How to make decisions if you are a maximizer or a satisficer

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Whether you’re choosing what to order at a restaurant, where to go on vacation, or who to be with in life, making decisions big and small can feel overwhelming, especially nearly two and a half years into a pandemic when the variables of our world they are constantly changing.

But that suffocating anxiety that can arise when we wonder how to make decisions can be more acute for some people than others depending on what kind of decision maker they are. Identifying which column you’re in can make it easier to take the stress out of future decision-making, which is the topic of this week’s episode of The Good+Good Podcast. In “Decisions, Decisions,” we talk about the concrete tools and techniques you can use to deal with those forks in the road.

Listen to the full episode here.

To help us navigate the world of decision making, we spoke with psychologist Thea Gallagher, PsyD, and an actual decision coach, Nell Wulfhart. Gallagher and Wulfhart agree that a key element in making a decision is time. There is not much good that makes you think about an election. At some point, all that time spent chewing on a decision can make you feel more miserable than if you just decided by chance. And spending hours, days, or weeks weighing the pros and cons can allow relatively innocuous details to loom large in your mind, potentially negatively affecting your critical thinking.

This is the Maximizer method, or someone who “spends[s] spent a lot of time trying to make the best possible decision,” explains Gallagher. “They may end up doing it, but we know they’re not as happy and they’re more stressed. And then they are thinking, is there another better possible decision?

At the other end of the spectrum, a Satisfyer takes the opposite approach. The satisfiers arepeople who spend less time and do good enough decisions,” says Gallagher. “They may not be the perfect decision. But at the end of the day, they are happier and have more time in their lives because they didn’t spend as much time worrying, ruminating, and living in abstract space. They were actually making the decision and living their life.”

Do any of these descriptions ring a bell? It is easy to see how maximizers might want to take a leaf out of the satisficers book. That may sound impossible, how the hell are you supposed to just get up and decide? Fortunately, Gallagher and Wulfhart have some proven methods that are surprisingly simple to help you de-stress in the decision-making process. Listen to this week’s podcast to learn more about all the decisions. You will not regret!

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