The hidden cost of keeping your options open

Photo by visualpanic

Photo by visualpanic

This spring, college students will be making decisions about the future. Whether “the future” means this summer, the next year, or the next five years, such decisions are always difficult, loaded as they are with the weight of opportunity costs. In these circumstances, a seemingly promising strategy is to maximize the possibilities you’ll have in the future. After all, isn’t college meant to open doors for you?

While it is true that college opens doors, a number of sources indicate that it is best to close most of those doors. Keeping your options open has a cost. Continue reading

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The Science of Getting Things Done

Productivity philosophies always sound great on the outside

Photo by J. E. Theriot

Productivity philosophies always sound great on the outside, promising more free time, more autonomy, and a happier lifestyle. But not all of these philosophies deliver, and not everyone will like the same philosophies.

So how do you pick one productivity philosophy over another?

The typical answer is that this is a completely personal decision and you should do whatever works best for you.

We can do better than that. The typical answer doesn’t explain why systems like David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) have such widespread popularity. While good marketing does play a role, I’ve thought of a more satisfying answer based on some recent findings in psychology. I’m talking about two concepts, ego depletion and decision fatigue, which are two of the most fascinating phenomena I’ve read about in the past year. Continue reading