Down to the wire on your holiday preparations? Or like me, you’ve decorated, but haven’t even purchased present number one. Feel stuck? Paralyzed by the sheer number of decisions that need to be made before the 25th rolls around? Let me add a little more pressure by saying that there are others in your life that work on a different timetable, and if you haven’t missed it already – you will soon.
I arrived at the last appointment with my hair stylist before the holiday with no gift, and I spend more time with Briana every year than I do with my boss or my boyfriend. There were others too that have slipped by to date. I have in my mind some Type A organizational bandit that has all the most important people in their lives – birthdays carefully cataloged with notations about the type of present, the time of purchase, the accurate address, and have scheduled the purchase well in advance. They probably have pre-selected wrapping for the same. Me, I’m more like an old teddy bear running around town, with fluff falling out in small tufts everywhere I go. Granted, they are billowy, pretty little puffs of fluff – pale pink – but still, if I don’t collect them and stuff them back in, there will be nothing left of me when I arrive at the Christmas finish line. Now that won’t do at all.
I had the very distinct fortune to have attended the MA Women’t Conference on Thursday. The largest in the nation, 12,000 women in 12 men convene for what is a day long tournament of inspiration, intellect, and EXTRA-ordinary women. It began 17 year old Amanda Southworth. An iSO Developer and mental health and human rights activist, and went on to feature Yara Shahidi, Tara Westover, Malala Yousafzai, Megan Rapinoe and more. If you don’t know these wildly talented women – begin your exploration now.
Today I want to talk about Annie Duke. Annie was a breakout session speaker, a World Champion Poker Player and an expert (cognitive scientist) on the subject of decision making. See where I am going with this? Today, I’m going to give you some of the basic facts about how we make decisions, waste time, and the cost of that approach to us personally and professionally, and in a future post I am going to show, how in the somewhat high stakes game of house flipping it applies – so you can apply it to your own life. While I am not an expert yet – these were my takeaways from her talk:
- Average person spends 150 minutes a week deciding what to eat,
- Average person spends 50 minutes a week deciding what to watch on television (not actually watching – just deciding),
- Average person spends 90 – 115 minutes deciding what to wear each week.
Annie’s framework is based on the idea that we spend a whole lot of time deciding about things that aren’t going to increase our happiness in the long run. Yes, it might ruin your lunch in the moment, but tomorrow, you’ll get to choose again. In most cases you are troubling over something that you can’t know anyway. Like poker – it’s a bet. You’re betting that the fish will be better than the chicken. When the stakes are low – you’ll have a chance to do it again – just decide, then incorporate the information into future decision making.
I like this idea very much. Today, as I launch out with my list of people that I care deeply about, and whom make my life what it is, the pressure to be perfect will be dulled a little. After all, next year, God willing, I will have another whole chance to buy and try again. Annie did make $4.2M during her career, so I’m going to bet she knows a little something about decision making.