Fabian Holzer

On Satisficing

Every day we need to decide many things and many of those decisions are of minor importance. Lots of trivial decisions to make can create neural fatigue and lead to unproductivity and loss of focus.

Herbert Simon coined the word satisficing for a strategy that concentrates on getting an option that is good enough, but possibly not the very best. Satisficing is one of the foundations of productive human behaviour because it avoids wasting time on finding improvements that are not going to make a significant difference.

Yet, satisficing should not be applied to very high-priority endeavours where much is at stake. There pursuing excellence might actually be the better strategy. But those are few and far between. To have the capacity to make them happen, satisficing is an imperative.