Are you a satisficer or a maximiser?

Joy-dream-hope stonesHappiness writer Gretchen Rubin talks about two approaches to life: being a satisficer or a maximiser. A satisficer does enough for something to be suitable and satisfactory, and leaves it there. A maximiser, however, will continue to explore options to make sure that it couldn’t be done any better.

Your own approach probably varies for different areas of your life. You might be happy to pick the first dish you see on a menu, but when it comes to researching holidays, you’ll be prepared to spend hours finding the best option.

When it comes to delegating, it’s often easier for a satisficer to get help. It’s easier to brief someone to do a task to achieve a certain objective. However, a satisficer can be reluctant to delegate something that they see as fairly straightforward.

A maximiser’s task is potentially infinite, which makes it harder for them to delegate it. There’s always something that could be improved, researched more, checked further, or cleaned better. They can be reluctant to hand something over because they can’t be sure it’ll be done as thoroughly as they’d like.

How to delegate if you’re a maximiser

Evaluate tasks carefully, and ask yourself what tasks you can set clear boundaries on. You might be reluctant to get someone to clean your house, but you might be more comfortable with having them clean out your kitchen cupboards, maybe telling them exactly what cloths and cleaning solution you’d like them to use. You could get someone to file your paperwork. You could hand over a big pile of things and get them listed on ebay. You could get someone to drop off bags at a charity shop or print out postage labels for parcels.

Maximising secrets:

  • Choose tasks where you can define the start and end of the project.
  • Limit your risks: start with a task where little can seriously go wrong, and where you could easily correct it.
  • Define as many standards as you can.
  • Identify if there’s anything you particularly don’t want – perhaps you don’t want to use a particular charity shop, or don’t want to reveal your location on ebay. 

How to delegate if you’re a satisficer

If you’re a satisficer, you’re probably quite pragmatic, and maybe reluctant to delegate because you think you can do it yourself quickly and easily. But most people underestimate how long things will take, so there are bound to be more areas you can get help with, and still keep it time and cost-efficient.

Satisficing secrets:

  • Find someone you can trust and start investing time in the relationship, so they can take over more and more for you.
  • Be realistic about how long tasks will take, and don’t be afraid to delegate anything that’s more than a few minutes.
  • Ensure you’re thorough enough about researching a new service. Do be sure it’s likely to meet your needs before you delegate.
  • Brief thoroughly – you still need the job to be carried out to the standards you’d achieve for yourself.

If it sounds as though it’s less stressful to be a satisficer, you’re probably right. Satisficers apparently tend to be happier, spending less time and energy on worrying about making the right choice.

For a maximiser wanting to be more of a satisficer, starting to delegate easy tasks is a great way of practicing getting the results you want by managing the process rather than doing it yourself. The more you find it works, the easier you’ll find it, and the less stressful life should become.


Time Wizard takes on the tasks for people who want to use their time for something more valuable. Are you making the most of your life? Call us now to see how we can get you the results you need, reducing your stress and improving your health and happiness.


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