By: Ashley Wall, Interim Editor-in-Chief
By: Donald Halsing, Editorial Staff
The world we live in today is full of options – too many options.
From the food we eat to the shows we watch, limitless possibilities often contribute to indecisiveness.
A plethora of paths to choose from induces something called “decision fatigue.” Reaching a state of analysis paralysis can turn any decision-making process sour.
Decision fatigue occurs when someone is presented with too many options. The process of trying to choose the best choice wears people out, and eventually they give up and make no decision at all.
Suppose you want to watch something on Netflix, but there isn’t anything in particular you’re hoping to binge. Instead, you scroll through suggestions, search for shows, and watch trailers.
This process becomes tiring, and eventually the act of searching for a show sucks up all of your enthusiasm to watch anything.
Choosing a new show becomes an intimidating barrier, and often leads to feelings of defeat, resulting in that familiar “The Office” theme song playing once again.
If you have experienced this phenomenon, congratulations! You have experienced decision fatigue first-hand!
This problem is more prominent than ever because of the number of streaming services available.
When you pay for access to Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ – among others – not using these platforms to their full potential wastes your hard-earned money. Now that content owners are launching their own streaming services, there is pressure to keep up with each new platform and shell out dollars for “Finding Dory” every month.
The amount of content – both old and new – is too much to keep up with.
Even those with cable television know the sentiment “hundreds of channels and nothing to watch.” We struggle to pick on a daily basis. Are people too picky? Do we enjoy this dilemma?
However, this problem is not exclusive to entertainment media. It also applies to our basic living needs.
Back in the good old days confused souls couldn’t decide between jumping rope or playing checkers – yes, there was a time before technology! But nowadays, technology is taking over: people can’t decide between going shopping in person or online shopping – especially for food.
Many shoppers are torn between the convenience of smartphone apps and delivery services or going to a physical store to grocery shop.
Although some people find it a hassle, shopping for food in a physical grocery store allows you to pick the finest produce and make the best selections of available stock.
Conversely, stores such as Wegmans even have in-store shoppers that will do the hard work for you, and deliver it right to your home or car. Apps such as Instacart offer an array of stores that provide this service as well.
Whether in store or online, shoppers are still faced with the indecisiveness of creating grocery lists and sticking by them.
In shopping apps, flipping through the pages of products can become repetitive, only to find they don’t carry the item you are looking for. This discourages people from continuing with their orders because of the amount of work associated with it.
The same can be said for grocery stores. Pushing empty carts aisle to aisle quickly leads to defeat as the peanut butter you’re looking for is hidden in the back corner of the store.
We understand your pain. Sometimes it’s easier to leave the cart behind than trek into the deep unknowns of Stop and Shop in order to complete your meal plans.
Because people don’t plan ahead, they go into a store getting everything but what they need – and that’s a waste of time and energy.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon applies to more than just television and shopping.
Finding activities to do, especially during the summer months and holidays, is often a hassle. Selecting the best case for your phone from several colors and patterns is challenging. Even deciding which drink you want from a restaurant is cause for calamity.
No matter which choice you are making, decision fatigue discourages people from making any verdict whatsoever.
If you feel yourself experiencing decision fatigue, remind yourself that we have all felt this way at one time or another. Push through and make a selection because any choice is better than no choice.
And the next time you find yourself strolling along the grocery aisle deciding what to have for breakfast, stop dwelling on your decision and just pick which pancake mix you want already.
[Editor’s Note: Gatepost Guidance is a bi-weekly column. The opinions of the authors do not reflect the opinions of the entire Gatepost staff.]