Do You Suffer from (Design) Decision Fatigue?

Do You Suffer from (Design) Decision Fatigue?

Bethany Seawright
Aug 19, 2011

Paint color? Sofa shape? Rug style? Flooring type? So many options!

We've all been there – whether you've just moved into a new place, are renovating the one you have, or are simply trying to redecorate a bit – there comes a point when you hit the proverbial decision-making wall. Suddenly, the most minute decisions are the most important decisions of your life…

Blue? Red? Flat? Eggshell? Solid? Patterned? Hardwood? Laminate?? Your mind becomes completely overloaded and you lose all ability to think or act rationally. Well, apparently, you're not the only one. According to The New York Times, decision fatigue is a specific type of mental exhaustion, linked directly to decision making-

"The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences… The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing. Instead of agonizing over decisions, avoid any choice. Ducking a decision often creates bigger problems in the long run, but for the moment, it eases the mental strain."

The NYT story addresses all kinds of behaviors caught up in our ability to choose, select or just pick something…..anything! I found the topic fascinating, and was particularly struck by its implications for those of us in the design world. Between digital media options, such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, and old-school media, like magazines and television, we are constantly bombarded with visual stimulation and inspiration. The good news is the options are endless. The bad news is… the options are endless!!

How do you deal with design decision-making? Are you paralyzed? Do you make snap decisions? Or, are you one of the cool-headed few who have come up with a game plan that allows you to avoid feeling overwhelmed in the first place??

For the complete article, visit The New York Times Magazine | Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?

Images: Benjamin Moore, Apartment Therapy, FLOR & Lizarazu Restoration

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