Live Your Life in the Decision Matrix
Studies have shown that you’re far more likely to make a bad decision later on in the day than earlier. It’s referred to as decision fatigue. According to Psychology Today, the average person makes somewhere near 35,000 unique choices per day. And if you own a business, you’re probably making 3x as many decisions.
Doing that math, and assuming you’re asleep for at least six or seven hours a night, that adds up to about two thousand decisions per hour - or a choice being made every two seconds. On a typical day, we’re willing to admit that most of those 35,000 decisions are not very consequential.
But, most studies would argue that after a certain point your brain doesn’t really care about the significance of the decision as much as it’s just really tired of making them.
You’ve probably felt what we’re going to call “end stage decision fatigue” before. That feeling you have after being asked, “What would you like for dinner?” following a super long and hard day at work. By that time, almost anything would be fine. You don’t care anymore.
That’s obviously decision fatigue, but the effects of making decisions all day will wear on us far earlier than this point.
We’ve discussed before a little bit about how the super powerful and consequential will go out of their way to reduce the amount of decisions they need to make in a day in order to stave off decision fatigue since it’s proven to result in poor decision-making.
On top of reducing the amount of decisions you need to make, there are ways to boil very big and consequential decisions down to make them smaller and easier to make - thus tamping down on the mental and emotional toll of each individual decision.
One such method is known as creating a “decision matrix”.
Now, creating one takes a little bit of legwork unless you get yourself an app or a program. Otherwise, you can do it with an Excel spreadsheet or good old-fashioned pen and paper.
Write out your decision options on as rows, then write out the factors you need to consider for each option as columns. Then assign a numerical value from 0-5, with 0 being the worst and 5 being perfect to each factor.
Then, go through your factors again and assign them a numerical ranking, based on how important said factor is. Once you’re done with that, multiply the factor’s importance with each option’s score.
Add up all the numbers across a row and you’ll have a numerical value for how “worthy” each option is. Go with the one with the highest score, and it’ll be the option you like best.
Try this method out and let us know if it works for you. And, no matter what, find as many ways as possible to limit the inconsequential decisions so you’re constantly focusing on what’s most important.