Case in point: it is 2 pm, I am on HN replying to this.
Also, someone is going to probably recommend reading "Thinking Fast and Slow". It's not at the top of my list of books to read, but you should read it once just so you understand the references to it.
Kitchen layout is constrained a lot by physics, and again by ergonomics, and the customer's theories on how the kitchen should be don't always allow for these. He confessed that the reason they bombard you with a million tile and color and flooring and countertop options is to induce decision fatigue.
So that when they hit you with the news that the sink can go in exactly two places and which one do you want, you just answer instead of fighting them on the stuff they know, care about, and cannot change no matter how long you monologue about it.
I don't know if I was more shocked that they had this figured out, or that software developers don't.
The sort of lesson in this example is if you want to get some design decision through that you know may be controversial, bury it in with a bunch of other changes.
(Also related, the idea of announcing negative things on busy news days, i.e. "a good day to bury bad news".)
I've heard tell of people getting quite upset about this information.
A tool of a successful team lead is knowing which decisions can be deferred until there is more time, energy, and information to give them the consideration they deserve. And which ones are so easy to reverse later that drawing straws is a perfectly valid strategy.
For the canonical 'bikeshedding' parable: My preferred escape route for a bunch of highly paid individuals to stop wasting time on what color to paint a goddamned shed is to budget enough time and materials for several different options and to move on. No matter what color you paint it, it will need to be painted again in 5 years anyway. Argue about the color then. Today you're supposed to be worried about the QC history of the concrete contractor, since you are going to be using some of the most expensive concrete known to man.
I've been very involved in (local) party politics.
There are legitimate reasons why people despise parties, politics, policy, campaigns, planning, etc. Because it sucks.
And there are some people who LIVE for the knife fight. Living incarnations of the Simple Sabotage Field Manual.
Of course this happens in all organizations, to varying degrees.
I've struggled to come up with mitigations. Some have worked pretty good. Briefly. Like JADs (joint application development). With an enforcer playing Bad Cop.
Codifying better governance in bylaws and codes of conduct can also help, a bit.
But the moment you stop pumping energy into the system, things revert to the Tyranny of Structurelessness.
Being tired or worn out reduces our ability to function at a level we demand of ourselves or others, leading some people to some pretty bad issues they don't know how to handle.
It can be vigilance (which for some of us includes deciding things), overstimulation (background noise), understimulation (loneliness, boredom), physical exhaustion, illness... any or all of these can induce us to make other sorts of highly suspect decisions, including how we spend our free time, money, or how we treat others.
I don't know who's right, but I know that I am more likely to be convinced by arguments that use reason and evidence.
They have pretty categorically disproved this idea with studies in which children are dropped off and then returned to parents having been randomly given a sugary treat before hand and half given a non sugary treat. In follow up calls the parents did no better than chance in correlating their child's excitement level to whether they received the sugary treat or not. It doesn't mean anyone is dumb or lying. It just means personal experience isn't good for knowing certain kinds of things are true or not.
The "sugar rush" case has another potential parallel here. It may in fact be the case that parents, when frustrated by their children's hyperactivity, give their children less sugar and in fact observe lower energy levels. Parents may even mistake this for "personal evidence" that "sugar causes hyperactivity" is a good explanation for their observations. But of course, they very well may have just lowered their child's calorie intake, and perhaps sugar itself has no unique effect on hyperactivity.
Another thing to note regarding the sugar misconception is that studies have in fact shown that parents will report their children are more hyperactive if they have been told that their children recently consumed sugar. To me, that's the real nail in the coffin, and it's also not good news for the mode of thinking that goes like "I've observed this feeling in my own life therefore no evidence could possibly show otherwise."
In this case I'm willing to accept that decision-making does tend to get worse after long stretches, but I'm more concerned with how to verify this particular explanation for why decision-making gets worse, and for that I think it's vitally important to do controlled experiments. One's own experience almost certainly has no explanatory power for why decision-making is getting worse.
It's certainly a reasonable guess that my decision-making is getting worse because I've had to make many decisions today. But there are also other reasonable guesses. Maybe it's my diet, and I had more energy immediately after breakfast and lunch but less energy later in the afternoon. Maybe sunlight has an effect. Maybe simply knowing that I get to go home from work soon makes me less invested in decisions at the end of the day.
A less reasonable guess would be something like "when the afternoon train starts running my decision-making gets worse." It still naively fits my observations, but we can probably agree that a controlled test would likely show this explanation to be incorrect (but who knows, maybe the train is loud and distracts me, or makes me think about my upcoming commute home!).
These are all things that can probably be controlled for, and it wouldn't be too shocking to me if the number of decisions made in a day is not in fact a significant explanation for why the later decisions are poorer. I haven't even seen the study that was preemptively dismissed, but I'd like to.
It may seem like something that's easy to confirm, but the mind is a messy blob of bias. Real science needs to be done to give a conclusive answer. A single study (for or against) is only one step in that process.
Remember, the plural of anecdote is not data.
Yet your input, although welcome, was not needed... bad businessman ? :)
This references the study "Extraneous factors in judicial decisions": https://www.pnas.org/content/108/17/6889
Here's an article, which has been posted on HN a few times, about why the conclusions of that study don't make sense: https://nautil.us/blog/impossibly-hungry-judges
Here's a concise HN comment about how the observed effect is explained without decision fatigue: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14703990
There are secondary effects like nutrient deficiencies that can result in low essential neurotransmitters. And also if you stay focused on one thing, I think Troxler Fading can increase the the energy draw your brain needs to stay focused on that one thing.
