Skip to main content

Decision Models

Lesson 16 from: Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

most popular money & life

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

16. Decision Models

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of this lesson is decision-making and dealing with decision overload in order to design a well-lived, joyful life.


  1. What are the three questions discussed in the lesson regarding decision-making?

    • What part of the decision-making process is hard for you?
    • Where in your life do you experience decision overload?
    • How do you feel about wanting what you already have instead of always wanting what you don't have?
  2. What is FOMO?

    FOMO stands for fear of missing out, which is the feeling of anxiety or unease that one might miss out on something important or exciting.

  3. How does one student deal with decision overload?

    The student focuses on one thing at a time, writes down ideas for later, and emphasizes the importance of finishing tasks.

  4. How does another student handle decision overload when choosing faucets for a home remodel?

    The student asked a designer friend to narrow down the choices to three options, making the decision-making process easier.

  5. How does living in the San Francisco Bay Area contribute to decision overload?

    The area has a lot of activities and options, which can lead to a fear of missing out and frequent changes of mind.

  6. Overall, how does one student feel about the abundance of choices in the area?

    The student finds it enjoyable and exciting.

Lesson Info

Decision Models

So, learning how to make this decision-making process work for you is kind of a really critical part of what we're trying to get across today. So, there's a discussion sheet coming around about this, and what we'd like you to do is kinda have a discussion. Are we gonna do this is in pairs or? Tables. In tables. We're gonna do this in tables, and the three questions are sort of when you look at this thing gathering create, narrowing down, choosing and letting go, what part of that is hard for you, or what part when you look at that do you think is...? Or maybe you love agonizing. Maybe that's your favorite thing. That's your favorite part. It's very popular. Where in your life do you experience decision overload? There's a thing at Stanford called the fear of missing out. All Stanford students want to do everything all the time because they don't want to miss out on anything. FOMO. FOMO. Fear of missing out. It's crazy. It's not about packing more in, it's about getting ...

more out of extracting more from the things you do. So, but where in your life are you, in choice overload. And if happiness is getting what you want It's wanting what you got. Getting what you want. Not getting what you want, but wanting what you've got, how do you feel about that cause that could just sound like a silly little word game where you're trying to talk yourself It sounds like a bumper sticker. Talk yourself into something that's not true. One thing I actually started doing recently is building and focusing on one thing at a time. That way if like just direct-- So non-multitasking? Direct focus and getting that thing done and having a finished thing and then moving on to the next thing and if I have ideas I write 'em in a book and then I come back to them later and either cross 'em out or laugh at them you know so, it really does give you the opportunity to get all that out and then focus on the task and again I think finishing something is the most important thing. Just finished a little home remodel and I remember trying to pick some faucets Mmhm. And I went into a store and there were you know 80 choices. (laughing) Just a whole wall of faucets. (laughing) And so then I worked with a friend who's a designer, I said "Give me three, I just want three." A modern, a you know whatever, and then it was really easy within five minutes I'm like "That one." I totally get the choice overwhelm bit. I think we live particularly in an area of San Francisco bay area where there's so much going on that people always talk about how people in San Francisco are flaky because there's always so many things to do and you change your mind and there's FOMO and I think maybe here in particular is just-- Take it from an outsider. Take it from outsider? Yeah. Yeah when I came here I was just like oh my god there's just so much going, like I want to move here, like now that's in the plan. Like but just there's so much going on it's just awesome. Maybe too much once you've got here do you find? No, no, I mean it's enjoyable.

Class Materials

Free Bonus Materials

Designing Your Life Homework
Designing Your Life Worksheets

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Impact Module Worksheet

Ratings and Reviews


A fantastic class for someone seeking to optimize their life for a greater sense of satisfaction and especially for someone who is considering a career transition. We are taught effective methods for brainstorming, examining, and prototyping our options, and we are given an approach for the hardest task of all: how to make a choice when faced with multiple good options! Also great tips for networking and getting your foot in the door. This class was very timely for me as I've been struggling with making a decision on what my next career was going to be. I now feel equipped with tools that will help me make that decision with less agony and more fun! Also, I'm a huge fan of design thinking, so it was great to see how that methodology could be applied to making one of the most important decisions in our life.

Karen Vitto

Great course! Great for who like me is on their 30's starting life in a new country with a new language and have been out of the industry for 4 years. Designing new goals, making new networking and starting a MBA for some updates on my carrear. Really helped with some focus. Super recommend!


Loved this class! It was high energy, fast paced and well organized, as well as inspiring. It helped me to make more concrete things I've been thinking and dreaming about. I'm so glad I took it. I made great contacts and will definitely use this material in the future!

Student Work