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Systematised decision making

Steve Jobs popularised the systemisation of decision making for trivial decisions that we need to make in the hundreds on a daily basis. He did this by removing the necessity to make a decision on these matters altogether. The most prominent example being his black turtleneck that he wore like a uniform. If there is only one kind of dress you can wear to work, then that removes the need for a decision on what to wear each day.

I have practised this in a different form for many years now, and have my own systematised decision making frameworks for a lot of trivial things in my day to day life, ranging from what I need to wear each day to what dishes I cook for my dinner. Unlike Steve Jobs, I don't like it to be the same thing everyday (especially when it comes to food), so variety and surprise is baked into the framework. 

Only the daily decision making is removed, but the rest of the goodness on why we make these decisions in the first place remain. 


I've always thought this to be just a productivity hack to reduce cognitive load on our brains and free that up for thinking about more important things. Hence, I've only applied such frameworks to trivial decisions that I need to make often. I've been of the belief that important decisions need to considered from scratch and I haven't actively applied pre-determined frameworks for how to make such a decision. 

We can visualise the type of decisions we are faced with in a 2x2 matrix, with one axis for importance of the decision and the other axis for the frequency of the decision. The decisions can then be important and often, important but one-off, not important but often, not important and one-off. 

So far, I've only systematised my decision making for the 'often' category (spanning both important and not important) as a productivity hack. 

But it is of great value to do this even for important but one-off decisions that we make. 

Systematisation of our decision making is just taking one step back to define the rules for how we make our decision - what our goals are, what our drivers are, what criteria we use to make an evaluation, etc. It helps greatly to clarify our own thinking.

The end of the year is a great time to reflect on what we can improve upon in the coming year, and extending the systematisation of my decision making to important decisions as well will be one such improvement I'll seek to make. 

Inspiration: Principles by Ray Dalio

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