Probably as important is complexity/uncertainty. If glycogen delivery is your capacity to work, complexity/uncertainty is the primary demand that the work has on your brain. So if you can keep redrawing/refactoring your problem in simple terms, I find you can keep going when others cannot.
So I created a small tool a while ago to learn Vue and to help me with this: https://roulettecarnival.com/ , it's not close to be finished but it kinda works. I also use it with my team to make trivial decisions more fun.
Site here: https://bracket-based-decision-making.firebaseapp.com/
Code here: https://github.com/weaversam8/bracket-based-decision-making
Very neat presentation. I often work out this sort of thing in my head or on paper.
I was confused by the wording initially. "Enter a list of what you want to decide" sounded to me like I should enter separate decisions ("What should I eat for lunch?", "When should I mow the lawn?", …). Perhaps word it as "Enter the alternatives you are trying to decide between".
It's the first item on the TODO list anyway.
Decision fatigue is a problem with exhaustion of cognitive endurance rather than a problem with cognitive overload. The former, like physical endurance exhaustion, occurs from becoming tired due to exercise over time without sufficient rest. The later occurs in a short time when the variables comprising a single, or focused set of, decision overwhelm the performance of a timely or adequate decision/response.
When a person becomes tired from continuous exercise, whether physical or mental, there are symptoms that occur that negatively impact performance. These symptoms are a way of telling you that the body is entering a state of heightened stress that can be resolved, to some degree, by appropriate rest. Stimulants work in the body to increase some performance factors while simultaneously impairing the association between exhaustion with the need for rest.
While these results from the use of stimulants can increase performance in a short term they are not a substitute for rest. Performance will degrade once the short-term high from the stimulant fades and especially as continued use results in tolerance to potentially catastrophic results.
It’s one of my favourite TED talks ever. Highly recommend: https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_the_paradox_of_choi...
It’s also a book which I’m sure you can find on your own if you like the talk.
It seems to me almost like a scientific proof of Buddhism. This also made me really think about why I was perusing certain goals or not.
The basic premise is that humans think they’re really good at predicting what will make them happy, when in reality we totally suck at it and make lots of deliberate choices that are bound to make us unhappy.
I like your summary. An even more general way to look at is that we have less control over our minds (and moods) than we expect, so don't stress about it. :)
The Good Life: Unifying the Philosophy and Psychology of Well-Being by Michael Bishop
The author points out how the current field is fragmented with no underlying theory, and he provides one by reconciling the demands of psychologists and philosophers who have thought and written about this topic.
The autopilot helps reduce workload during those brief high-workload moments. It's also critical for reducing decision fatigue on long flights.
My favourite mechanism for doing so is prepping my clothes, prepping my my next day, and preparing my lunch - all the night before. Similarly knowing what we'll eat for dinner the next night. It might not work for everyone else - and I'm not the planner type, but this has dramatically improved my life.
My technique is to always plan to have healthy stuff within easy reach. The step before that is to grocery shop when NOT hungry.
For example, I nap now whenever I want. Whether I lost sleep b/c of some late night problem or just stress, I vigilantly make sure I get enough sleep. Exercise is huge too. Your mental state builds on your physical state.
Basically; start the day with X number of spoons. Every time you make a decision, take away a spoon. Spoons run out? Your day is done!
Am I allowed to use the spoon for the decision of what to have for lunch to eat it or has soup just become much more costly?
It's up to you what you spend spoons on. If you find that deciding what to eat is mentally costly, then yes, spend a spoon. Or set a habit to not make decisions about food and eat the same thing for lunch.
A zen master may deliberate on a question, but will never dither. When presented with a choice, do the thinking it deserves but no more.
A simple example: you're looking at a menu and they all look good. Pick the first one or the one closest to your finger. It doesn't matter.
Also, don't cheat and be deferential; "I don't know, which would _you_ like?" Practice actively choosing. It'll do wonders in your daily life.
The book was excellent, made me more-cognizant of choices and about having a strategy for dealing with it all (statisficing rather than maximizing).
Great short summary by the author in his classic TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_the_paradox_of_choi...
Once I write something I don't go back to fix it until after its done
To me, a non-journalist, a title is a title.
I only ask because the article is about people making poor choices because they're bombarded with too many things that they have to make choices about. Then you show up and say, "Hey, we need everyone to think more carefully about their choice of capitalization strategy for titles."
Additionally, out of curiosity, did the difference in font also bother you? I couldn't help but notice that the lower case 'g' in "Fatigue" that HN uses is different than the lower case 'g' that wikipedia uses. If we used a font that makes the first letter in a word that is supposed to be lower case appear upper case (but technically still be lower case if you looked at the ascii code), would this solve your concern about the issue?
"[...] Otherwise please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait; don't editorialize."
Also if you look at the title tracker (found here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21617016) you can see previous capitalization changes.
- Please don't be a jerk: valid rhetorical move intended to influence tone.
- Only a jerk would think that: ad hominem fallacy.
- You're a jerk! Insult. Poor rhetoric (usually), but not ad hominem, which conflates the person with the argument.