Thursday, October 1, 2015

Minimalistic decision making!

This is a side effect article I should say; a side track to the Sea shells and Inky pinkyponky!

I always wondered why do I take so little time to shop while others take days to do the same thing. Let me give a bit of context to the subject! I take about 15 minutes to select an attire, bill it, pay for it and take the delivery out. Even my wedding saree was chosen in 30 minutes; it took double the time because the one I chose first was rejected by my family members stating it is too simple to be a wedding saree and I had to redo the whole thing. My entire wedding purchase was done in about 3 to 4 hours - and it included a lunch :-) ! For the same event, my friends - with equal education, similar tastes, economical background, same kind of freedom to choose etc.- took more than a couple of days!

Of course, this does not mean that I do not like to look good or I do not dress up! I like to look professional and be cheerful; dressing up properly is part of it! sure, I forget my earrings, perfume etc.! I have these items in my handbags, car etc. as a workaround!  More interestingly, I do not spend much time shopping for clothes does not mean that my clothes do not look good on me. I even have a fan club :-) :-) ! In fact, I did a Chi-Square test to see if the time taken to buy clothes had any impact on the looks of it and proved that there is no difference! But I was not sure of the reason or potential reasons! Sometimes, I felt that some women take longer time to shop for clothes because of the social conditioning! Sometimes I thought it is due to attention to details which I skip in some cases! Intuitively, if I like something, I just go with my first picks instead of surfing all the available options! But both of these arguments felt incomplete - probably they are true but do not define the whole process I felt! 

From time to time, this topic popped up in my mind and in some of the casual conversations with colleagues and friends! People tease me that I am impatient, careless…. Some of my friends felt that I do not understand the value of money & pay higher cost unnecessarily and some of my friends felt the other way - that I am stingy and not interested in spending money in shopping! For me, it was not a question of money though I had an upper limit for the money I would spend usually! So what makes me spend less time in shopping had been an open question so far!

During my downsizing operation, I got an opportunity to read about decision making process. When to go intuitive  & sensing and neuroscience of decision making process are some interesting topics I read during this period! Interestingly, we go intuitive or we can afford to go intuitive when we have reasonable expertise in a domain; if we don’t have that expertise, then it is better to be sensing! Similarly, if the impact of a decision is negligible, then it is safe and cost effective to be intuitive; if the impact is significant, it is better to go sensing! It resonates with the "decentralise control" principle of lean too! Neuroscience has its impact too! Decision making and thinking tires us as much as (may be worse than) physical activities do! It is advisable to take important decisions when we are fresh; if not we may revert to default options that are not necessarily the correct decisions!

But, in some cases, it may be a better idea to have a default decision option and / or rules to help reducing the time taken for decisions. Some people can not assess the significance of the decision and they may find it hard to assess their own expertise level; this category of people can not take decision for even small things. To help them, most of the communities have default options - clean the house on all Tuesdays and Fridays (in Tamilnadu) etc. are good examples for such default options! 

I know my limitations with clothing! I don’t usually remember what dress I wore the previous day; if it is washed and ironed, I will just wear the same thing next day too without even blinking an eye! But, many times people assume that I am sad or upset or not in my senses when I do such things (BTW, such assumptions happen only with women! Men can afford to wear  the same thing for any number of days without questions!)! The impact is rather high! I have a work around for this! I keep clothes for a week in an order; I do not have to think of options everyday, I just have to pick the top item in the stack and use it :-) :-) 

For buying clothes, I have a few simple rules: I check if the color suits me, does the clothe have any jazzy designs / colors that will prevent me from wearing it, is it cotton or light weight silk,  is the price within my budget. If the answers to these questions are favourable, I choose that item! It does not take more than a few minutes to assess these! It is almost like my eyes and fingers know how to do it without even me thinking about it! Interesting

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