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3 Things to Keep in Mind When Making Decisions

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Making Decisions

We are all faced with decisions to make at various times in our lives. From small ones with few consequences to huge, life-changing ones, here are three things I have learned about making good decisions.

Making No Decision is Still a Decision

Sometimes, we can feel particularly paralyzed about making a decision, and can end up postponing and procrastinating on it until it is “made for us.” This is a terrible cop-out; even when you choose not to make a decision, you are making it anyway. Leaving something to fate is not as random as you think — and stepping back from the act of deciding makes you feel out of control, passive, and disempowered. You might even avoid a decision so you can play the victim later, a role that is never proactive or helpful for your personal growth.

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So, when you feel like procrastinating on a decision, stop and think about why you are tempted to do that. Remind yourself that choosing to make no decision is, in fact, the worst decision of all. Whatever other choice you make, it will be better than making none at all.

The Pro and Con Game

One of the simplest decision-making methods is to make a list of pros and cons. Although the method seems obvious and can sometimes help you make a decision, you can also use this process to learn more about yourself and your true motivations.

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As you write the pros and cons, ask yourself how you feel. Do you already feel like you are leaning in one direction or another? Is one part of you trying to convince another part of you what to do? Do you feel yourself “stacking the deck” in one direction or another? Are you trying to con yourself? Why do you think you might be doing that? Are you trying to avoid one particular course of action because of a fear? Would it actually be better to face that fear, take the bold steps, and be courageous?

Often when we feel most paralyzed about a decision, that is when we are faced with the greatest opportunity to face our fears. It is scary, so no wonder you feel paralyzed, but to overcome this fear will change who you are… and will change your life. Tap into your subconscious to gain access to personal, perfect insight.

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DIY Decisions

Often, we like to help each other make decisions — offer our point of view, seek others’ perspectives, and bounce ideas around. We might even feel like we must get others’ input, which is fine for minor choices. For important life decisions, it is very important to make up your own mind with minimal, selective help from others.

My husband recently faced a major career change, and the decision to act on the opportunity that presented itself was a hard one. I listened and offered a few alternative points of view, but stopped myself before I became too influential. It was his decision to make, and although my life would change greatly based on that decision, if I persuaded him to go one way or another, I knew I would be interfering. I also realized that if the career didn’t turn out to be as great as he thought, he might be tempted to blame me for pushing him into it. It wasn’t easy staying out of it, so to speak, and I had to bite my tongue many times when I wanted to ask if he had sent in his application yet. In my heart, I knew it was a great career for him, but he needed to make the decision and take action on his own initiative.

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Very few people operate in life with no agenda. When you ask people to help you make a decision, they might not be able to leave their own agenda behind. They might even have the best intentions, but be unable or unaware that they are influencing you inappropriately. You cannot abdicate your responsibility for the decisions you make — for your life — to someone else. Use whatever decision-making tools you like, but be careful not to let too many people weigh in on your decision.

Featured photo credit:  Head to head – knights on a chess board via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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