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Avoid Holiday Overload

So many options. So many decisions, especially this time of year. Don't let "choice overload" leave you paralyzed. Studio 5 contributor, Vikki Carrel, shares strategies to help make those holiday decisions, easy.

Decision making involves making a choice after evaluating all the available alternatives and options. Often there are too many choices to evaluate. What does choice overload mean? Research shows that people in modern societies are overwhelmed by an overabundance of choices. For example, a simple trip to the grocery store may require a consumer to choose from 258 varieties of cookies or 150 lipstick colors.

Choice overload can be stressful!!

How do we deal with choice overload? People do not always make rational decisions due to impulsive buying, a lack of important information or allowing emotions to drive the decision.

Research shows that people rely on two different modes of thinking in decision making:

Many decisions involve choices about preferences. Preferences are decisions that rely on fast and frugal principles - "the rule of thumb" approach.

In-depth decisions require effort and are controlled and deliberate.

Tips to help you make optimal decisions -- especially while shopping and celebrating the holiday season.

Recognize financial parameters. Price needs to drive the choice.

Evaluate the positives. Rate the product or alternatives based on the positive attributes.

Eliminate by negatives. Make your choice based on gradually eliminating less-attractive products or alternatives.

Rely on past knowledge and experience.

Don't be impulsive. Avoid purchasing unnecessary items. Make a shopping list.

Avoid conditions of uncertainty. Risky decisions are often the result of making choices under conditions of uncertainty. Take the time to evaluate and explore all your options when it comes to purchasing holiday items, especially big ticket items. Do your homework and collect enough data to make a rational choice.

Although the approach to rational decision making varies with each situation, the key to avoiding choice overload is to select strategies that works for you.


Vikki Carrel is an author, speaker and founder of The Empowerment Project. www.vikkicarrel.com

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