When you’re making decisions it’s easy to become distracted by the massive amount of information out there and end up a less-than-optimal result – or at least wasting a lot of time to get there. If you set your criteria ahead of time, however, it’ll be much easier to stay focused and make the best decision for your circumstance.
Jocelyn K. Glei, writing for productivity and ideas blog The 99 Percent discusses two kind of decision makers: satisficers and maximisers. Satisficers, a term coined by Herbert Simon in 1956, describes people who may have a high set of criteria but will settle for the first thing they find that comes close. Maximisers will examine every option to ensure they’re making the optimal decision regardless of how long it takes. Satisficers fail because they grow tired of gathering information and stop too soon, whereas maximisers never stop at all. The problem is, a compromise between these two options — getting the right amount of information — is both vague and insufficient. The right amount of information is useless if it isn’t the right kind of information. To solve both problems, Glei recommends outlining your criteria in advance and only gathering information that’s relevant. This way you won’t waste time, only have what’s relevant, and increase your chances of making a better choice.
5 Tips for Daily Decision Making [The 99 Percent]