Sunday, December 5, 2010

Limiting Options to Increase Satisfaction

I have a friend who is building a house. At first, he was heavily into the relatively small decisions that need to be made such as light fixtures, how many outlets in each room, toilet features, doorknobs, etc. There seem to be dozens or even hundreds of possibilities for each decision. A month into that level of detailed decision making and the choices now are being made much quicker and based on principle. Some high-level color schemes, preferred vendors and price/performance preferences have emerged from the dozens of decisions already made and those are allowed to bear heavily on the ongoing decisions. If he didn’t recognize the need for patterns, the build would take five times what it now should.

Sometimes, choice is good. However, many of us have too many choices and can tend to be overwhelmed. When you perceive 10 choices instead of 2, it is difficult to ultimately be satisfied by your decision, regardless of which decision is made. You can just feel like you left too much on the table.

This is why it’s important to plan as a consultant. When you make plans, you decide what choices and options will really belong to you as decisions come up. It’s easier then to make the decisions – and feel good about them.

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