, John & Lyubomirsky, Sonja & White, Katherine & Lehman, Darrin. (2002). Maximizing Versus Satisficing: Happiness Is a Matter of Choice. Journal of personality and social psychology. 83. 1178-97. 10.1037/0022-3514.83.5.1178.5.

Tracy, B. (2017). Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time (3rd ed.). Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Yerkes, R. M., & Dodson, J. D. (1908). The relation ofstrength of stimulus to rapidity of habit-formation.Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology, 18,459–482

Research & writing: Dr. Taher Chugh

Last update: February 2021