Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hoarding, Willpower, and Decision Fatigue, Part 2

As I discussed in my previous post, many hoarders appear to be complex thinkers. When they think A, they then think B, C, D,and E. Irene in Stuff, for example, was unable to throw out her mail because she broke it down into over a dozen categories (instead of bills to pay and to recycle) which tired her out so much, she could not finish deciding what to do with the resulting categorized piles
According to Willpower:
"The link between willpower and decision making works both ways: Decision making depletes your willpower,and once your willpower is depleted, you're less able to make decisions.If your work requires you to make hard decisions all day long, at some point you're going to be depleted and start looking for ways to conserve energy. You'll look for excuses to avoid or postpone decisions. You' ll look for the easiest and the safest option, which is often to stick with the status quo: Leave the prisoner in prison."

Complex thinkers make decisons all the time because sorting through their mind is so complicated. This in itself is tiring. As a result, their willpower is depleted very quickly. It is not to decided about clutter, and to leave it alone. When Frost and Steketee work with hoarders, they have the hoarders declutter for small amounts of time and work their way up to longer periods in order to avoid decision fatigue.

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