Techniques for Slowing Down and Making Better Decisions

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• We are always battling our laziness in all aspects of life. With decisions, implementing a simple checklist of sorts can help.

• First, travel into the future with the 10/10/10 rule. This implores you to consider three different timelines in the future and how you’ll feel about your decisions at those three points—that is, ten minutes, ten days, and ten months from now. Ideally, you want all three timelines to be positive; if not, can you live with the informed decision that one timeline might be negative or detrimental? This technique will help you play out decisions in your mind, rather than focusing only on immediate results.

• Another mental check-in is to examine whether or not your options are in line with your worldview, and this is accomplished by asking a series of questions that both alleviate you of your blind spots and make clear the reasons you have for engaging in certain actions. There are few absolute, objectively good choices—rather, the right choice is the right choice for us, relative to our values and goals.

• Setting your own arbitrary boundaries can help with decisions because they narrow your options. This gives shape and structure to your decision-making process. You can set limits and use deal breakers or requirements—they all work to clarify your intentions and work more quickly.

• Look beyond pros and cons. Making pro and con lists is usually inaccurate and too subjective, since there’s no way to weigh up each item, and we may be unconsciously biased one way or another.

• Are you satisficing or unknowingly trying to maximize every decision you make? Ninety-nine percent of daily decisions don’t require maximization and suffer greatly from the law of diminishing returns. Satisficing, a combination of satisfaction and sufficing, is the key.

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