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Final Choices and Sensible Defaults

Patrick Rhone

I’m willing to pay far more for an item if I know it will last a lifetime and, even more importantly to me, I will never have to spend the mental energy making a choice again.

This is such an unbelievably huge power move. I agree that big ticket items should be carefully considered. Right now, I'm in the midst of just this process with my needing to buy new clothes. I plan to buy things that will wear well and for a long long time. I discovered this benefit initially after receiving a Levenger Circa notebook as a gift a few years back. I still have, use, and love that notebook and foresee having it for many more.

While Patrick is spot on about final choices, I would add that it also goes for things you buy on a more frequent basis as well. For instance, I never think about what pencil I'm going to buy and use. I know I use Uniball Kuru Toga pencils. (Thanks to Patrick for turning me on to these as well.) If I lose, break, or for some other reason find myself needing to buy a pencil, I don't go to Staples and gawk for an hour at the wall of mechanical pencils. I hop on the Amazon app on my iPhone while I'm waiting in line at Starbucks and order a couple to show up at my door step in two days.

This is something that I've termed "sensible defaults." It's a phrase I've picked up from studying UI design principles, but it's something I've been able to work into other areas of my life as well. For instance, by picking sensible defaults at the eateries we frequent I was able to lose 50 pounds last year.

Is it a little neurotic? Absolutely. Does it mean you might spend a few weeks or months on a quest for the perfect bag to carry around your kit? Boy, ask my wife. Does it mean you might miss out trying the hot new dish at Pei Wei or the new exercise craze? Indubitably. But, in my opinion, the tranquility is well worth that opportunity cost. And the potential for doing something awesome with the saved time and neurocycles is priceless.