Have you ever had a week when there’s so many decisions you need to make – some of them kind of big decisions – that you end up so over-whelmed you can’t make any decisions? This week I can hardly decide which manuscript to work on (help the book that finaled in the contests with another in the series? or something completely different?), who might be interested in my book (this agent? this editor?), what dress to purchase, and do I want an antique pipe organ that’s a family heirloom piece?*
Too many decisions = decision paralysis.
I’m not usually so overcome, pride myself on being quite decisive, so I decided I needed to do something. Hello Google search.
Here’s the general advice:
- Sleep on it. In other words, give yourself time to mull it over, whether that’s just overnight or a week or so, time and distance sometimes changes our perspective.
- Minimizing Regret (a term I borrowed from Boris Wertz). I like this idea, and this helps me make decisions: which decision will you look back and regret not making the most? Read his great article over at: How to Overcome Decision Paralysis
- Seek outside advice. Talk it over with someone else. Sometimes in explaining the options or talking to someone else you can make a decision, or realize when you’ve already made a decision and just hadn’t realized it yet.
- Remember that not making a decision IS making a decision not to act. Fascinating article about Analysis Paralysis, in which you get so caught up in the Pros/Cons of making a decision that you don’t make the decision. The author wisely reminds us that we can’t make the right decision all the time, and that’s okay. We do the best we can at the time, and move on.
- Go with your gut instinct. Sometimes we try to deny that we have a gut or instinctual feeling about something. The surest test is flipping a coin to decide – and you’ll either be relieved or disappointed depending on which side the coin lands on.
- Remember that you’re not perfect, you might be wrong, but that’s okay. You make the best decision you can at the time, and hope it’s the right one. But often there’s no way to be certain and gather every piece of information you’d need. And who knows, maybe the “wrong” decision could turn into a happy accident and lead you places you didn’t know you could go. 🙂
Still can’t make up your mind?
- Check out Noreena Hertz, who’s pod-casts promoting her book on decision making Eyes Wide Open are quite interesting.
- Fantastic post on How to Stop Over Thinking. Do go and read, and you know, stop over thinking. 😉
As for me, I’m off to put into use all this advice, and start making decisions. First decision: what dress to buy for the RWA Gala Awards Night, and I think I know which one I’m going with, impractical as it is.
What about you? How do you make decisions? Ever feel like you’re stuck in decision paralysis?
Have a great week, and thanks for reading. Happy decision making. 🙂
*If you’re curious about the organ, that was the easiest decision: I said yes, though I’m not sure if it’s coming here or if someone else will provide a better home. But, it was important to my dad and I’ve inherited the feeling that a piece of family history shouldn’t be lost (evidently this came across in a wagon with his grandfather or great-grandfather). I’ll let you know the outcome when I know. 🙂