Decisions, Decisions, Decisions, Five Little Suggestions to Help You Make Decisions. – Since I went back to work in the corporate world and am no longer working at home raising my daughter, I feel like my mental and emotional workload has quadrupled. It feels like I never have enough time or brain power to make a well thought out decision. My regular work day takes from me and like countless others, many hours away from me. Monday through Friday, from 7am to 5pm, my mind is consumed with the work day’s demands. On my daily breaks, I try to redirect my energy to a thought or decision that has an impact on what is really important to me; my family life. When I say “decision” I am referring to the important ones that help us form our futures which allow for us to take care of our families. However, because I have allowed for my mind to become cluttered with mundane decisions regarding family activities, such as discussing family meals or coordinating which friends to see, even making the smallest decision seems like a monumental undertaking. It is a blessing that my wife is able to take care of the maintenance items that keep our home running which include, but are not limited to, buying the groceries and paying the bills. Even those things require us to have a conversation as she likes to make sure we are on the same page. Just sitting here writing this…I am struggling to make sense of this overwhelming feeling. I can only hope it’s not obvious.
Over the past year I have tried numerous strategies to organize this mind f*ck of a decision making process. Lucky for me, I have come up with a few things that help and I believe are worth sharing. While I may not be a board certified professional in any of these topics, I have gone to and graduated from the school of hard knocks educated by Mr Jay Z.
Aaaand here we go:
1) Make lists: A few years ago, when work occupied my life, I was overburdened with all the different aspects of my job. I began to lose control of my ability to stay on top of it all. But then I read a book called Getting things Done by: David Allen. In the book, the author explains how lists can make a difference in getting through one’s day. I recently came across the book and realized that this concept could be applied to not only work, but also to my home life. Lists are not just for groceries or for Christmas. They can also aid us in creating order in our minds and in our lives. They allow for us to see our tasks in front of us and they make us accountable to ourselves. The to-dos on our lists can be complicated and may require multiple steps before they can be crossed off while others can be as simple as making sure that your email inbox is emptied. I know I feel a sense of accomplishment when I cross something off my list! Make sure not to set yourself up for failure – make sure that your tasks are attainable. Multiple lists are a great way to break up personal, family and work tasks as they help keep some order to it all.
2) Talk to yourself: Talking to yourself has great benefits. It can help work out complicated problems that you may be struggling to solve. Another benefit is that you can enact a two-sided discussion where you play both sides of an issue, give a long explanation where by you gain resolve in a decision you made, or possibly see the errors in it. Talking to yourself can also help you relieve stress. It allows for you to say the things you might be holding back from that power-hungry boss, the friend that pissed you off or the jerk that keeps posting their article on FB. (Yeah, that would be me. Sorry.) In any case self talking is not just for the crazies any more – anyone can join in! But who’s to say that SAHD/SAHM, WM and WD (working moms/dads) aren’t a bit crazy already!!
3) Get outside: There really is something to be said about breathing in fresh air and feeling warm sunlight – why do you think Californians are so happy? Well it could be the clinics they have out there…maybe? Seriously, though. Take time to sit on a park bench or pull off the road on your commute home to find a quiet spot. Take in the fresh air and peace, that moment will recharge you. Being indoors, especially in this abhorrent winter we’re having, can make you feel like you can’t get your head sorted out. As Peter from office space so eloquently stated “It’s not just about me and my dream of doing nothing. It’s about all of us. I don’t know what happened to me at that hypnotherapist and, I don’t know, maybe it was just shock and it’s wearing off now, but when I saw that fat man keel over and die – Michael, we don’t have a lot of time on this earth! We weren’t meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements.”
Keep on smiling
4) Be silly and make sure you smile especially when you are around your loved ones: Even though we all have to make tough, grown-up choices every day, sometimes just being silly can help relax you and can help clear your mind. After a long day of work, I often feel tense and uptight and it’s like my daughter knows, I know my wife does. When she senses this, she will do something silly, like put a blanket on and run around with it like it’s a cape. She’ll dance around in circles bopping her head back and forth listening to music. It makes me smile. Her attitude immediately changes to one of delight when she sees me smiling and laughing. We’ll make funny faces at one another and laugh as we watch my wife dance around the room as if she actually knows how to dance. (He he.) When I allow myself to “let go” of the pressures and the heavy burdens I feel, I can better handle the grown-up decisions. I make better choices when I am of a sound and fresh mind. It’s also a scientific fact that smiling helps release natural endorphins which help promote a positive mood. Sometimes it sounds like a great idea
5) Talk to someone: I am not insinuating that you, or I, need any type of professional help; however, it does not hurt to run your thoughts across a trusted friend or family member. Sometimes a different perspective on how to approach and/or deal with a situation can be all that’s needed to get you to the finish line with your sanity. I know that when I have one shot to make a decision, talking to a confidant helps significantly. Another idea would be to take to SM (social media). In today’s age, twitter, message boards or Facebook groups can offer insight that you may have not considered. I will occasionally read message boards on different topics and be shocked at the remarkable insight that people may have into a set of circumstances that we may share. Seeking out advice, or just having a idea board is highly recommended because the last thing you want to do is make an irrational decision or jump to any conclusion.
Being an adult comes with its fair share of responsibilities and tough decisions. Many of us are scared to make the wrong choice so we freeze and do nothing. Sometimes this may be worse than making the wrong choice. I always tell myself, “Inaction is far worse than the wrong action.” (Yes that’s my quote.) No matter who you are or what your tough choices are, someone, somewhere, has probably experienced something similar. Taking control of your mind, giving yourself helpful tools and surrounding yourself with intelligent people who can help you make those choices sometimes makes you the smartest one of all. Henry Ford once said: “I am not the smartest, but I surround myself with competent people.” In doing so we allow the experience and wisdom of others to help guide our decisions. I wish you all the best on your journey and with the tough choices we all must make. I hope that one of these ideas may be able to help you and make life’s decisions a little easier.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed our time together.
Please follow me on twitter @cjnuch0712