Information: is less more?

Today’s IORG Guest Post is from Ingrid Pope, executive coach and professional mind de-clutterer.  Ingrid’s mission is to de-clutter the world of everything that gets in the way of our effectiveness, our focus, and our life  by creating space to think, to work, to live.

I am sure that we have all agonized over decisions that needed to be made: which hotel to book for that next trip, or what insurance company to go with when policy renewal time comes around. And we would have spent much time researching the different options available, and come away still unsure of what to do. In the end, we would go with our gut feeling anyway. Sound familiar?

Enter the information bias, or in other words the cognitive bias that will have us believe that more information is better. We somewhat lose the sense of what data is actually relevant and important, and what information might be unnecessary and superfluous noise for our decision-making. Add to that a touch of confirmation bias (the one that will make us seek out the facts and data which reinforce our beliefs) and we could be forgiven for wondering why we even bother with research in the first place!

Of course, there are times when it is important to have all the relevant facts and data at our disposal before we choose which way to go, especially when there are wide-ranging consequences for our business, our life or the lives of others. But more often than not, more information is not actually useful. It drives us to continue investigating further and further, searching for ever more data, which will in actual fact do little if anything to our decision-making process other than stalling us.

So the next time you are faced with a decision that needs to be made, consider if you might simply go straight with your gut in the first place. You might save yourself much time and energy, creating space for something more useful or interesting to do!