Make Decisions Visually to Avoid the Stress of Choosing

Making decisions can stress you out, even if it’s something as relatively straightforward as what o make for dinner.  When you get into your head, you have the potential to play out infinite scenarios of the future a particular decision will bring.  A visual chart can help simplify things.

Making important decisions ought to take some time and thought, but when it comes to the small stuff it often doesn’t matter what you do.  What you want for dinner, which podcast to listen to during your commute (hint: this one or this one), or what to wear the next day can take up more time than they should.  You make these kinds of decisions regularly and rarely do your choices actually matter in the grand scheme of your life.

How do you stop wasting time?  You make a visual chart.  Make a grid of photos for outfits you want to wear or food you want to eat, print them out, and take a look when you have to decide.  When it comes to simple choices, visual suggestions create a much more powerful impact than your thoughts because you don’t really have to work to imagine the pleasure you’d derive from the final product.  Pad thai and pizza might sound equally appetizing in your mind, to the point you can’t make this ridiculously inconsequential choice, but if you have images to consult you can see them and quickly say “that looks good to me.”

Let’s be honest: this is a first world problem with a first world solution.  Nevertheless, if you solve your first world problems you can spend all the time you saved doing something actually important.  So print out your favorite foods and outfits you like to wear, point to one that looks nice, and choose.  Then, with your extra time, go cure AIDS or something.

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