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A strategy for quicker decision-making

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Today’s tip: For low-stakes decisions, set yourself a time limit for deliberating. When it’s up, commit.

Making a decision can be a race against your brain. The longer you contemplate, the more your anxiety grows, until you’ve lost the ability to think clearly.

As Lydia Smith writes, we’re hardwired for decision anxiety: “The human instinct to weigh up the risks associated with each option is a survival mechanism that’s helped us navigate potential threats for millennia,” she explains. Feeling paralyzed over what kind of cereal to buy at the supermarket? That’s your brain trying to save your life.

But eventually, you need to grab a box off the shelf and get on with it. Setting a time limit for small choices doesn’t just help you move on; it also trains your brain to make any decision, big or small, before it freezes up.

📚 More from Forge on weighing your options:

A Poker Champ’s Approach to Risk

24 Different Ways to Make a Decision

A Decision-Making Technique for the Chronically Indecisive

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