Friday, June 16, 2017

"Box yourself into good choices."

How to Encode Better Choices | Mark's Daily Apple: "We have three main options really for shifting our decision-making processes to maximize our likelihood of making good choices. 1. We can simplify our lives and choice environments. 2. We can hone the ways we judge (or redirect) options. 3. We can cultivate the associations with these choices. The question for these proposals becomes—how? 

 Simplifying As Much As Possible (a.k.a. Box yourself into good choices.) 
 I’ve written before about selection fatigue. The more choices we have in making a decision, the more mental resources we use. It’s why a variety of options don’t always make us happier but just add more static to the day. Simplifying our choices means simplifying our choice environments—cutting out as much of that extraneous static as possible. Likewise, the more decisions we make in a day, the more mental resources we use. The more we do in a day (particularly if we attempt to multi-task), the more run down we’ll be. The key is to conserve mental energy by establishing rules, times, and parameters...

Simplifying your choice environment in this case can mean setting hard and fast parameters around your evening. Set an alarm for bedtime. But also set another for the end of all work time—maybe an hour to an hour and a half before bed. After that point, your computer and T.V. are done for the night as is your smart phone...

Now let’s say you’re trying to eat better. Simplifying your choice environment might mean shopping at smaller stores/markets or minimizing actual shopping trips by ordering from direct-to-consumer farms or from online stores... It can mean packing your lunch and bringing more or less the same thing every day. It can mean scheduling time each week to make a few large meals you eat as leftovers for lunches/dinners. In short, it’s deciding ahead of time to reduce the number of choices you perceive yourself as having—and making it easier to choose what is already in front of you."

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