Cary Farrell

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

by Cary Farrell
October 16, 2018
As I was working on this article, I got a call from a new client that gave the classic plea of help with mail and that pile of stuff that accumulates on the counters.  The piles then get put into a box, bag or basket when company is coming to be dealt with later.  She has several of those boxes and she knows that later hasn’t come on its own so it is time to reach out for help.  This client’s excuse for “later” isn’t necessarily an issue of laziness or just not feeling like it. Her struggle has more to do with a lack of systems to know what to do with what is in the pile.  Many of my clients read the organizing magazines, books and articles and do their best to try to implement what they read. Some have worked really hard to implement an elaborate system that really doesn’t fit their need or make maintaining it easy for their brain type.  This is like going to the doctor for a rash and being given a topical cream without knowing what the rash is from.  The rash might go away for awhile but if you don’t figure out what is causing the rash, it will just keep coming back. 
So what is causing the rash?  For most of my clients it is the lack of confidence in making decisions.  Every piece of paper and every little item requires a decision and it is an exhausting process.  While putting the pile in a box to deal with later seems like the easiest decision, it just puts off the inevitable and turns a small decision into a literal mountain of decisions! 
Because important papers get mixed in the piles you can’t just throw the pile out! defines decision as: the act of or need for making up one's mind.  That is easy for some personalities and excruciatingly painful for others.  
Is there hope?  Yes there is!  There is no magic cream to remove the rash and decision making will never be your favorite thing to do but there are ways to attack the root cause of the rash and bring the list of decisions down to a reasonable amount.  
Instead of looking at the piles on the counter and asking yourself what to do with them, take a little bit of time to think through who you are and what your needs are.  Here are two examples to get you started:
  • Collecting coupons and recipes.  Be honest with yourself.  If you don’t really cook a lot or eat at home much, don’t waste your time collecting coupons.  And you can always google a recipe.
  • Mail that solicits your time, money and attention.  Every cause is worthy but most of us don’t have unlimited resources to support them.  Choose what you want to give to and decide in advance to throw the other options out without giving them your attention.  If your finances change and you want to add another cause to your list, seek out what you want to give to instead of being pressured by what comes in the mail.
The root problem is the fact that you don’t like making decisions.  Be nice to yourself, admit it and choose to make less decisions.  Life is full of decisions so don’t waste any of your precious decision making strength on stuff that really isn’t important to who you are.  Limit your options and enjoy living stress free.  Know what is vital to your life and choose to use your decision making energy on that.