Satisficing: The Time-Saving Decision-Making Strategy

Sean Bolton,advice

Are you tired of spending hours, days, or even weeks trying to find the perfect solution for every decision you need to make? Whether it's choosing a new car or finding the perfect apartment, the search for the optimal option can be exhausting and time-consuming. But what if there was a way to streamline your decision-making process and still end up with a satisfactory solution? Enter satisficing, the art of finding a good enough solution instead of the absolute best option. In this post, I'll explore the concept of satisficing and how it can help you make quick and efficient decisions in your everyday life.

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What is Satisficing?

Economist Herbert Simon (opens in a new tab) popularized the term "satisficing" to describe a decision-making process that involves finding a satisfactory solution rather than the optimal solution. Simon argued that in many situations, people do not have the time or resources to search for the absolute best option, and instead choose a solution that meets their basic needs and requirements. This allows them to make decisions quickly and efficiently, without getting bogged down in the details.

Let's say you are in the market for a new car and have a list of features that you want. After doing some research, you find a car that meets all of your requirements and fits within your budget. Rather than continuing to search for the perfect car, you decide to satisfice and make a purchase, knowing that the car you have chosen is good enough to meet your needs. So, in this case, satisficing allowed you to make a decision quickly and efficiently, without getting bogged down in the details.

I had a clear set of criteria for the car I wanted to purchase in 2021: a Ford Mustang Fastback in Antimatter blue with apple car play. My budget was $40k. Being unwilling to compromise on these factors meant the decision-making process was straightforward. I was fortunate to find a dealership with a car that met my criteria, and I made the purchase quickly.

How to use Satisficing

Here are five steps you can follow when using satisficing to make a decision:

  1. Identify your needs and requirements: Start by making a list of the factors that are most important to you in the decision. These might include things like budget, location, size, or features.

  2. Set a threshold: Determine the minimum level of satisfaction that you are willing to accept. For example, you might decide that you are willing to compromise on certain features if it means staying within your budget.

  3. Begin the search: Start looking for options that meet your needs and requirements. Don't worry about trying to find the absolute best option. Just focus on finding something that meets your minimum threshold of satisfaction.

  4. Evaluate the options: Once you have found a few potential solutions, compare them to see which one meets your needs and requirements the best.

  5. Make a decision: Once you have found an option that meets your minimum threshold of satisfaction, go ahead and make a decision. Remember, you are not trying to find the absolute best option – you are just looking for something that is good enough.

To conclude, satisficing can simplify the decision-making process by finding solutions that meet your needs and requirements. Follow these steps: identify your needs, set a satisfaction threshold, search for options, evaluate them, and make a decision. While it may not always lead to the best outcome, satisficing allows for quick and efficient decision-making. Consider using this strategy in your everyday life.

© Sean Bolton.RSS