Life in the age of Endless possibilities.
Urban life anywhere in the world today is in an exciting place, an age of exponential growth fuelled by technology penetrating every aspect of our lives and in effect, optimising it. (Read: Making life faster and we love going faster.)
We are all hyper connected multi-taskers, processing large magnitudes of overlapping information for our professional lives, social and personal lives all at the same time. These walls are merging, overlapping and eventually disappearing.
The problem with endless possibilities, which translate to endless choices, are decisions.
Physiologists and behavioural economists suggest point towards deteriorating quality of decisions, after a long session of taking decisions; referred to as ‘Decision Fatigue’.
It points to a recent paper by Shai Danzigera, Jonathan Levavb and Liora Avnaim-Pessoa who analysed the changes in the nature of decision-making by eight experienced parole judges in Israel during a court session and found the following.
“You are about four times more likely to be released, if you are one of the first three prisoners than the last three prisoners, in a day, considered by a Judge in court.”
“ If you want to ask you’re boss for a raise, you should probably do it over breakfast. The odds will be in your favour.”
Behavioural economists like Dan Ariely have found that making successive decisions depletes the limited mental facility. As people get tired, they look for shortcuts, and one of the easiest shortcuts is to ‘Uphold the status quo’.
So the real problem with Decision fatigue is not just bad decisions but complacency and monotony. People follow monotonous routines to avoid making decisions that challenge them.
The way you spend your time daily, whether actively making decisions about things which matter or choosing the simpler way of give into the daily chorus becomes your habit loop (and defines everything from your personal to professional lives, in the long run).
Now, the most important question to ask at this juncture is- “Are you spending too much time on mundane decisions (due to choice deluge) and not investing time and effort into making the real impactful decisions that’ll disrupt routine?”
Or are you settling?