Omar Farghal | July 2, 2019

What is 35,000?

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35,000.  Depending on what we are talking about this may seem like a small amount or a larger amount. It really all depends on your anchor. What if I put a “$” in front of it? $35,000. Now we may have a different anchor.  Maybe it is a salary, or it makes you think of that Tesla 3 on your wish list (Too bad it sounds like the 35K Tesla 3 isn’t going to happen yet). If you are making $15 an hour it looks like a pay raise.  If you are making $70,000 it looks like you have moved to part time.  It might be your student loan balance. We can go on and on with this if we do not provide further context. 

As this is an Allovance blog post you can safely assume that this number is associated with making decisions in some way. It is. An adult human makes 35,000 decisions a day.  This is the standard number determined through multiple psychological and sociological studies and is generally accepted in those communities and among those that study decision making. This number can seem a bit shocking, but upon closer inspection is quite reasonable. Picture this:

You are at work and looking at your computer screen. You check the time, see that it is 11:55 and think about what you are doing for lunch. You were in a hurry this morning and forgot to grab something from the fridge, so you need to figure out what to eat.  You weigh skipping lunch to save some money but remember that you have a long afternoon ahead so that is not a good idea. Next you weigh out the options that are close and weigh them against price, flavor, delivery, to go, take out, what you had earlier last week, the last time you ate at the Thai place and got killer heartburn, etc.  You finally land on a sandwich delivery place and look over the menu at the options and after reviewing each item go with the same thing you usually get.

We have all been through this process in some variation. How many decisions were made in these few minutes? At least 20 clear decisions in the process of deciding lunch. That doesn’t include the decision to ignore a text and an incoming email notification, to not comment on a conversation going on the next cube over, or each decision made to shoot down every option on the menu before choosing your regular sandwich.

The point is that many of the decisions we make are tiny microtransactions with our self that have little significance in our mind but add up to an impact on our day to day wellbeing. We make these decisions swiftly and often subconsciously with little focus placed on them.  These micro decisions become rolled into a single decision we call “choosing lunch”. It is impossible for the brain to consciously track all these events and to still function within any normal capacity called living. Therefore, having a routine is helpful.  It allows for automation of regularly occurring micro decisions so that we can place more focus on the important things. We consciously and subconsciously build shortcuts for making decisions.  Taco Tuesday tells me I do not need to decide what’s for dinner. Casual Friday narrows my options for what to wear for work as does having a “uniform” the other 4 days of the week. Usually this is a good thing, however when we have more important decisions to make that force a break in routine it can throw the whole mechanism into chaos.  We freak out about what to wear to an interview and what to say and how to prep to the extent that we forget to request the day off from our current job. We must be careful to balance routine with an awareness of our changing environment and have mechanisms in place to cope with alterations, so we can save our bandwidth for the big ticket decision making.

Everyday micro decisions can be managed through clear routines with limited choices, getting good sleep, staying hydrated and managing hunger. For strategic decisions with a significant impact, use Allovance. Allovance unpacks the decision-making process that goes on in your head by adding rigor, science and structure while providing you a scalable, repeatable, dynamic, and justifiable prioritization and decision-making methodology to ease stress when making decisions. Our customer feedback speaks to the power of the tool to generate regular repeatable results. Make Allovance part of your routine for the big decisions and make them feel as easy as Taco Tuesday.    

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