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Mom Was Right
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My mother always told me to sleep on it. That things would look different in the morning, and I would make better decisions.

As it turns out, she was right. She must have been talking about the decision fatigue referenced in links listed by Mechaieh in yesterday's comment. (Thanks!)

I've made some spectacularly bone-headed decisions late in the day when I'm tired and being pressured to choose (and no time earlier to think about it). For instance, I bought white carpeting for the house when it was being renovated after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

I had two dogs and a husband (don't know which was the greater mud tracker or mess-maker) and I selected the white carpet because he dragged me into the store after working a 14 hour shift, and I just pointed to the nearest acceptable sample and said, "That one. Can we go home now?"

In full possession of my faculties, I would NEVER have bought white carpeting. But I was ground down after a day of making the kinds of decisions that affect people's lives (a lot of responsibility) and I was brain dead. He refused to advise, saying it was my house and I had to make the decision.

I should have slept on it. What was the rush?

I've learned my lesson. When I'm required to make a decision near the end of the day, I take all the information, discuss with the parties involved, but postpone an actual decision until the next day, if I can. Even if it's a foregone conclusion.

It's clear to the people who work for me: Do NOT call 10 minutes before 5 p.m. and expect any kind of intelligent response, let alone a decision, unless it's enough of an emergency that adrenaline will kick the brain into high gear.

Often negotiations (trade unions, diplomats, etc.) go for hours and hours. Is the winner not the side that's right, but the side that has the negotiators with the greatest staying power, the largest bladders?

So--was Mom right?

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