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3 Cognitive Biases That Affect Our Decisions Every Day

3 Cognitive Biases That Affect Our Decisions Every Day

Many people wonder how their life took a turn for better or worse. A person’s mentality often gets overlooked. There are several concepts including The Law of Attraction that people consider it being nothing more than fluff. As a society, we are faced with challenges that forms our cognitive biases. Those cognitive biases affect our everyday decisions. With those years of decisions, we start to have a better understanding about how our lives have become what they are today.

Here are three cognitive biases that affect our daily decisions:

1.  I Can’t Do That

“I spent the last 30 years of my life doing things that others can’t do or won’t do. [Many of my successes have been based on] people telling me that I couldn’t do something.

I was told that I couldn’t build a website development company. So, I built and designed websites for companies like Microsoft and Sun Microsystems,” says Chuck Blakeman (Serial Entrepreneur & Author of Making Money Is Killing Your Business).

Unfortunately, many people fall victim into believing that they can’t do something. Sadly, people are told such things from people that they admire. Like Chuck Blakeman, there are countless examples of people who have taken ideas and turn them into success stories. despite being in the midst of naysayers.

Your task is not to sulk in those beliefs but instead prove them wrong. Success is a journey that starts by taking one step at a time. In my younger years, I wanted to be an international bestselling author. It took me years to realize that I have to truly believe in something if I wanted to see it come to fruition.

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I had to first believe that it was possible to become an international bestselling author before becoming one. This year marks a significant milestone in my life, which is being a bestselling author in three countries.

2. I Don’t Need Anyone

“A lot of our happiness or unhappiness comes from the quality of our relationships. Human connection fuels happiness”, says Scott Crabtree (Founder & Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Brain Science).

There are a lot of people who carry around an ultra independent attitude. I personally admire someone who is independent. The problem is that independence can sometimes be used as an illusion for a person’s ego. Independence is obviously better than dependence. However, interdependence is better than both of them.

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There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Accepting the help of others will usually shorten the learning curve in anything you want to pursue in life. It does not make you any less independent. Stephen Covey (Author of the NY Times Bestseller, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) agrees that we function best when we recognize and works towards the role of interdependence.

None of us is perfect. We all have weaknesses. So, why not let someone who is strong in your weak areas to help you?

3. I Have No Purpose

“You have to decide your mission in your life. That’s your guide. What kind of impact do you want to have on the planet? Be very clear about it [because if your mission] is hazy, it will be very difficult”, says Aubrey Marcus (Founder & CEO of Onnit).

Many people can make different arguments about the origin of our nature. However, I think the overwhelming majority of us share the same theme on life: You only live once. So, make the most of it. I hope you are moving with the time because it will continue to move with or without you.

Wayne Dyer and Stephen Covey are two examples of inspirational role models who left a legacy for us. My goal is to leave a legacy too. Since the Great Recession, I have helped over 2,000 people reach the finish line and you can too. My message is still the same.

Success is unavailable to the majority because the majority are unavailable.

Featured photo credit: Olichel via pixabay.com

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Kallen Diggs

Bestselling Author / Magazine Editor / Syndicated Radio Show Host

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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