Making decisions is an integral part of our life, and is one of the factors that distinguishes us from other living creatures. Every day people make countless decisions that bring various change in their lives. In fact reading this article was also one of your numerous decisions.
In the digital era, people are increasingly using digital technology to improve the quality of decisions. But what’s the point of adopting a technology if you succumb to the ill effects of using it. Read further to know how digital may affect the state of your mind and the quality of your decisions.
#1 Decision Fatigue
Suppose you start using social media apps in order to know what’s happening around the world. This might help you in certain ways, but in the process of retrieving information, you might end up wasting time on unnecessary activities like frequently checking smartphones for new updates. Sometimes you end up reading, watching and listening to things you didn’t intend to, thereby leading to waste of time and brain resources.
In order to avoid frequent visits, technology graced us with a feature called push notification. But, has it really helped us solve our problems? Have you ever counted the number of times you check your smartphone for new notifications?
No wonder notifications solved our problems to an extent, but this solution came with another problem — distraction.
Yes, every time something happens on your social media account, whether relevant or irrelevant, your phones starts buzzing, thereby distracting your mind. Despite being focused on any current activity, you tend to compulsorily look at the notification as if not reading the notifications would put a ban on using internet.
According to scientific studies such behavior of constantly searching for information for making multiple and varied decisions might deteriorate the quality of your decisions over a period of time. This phenomena is psychologically referred to as decision fatigue.
Yes, we can build a universal dashboard personalized for individuals who want to manage all notifications at a timely interval. But the point is, do we really want to read notifications about each and every activity that occurs in our online accounts – too often?
Let your will power decide this.
#2 Cognitive overload
Digital Age seems to be the phase in human life where information is yet another basic necessity of life besides food, clothing, and shelter.
If you disagree, try to switch off the Wi-Fi and mobile internet setting for all your devices, just for a week and notice how digitally inhuman you are without internet. Feeding your brain with information is the most crucial activity in the Digital Age. The most common channel to deliver information is through websites. You might not notice that consumption of excessive information too might cause decision fatigue.
We all know that “Content is King” but presenting it in the easiest way for consumption is crucial too. Sometimes you might feel that searching information is similar to finding that needle in the stack of hay, because the content may not be properly indexed, filtered, or sorted for consumption. Sometimes you might have to click the mouse several times in order to find results which could have been easily presented upfront with minimal clicks through several web optimizations.
This process of acquiring knowledge and learning through multiple redundant stages adds to the cognitive overload on users. This is why user experience and user design professionals work hard to present the enormous content in the most simple and intuitive way; yet provide useful information without much mental stress.
Just imagine a web visitor trying to find a particular product or service goes through numerous clicks and complex search decisions. At one point of time, the visitor might just find it easier to leave your website.
#3 Extensive obsession with online search
Internet provides innumerable options to find and explore products online for making any offline purchase. You might have already decided to purchase a particular product but still would like to see reviews or information which may or may not change your buying decision. This might impose unnecessary strain on your mind making it difficult to take quality decisions for other critical and important activities.
I believe too many options gives your mind a perfect environment to get confused and eventually fatigue easily. It is perfectly fine to seek an expert’s advice or outsource the decision-making activities instead of doing intense online research.
In fact many successful people automate or regulate their daily trivial tasks. For instance, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is known to wear similar outfits to avoid daily trivial decisions about physical attire. And it’s not only him. Many successful people are known to automate and regularize their daily trivial tasks.
I would want to conclude with few ways in which we can improve the quality of our decisions.
- Avoid distractions cased due to notifications from your online accounts.
- Be minimalist. Expose yourselves to minimum options for various decisions when using internet.
- Use internet but don’t get obsessed over it. Get involved in activities / hobbies which don’t have an iota of internet in it.
Thanks for reading and do share the things which you would do to improve the quality of your decisions.