Choosing Between Multiple Alternatives
Tuesday, December 20, 2016 at 18:04
Mark Forster in Articles

As a bit of light relief, here’s a simple method for choosing between multiple possible alternatives. I’ve found this very effective.

Say you have to chose which book to read next, and you have five candidates:

Oliver Twist

The Grapes of Wrath

The Life of Pi

War and Peace

Pride and Prejudice

You do it by repeatedly comparing the first and the last on the list and rejecting one of them.

So you start on the above list by comparing Oliver Twist to Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice wins, so you delete Oliver Twist and compare again, this time with The Grapes of Wrath

Oliver Twist

The Grapes of Wrath

The Life of Pi

War and Peace

Pride and Prejudice

This time The Grapes of Wrath wins, so the next round is to compare it with War and Peace.

Oliver Twist

The Grapes of Wrath

The Life of Pi

War and Peace

Pride and Prejudice

You decide War and Peace is a bit heavy. So now it’s between Grapes and The Life of Pi.

The Grapes of Wrath wins!

Oliver Twist

The Grapes of Wrath

The Life of Pi

War and Peace

Pride and Prejudice

I’ve used this on a many different types of choice, including which soup to have for lunch, what movie to watch next and - yes - what book to read. Try it out when you’re in a restaurant and can’t choose between the items on the menu. You’ll find it works really well.

But one thing I haven’t been able to work out is how I can apply it to a time management system. Any ideas?

Article originally appeared on Get Everything Done (http://markforster.net/).
See website for complete article licensing information.