It's About Time for Making Good Decisions
Have you ever found yourself so overwhelmed you just can’t make a decision? Your day is too busy, you have too much to do, you are bombarded with people asking you things, answering phone calls and emails, your desk is piled high with to-dos, you’re running back and forth to meetings, you’re starving because you didn’t have time to eat, and you just remembered today is your anniversary!
Yes, this might just be your usual day, but it can totally affect your ability to make a decision because it all blurs together and you can't think straight.
And here is the bad news when operating this way daily. If you find yourself constantly sweating the small stuff, chronic stress may have already taken a toll on your health. Proven over and over to be lethal, the ill effects of stress range from negatively impacting sleep to causing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even death. Is Stress As Deadly As We Believe? Back to making decisions - with all this overload we just have too many decisions to make!
Scientists have proven that we go into overload if offered more than 7 things to choose from. By some estimates, the average American adult makes 35,000 decisions a day. No wonder you're tired. Soul-weary. Sucked dry. The kind of tired 10 hours of sleep can't fix. The Cure for Decision Fatigue - WSJ
Don't believe those numbers? Keep track for yourself for one day and see what you come up with. So let's start CLEARING UP THE CLUTTER from overload and create a process that will lead to better decision making which in turn will lead to better outcomes. Here are 6 steps to help you.
1. Get Clear
What is your real priority for your work and ground yourself in that focus. What outcomes do you want to achieve that will be considered a success?
2. Get Committed
Get into action. Schedule a "time-out" spot on your calendar – at least an hour with no interruptions - a half day is best Isolate yourself the best you can so you can get down to the task at hand
3. Get Organized
Analyze and adjust each task:
- Group phone calls, emails, texts, tweets, social media into one time block twice a day
- Clear the clutter from your desk by filing non-urgent papers, creating one urgent pile on your desk
- Schedule projects for larger blocks of time instead of doing a little here and there
- Bring healthy food from home so you don't have to run to get food
- Stock your desk drawer with healthy snacks so you don't get hungry
- Schedule breaks to clear your mind with a quick walk, short meditation, stretching exercises
- Decide what tasks can be delegated
- Determine which meetings are really necessary and shorten them when possible
- Make peace with saying NO whenever possible
- Hang up a sign that says - I SAY NO – MY LIFE DEPENDS ON IT
- Set your work hours so you shut down and leave at a reasonable hour – schedule an exercise class at 5:30pm that you can't miss so you are forced to leave work on time
- What else do you want to tackle?
4. Get Connected With Your Feelings
Review how you feel after re-working these tasks. I feel ________.
Does this ease the feeling of overload, stop the paralysis and help you make better decisions?
5. Get Real
If you can't make a decision – DON'T! Instead, use do some free writing.
If you are struggling with a decision, let your subconscious do the talking for a while. Using a blank piece of paper, state your problem out loud and write it on the top of the page.
Example: Should I quit my job or stay where I am?
Then let your pen do the rest. Write non-stop, it doesn't matter if what comes out on the paper is nonsense, just keep letting your pen do all the work. When you feel yourself slowing, leave your notes and come back to them later. You may be surprised what your words reveal, and you can make a better decision. (This is a great exercise to do whenever you get stuck on something)
6. Get Happy
Use the Law of Attraction that says the best decisions happen when you are feeling good. Listen to your favorite song, meditate, go for a walk. Do whatever makes you smile and forget about the decision for a few minutes.
Once you feel a happy vibration, make your decision based on what feels best rather than what seems rational. Feeling good about your decision is what will make it work.
Then act on your decision. Do a least one thing to lock it in. If it doesn't feel good, you can usually change it and you can always make a new decision based on the outcome of your action. People are more likely to regret not taking action than not doing anything.
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing. - Theodore Roosevelt
When have you been so overwhelmed that you couldn't make a decision?
What did you do to break thru that paralysis?
Please share so we can all learn.