Life is hard.
Every day is filled with choices: what to wear, what to do, what’s top of your To Do list, what’s top of your To Do list according to your boss? Should I boycott Starbucks, should I take a walk, should I eat this chocolate or this apple? Should I drive this way to work, or that way, should I start that new project, should I re-start that old project, what step can I take today towards the tomorrow I want?
We are all but plagued by them.
So how do we make the best choices?
A few suggestions (that work for me)
Get up half an hour early and complete one of your To Do items before you leave the house; it could be cleaning the kitchen (it never takes as long as you think), writing a blog post(!), emailing a friend. Make an effort to get up and get it done.
Simplify your day. Don’t feel beholden to fashion or other people’s expectations; if you work in an office, find a uniform you like and wear it every day. I’ve been at my new job 3 weeks now and I’ve decided I’m only going to wear my dark blue jeans with a white shirt or a grey jumper. Similarly, either plan your meals a week ahead or eat the same thing every day. My lunch is always the same (although it may change when I get back into training in November), so I don’t have to think while I prepare it.
Know your goals. Ask yourself for each decision you make, does this fit in with your goals? At World Vision, lots of people want to do lots of things with social media (which is great), so the first thing the digital boss asked me to do was draw up a Social Media Strategy and, for every request or suggestion, ask myself: does this fit with our Key Strategic Drivers and will it help us hit our KPIs? If the answer is no, then it’s a no.
Trust your gut. Chris Guillebeau, blogger and changemaker extraordinaire, suggests flipping a coin. It doesn’t make your decisions for you, but while that coin is spinning in the air you will instinctively know what the answer to your question is. If you don’t trust your gut, trust the coin to tell you what you’re gut is telling you.
Know that very little is actually final. Death and taxes, as the saying goes, are the only certainties in life; everything else (just about) is reversible or at the very least changeable. OK, once you’ve decided to let go of the side of the plane there’s not a lot of backing out of a sky dive, but right up to that point where you let gravity take over, the choice is in your hands. Use that power to help you make the right choices and not fear the wrong ones.
Have confidence in yourself. Above all else, trust in yourself and that you know what’s best for you, your career and your family. You know you better than anyone else. Know that. Trust that. Use that.
Decisions won’t go away
Disliking making decisions won’t make them go away, but knowing how to limit your choices and make the right ones – better ones – will give you the power and control over your life that the daily barrage of choices can inhibit.
What are you going to choose to do today? What decision needs making, what conclusion must you reach? If you want a hand, let me know.
Photo: Steve Webel via Flickr.
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