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The Surefire Way to Make Up Your Mind When You Have No Idea What You Really Want

The Surefire Way to Make Up Your Mind When You Have No Idea What You Really Want


    You’ve weighed all the pros and cons. You’ve made checklists and consulted with your closest friends and talked out all the outcomes so many times that you (and everyone around you) are sick of thinking about it.

    But you still have absolutely no idea what to do. Choice A and Choice B continue to taunt you, each one pulling at you but neither one pulling enough to help you finally take that deep breath and pick one already.

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    At times like this it may seem that you’re stuck closing your eyes and pointing, hoping that whichever option you randomly pick winds up being the right one. And you’re not entirely wrong about that. Because there is a no-fail way to make the right decision every time, even when you’re positive you have no idea what you really want.

    It’s a bit of an abracadabra mind trick, so I want you to stick with me on this, even though it may seem a little silly at first. Here’s what I want you to do:

    Flip a Coin.

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    Seriously.

    Whenever you’re faced with two choices you seem absolutely paralyzed to decide between, give this little trick a try:

    1. Find a coin.
    2. Designate one side “Choice A” and the other “Choice B.”
    3. Flip the coin.
    4. Place your hand over the result.
    5. Stop right there.

    I don’t want you to actually look at the result. I want you instead to recall (without pausing to give yourself a second to overthink it) which result you just secretly hoped would be revealed.

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    Because there was one. The instant that coin flipped and you slapped your hand over it, somewhere, deep down below all your analyzing and debating, you instinctively wished that one of those two choices would come out on top.

    You just needed to stop thinking about it long enough to know your true desire.

    Why This Trick Works

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    Weighing pros and cons objectively isn’t a bad thing. It can be necessary to make sure you make the right choice for the long run rather than letting your emotions run away with you. But when you’ve done all that weighing, and both choices still seem equally favorable, then it’s time to rely on a little old-fashioned resource known as your gut.

    It’s easy to get stuck in analysis paralysis—to dissect an issue from so many angles and consider so many arguments you lose all sight of the key question in any decision-making process: What do you really want to do? What will make you happiest? If Choices A and B both seem objectively “good” for you, then that’s ultimately what it comes down to.

    You just need to step outside of your own head for a second to realize which choice is the answer.

    (Photo credit: Closeup of a Businessman Having No Idea via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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