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Want To Make Better Decisions? Skip the Restroom

Do you want your work teams to make better decisions?

Do you feel like you always end up with buyer's remorse?

Hold that thought. While you're at it, hold your bladder, too.

New European (no pun intended) research finds the key to better decision making may lie in our bladders. The researchers wanted to see what happens when people hold their urine until they almost can't hold it anymore. They had the research participants drink a lot of water, wait 40 minutes, and then make some decisions. One of the study's findings: When we really need to ride the porcelain Honda, we tend to delay the big rewards and to put more thought into our decisions.

This finding seems counter-intuitive somehow (how could we focus on making big decisions amid the distraction of a very full bladder?), but if it's true, a thousand future book ideas on corporate decision-making strategy just went down the toilet. Of course, the I-can-hold-it-coach approach may not work if you suffer from incontinence, have had certain surgeries, take certain medications, or have had children. Talk to your doctor.

Beyond starting to sound like a pharmaceutical ad, it seems like only the most sadistic managers would tank up employees on coffee and bottled water and then lock them in a conference room for ninety minutes of rapid-fire decision-making. Hey team, the Starbucks is on us today!

But the next time nature is knocking at the door while you're out shopping, deciding what to order off the menu or weighing a job offer, maybe you can conduct your own personal experiment by forcing yourself to make a decision before using the restroom. Then you can see if you have any buyer's remorse afterward.

If you'd like to read more about the study, click here.


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