Baby-Naming Tip: Set a Time Limit

stopwatchHere’s an idea for all you over-thinkers out there: set a time limit to your baby-naming process.


One study found that “people tend to underestimate the temporal costs of choosing relative to the benefits of finding the best option. Consequently, decision makers insist on exercising their choice opportunities even when these opportunities lead to poor outcomes.”

Translation: Decision-makers can spend too much time researching all the options.

Yes, there’s an advantage to having more knowledge. But don’t forget that your time has value, too. And that having extra knowledge doesn’t guarantee you’ll make a better decision.

In certain circumstances, the costs associated with the time spent searching for the best option may even be greater than the benefits that option provides, resulting in faulty decisions and undesirable outcomes.

For baby names, this could mean looking at so many options that you go off track and choose a name that you would never have considered months earlier. Only to end up suffering from baby name regret (which, yes, is a thing now).

How should you go about setting a time limit? Here are some ideas:

  • Start your search now, but set a deadline and make yourself accountable somehow (i.e., share the deadline with close friends).
    • You could also try a series of deadlines: “We’ll narrow it down to 10 names in January, 5 in February, and make the final decision in March.”
  • Put off the search until later in the pregnancy. Table all baby name conversations until a certain date.
  • If you have a weakness for internet chit-chat, bar yourself from joining name-themed Facebook groups, message boards, etc. If you’ve already joined, un-join. Use your browser to block certain sites if need be.

Do you have any other time-saving tips (or efficiency tips) for all the name-seekers out there?

Source: Botti, Simona and Christopher K. Hsee. “Dazed and confused by choice: How the temporal costs of choice freedom lead to undesirable outcomes.” (PDF) Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 112 (2010): 161-171.

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