We have many freedoms today – including the freedom to choose. Not only politically, but also in general: We can and must make new decisions every day. That overwhelms us fast.

Make the right decision under stress: Too many choices make you unproductive

Most want pre-selected bites

I admit that I am said to be others People like to overwhelm. For example if I have a Lecture hold or in the design of my website. It's gotten better now; I have realized that less is more. But only reluctantly. Because my aim is actually to offer my readers or listeners the greatest possible amount of information and to give them the greatest possible freedom of choice. For example, our readers have the opportunity to put together text collections and as eBook or download PDF.

That's why I'm always a little horrified when I notice that people don't want that at all, but prefer to enjoy the information in pre-selected bites. You would like to leave the effort of the decision-making process to me. This is exactly why it offers our publishing house his text compilations meanwhile also right successfully as finished eBooks on. And that's why I want to ask the question today: Can too much freedom of choice make you unproductive? And what does that mean in the work life?

Too much choice consumes unnecessary resources and is overwhelming

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That became me again clearwhen I was traveling to Texas once. And it felt like Subway to me there. You know, Subway is that sandwich chain where you can configure your sandwich to your personal taste. That is one of the reasons why many do not go there: the options are simply overwhelming.

The Texans take it one step further: They have so many choices in the restaurants that it makes your head spin. You can imagine it like this: You study the menu extensively, which is not easy if you don't speak perfect English. Then you finally found something, ordered it - and the service staff immediately confronted you with a number of other options: the meat medium or well done? With baked potatoes or fries? The sauce spicy, with garlic or sweet and sour? With vegetables or salad? Large or small portion? And and and.

How do you make better decisions in life and work? Don't just do anything

I have to admit: Occasionally I just ordered something without knowing exactly what was coming. That was of course also a language problem - but not only: How am I supposed to know whether I like the flavor offered if I haven't tried it before? And even if I know what it is, how do I know whether a different, perhaps new, variant might not taste better?

The Problem can be transferred directly to working life: Here too feel we are constantly overwhelmed by too many choices, sometimes downright paralyzed. This is related to how ours Brain makes decisions. Because for everyone Choice all information must first be recorded, processed and then compared with existing empirical values. Our brains are working overtime, but making five decisions a minute is just too much. No wonder I felt overwhelmed by Texas menus.

This is how decision-making processes work in the brain

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And something else is not surprising when you look at the results of a study carried out at the Research Center Jülich and at the University Cologne to decision making was carried out in the brain: that I decided on something without knowing exactly what I was actually ordering. Because I just didn't have the necessary information to make a really good one decision hold true.

This brings us to the heart of the decision-making problem: the brain makes decisions for or against something by comparing the new information with past experiences. Unfortunately, we don't always have the time to collect all the information - like in the restaurant, when the service staff rattled off the menu and wanted to take my order with a notepad out. They put me under extreme pressure with their expectations. But if, as in this case, important information and empirical values ​​are missing, then you really can't make up your mind decide.

The 4 main steps in a typical decision-making process

So what is the best way to go about taking Stress to come to a good decision? The following 4 main steps will help:

  1. The first step is to make a list of things you need to do. Make sure you write down everything that's on your mind, not just the most important tasks. Then rank them in order of importance.
  2. The next step is to prioritize each task on your list and set deadlines for when they should be completed. This allows you to better plan your day-to-day life and make decisions about when to get things done in the future.
  3. The third step is to start with an achievable goal that isn't too big or complicated. This motivates you and allows you to take small steps towards success without being overwhelmed by a large project.
  4. The fourth step involves setting boundaries around yourself so you have time for school, work, and yourself

How to effectively make a decision in less time: Time pressure is the real problem

To take my experience in Texas again as an example, in many cases I asked to stop by again in a few minutes - time that I needed to translate the menu or explain this or that offer from my companion to let. This can also be transferred to many other situations: Often we are not ready for a choice, we still need more information. And to get that we have to buy ourselves time.

How to do this is included in our book "Make up your mind now" described: For example, by asking who is actually pushing for an immediate decision and why. And that you let every more important decision “sag” again, for example by running at least one lap around the block.

Better decisions & less stress

Coming back to the beginning of this text: When I consider the effort that every decision requires in the human brain, I can see why my readers don't make any Lust on a wide selection have. However, I now also understand that it is not the number of options that is overwhelming, but the time pressure under which most decisions have to be made. That is exactly the problem that listeners and readers have: not enough time to process all the information.

My personal conclusion from my experience: As a service provider - both in the restaurant and in other activities - you can be customers offer plenty of choices. But you should always give them enough time to process the information and make the right decision.

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