Every day we must make decisions both small and large concerning various aspects of our lives. Considering the level importance along with potential repercussions of these choices, it’s not uncommon to feel a certain amount of apprehension about them-which can in turn lead to procrastination. We all want to keep away from painful emotions and experiences and move toward positive ones that make us feel good, and it’s innate human disposition that forms the root of indecision regarding important choices that we may face.
Let’s take a look at some ways to counter this anxiety:
- What are the short and long term effects? Consider what changes this decision will bring to your life in the near and distant future. What exactly will you gain/lose? Will you be better taking a short term gain, then losing something long term? It may help to make a list of pros and cons for each to visualize these items.
- What are all of your options? Have a clear understanding of the various ways (if any) to solve a problem. Are there other alternatives that you haven’t considered? What are they?
- Are their risks? Often times, creating a list of potential risks (cons) of making certain choices can be helpful, especially when potential pitfalls cannot be determined immediately.
- What’s your first inclination? – We’ve all heard the phrase, “trust your gut”, which can be a great way to gauge our initial assessment of a decision. However, we can’t always let these initial inclinations be our go-to advisers for complex decisions. Take a moment to think about why you’re leaning towards a certain decision, as sometimes taking the “road less traveled” can be right the direction for the journey.
- Will this affect other people? We are social creatures, and the prospect of impacting the work or live of others when making a decision is an important consideration to ponder, after all, who wants to become “persona non-grata”?
- Am I placing too much emphasis on this? Over-analyzing and over-qualifying decisions can be the biggest cause of procrastination. Car and home purchases, changing jobs, deciding to get married-big decisions. Debating when to shovel the snow from the driveway-not so bad. Be sure to place things in their proper context and save the big mental tasks for deserving choices.
Breaking big decisions down into more easily evaluate chunks. Sometimes, consulting with a friend or colleague who’s faced the same decision can make the decision-making process a bit easier for you.