Do You Practice "Satisficing?"

As I continue to recuperate from my hip replacement surgery, I am finding that daytime TV has begun to lower my IQ. To ward off these ill effects, I have turned to do more reading and just started a book titled; "The Organized Mind" by the noted cognitive theorist, Daniel Levitin.

The book blends cognitive theory with the impact of information overload. Levitin writes about how information continues to grow, and our digital access becomes more and more sophisticated, how this overload can negatively affect our lives.

In the book he proposes many strategies and actions we can take to better manage this information, and one strategy he describes is "satisficing."  Its actually a term coined by the Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon that relates to when something is not perfect, but good enough. He states that "satisficing" is one of the foundations of productive human behavior; it prevails when we don't waste time trying to find improvements that are not going to make a significant difference in our happiness or satisfaction.

An example of "satisficing" is found for most of us when we clean our homes. We do all the things necessary to make our houses cleaner, but they are never perfectly clean. If we wanted our homes to be perfectly clean we would never finish the task of cleaning. But when we determine that our cleaning effort is "good enough" we are deferring to "satisficing."

I know as a writer, I am often never satisfied, and that when I reread my work, I know I can always improve. But, at some point, I have to put the manuscript down and say, this could be better, if I had more time, but for now it is good enough. This is "satisficing" at work.

So as you make decisions on things in this age of information overload, think about the process of "satisficing." Things could always be better, but at some point you have to finish the task and get on with your life.