Option Paralysis

Steve Jobs is famous for his black turtleneck and jeans. Albert Einstein wore the same clothes everyday. They did this to avoid option paralysis.

Cognitive resources are limited. We want to distribute them in a way that gives us the most value with the least amount of effort. We want to put our efforts towards the things that matter most.

Our daily routines force us to make many different choices drain and distract us. Eliminating the simple repetitive ones can have a drastic improvement on what you spend your time doing.

Meal prepping is great not only because you have something to eat, but because you don’t have to think about what you are going to eat. Setting your clothes up the night before has the same effect. There are many ways to reduce the amount of choices you have to make so that you can focus on the things that matter.

It isn’t so much about saving time, but saving attention - your most precious resource.

SLP Take away:

Option paralysis is a problem when you have too many choices. You end up staring at the pile, instead of picking a sheet. Think about how complicated it is to choose a winter prepositions activity from your drawer of winter items.

You can make sure your materials are in order so that you don’t spend too much time thinking about what you are going to do. A mail sorter works best for this. You can start at the top left and work your way across. All you have to do is remember which activity you did for which student (that’s what lesson plans are for) and simply go down the line.

You can make copies ahead of time so all you have to do is grab and go. You are not planning on the fly because you have a system that saves you time and brain power... so you can finish that report… or create the next great lesson… or sit a moment longer and actually taste your coffee.

Matthew CriscuolaComment