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4 Simple Methods for Quicker Decision-Making for Procrastinators and the Indecisive

4 Simple Methods for Quicker Decision-Making for Procrastinators and the Indecisive

Life is full of choice, and whilst it is understandable that we fret over life’s major pathways—Should I go to university? Should I change career sector this late on? When should we start a family?—we are also now fretting over the smaller things in life. Why? Well, simply because we have so many options available to us. The humble weekly grocery shop has turned into an epic adventure, with dozens of brands on offer for every item. On average, we make thousands of decisions a day.

When options are overwhelming though, you can’t help but feel pressured into making the right choice. No wonder then that deciding what to wear today, whether to have another biscuit, or what to cook for the family occasion is bringing us out in a cold sweat! If this relates to you, then it is time to regain control and start making snappier decisions.

So, what are the benefits of making quicker decisions more simply? Firstly, you will stop wasting time on the choices that aren’t so important or critical, and secondly, the more you practice making quick decisions, the better you’ll become (and hopefully therefore more comfortable when making the large decisions).

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Stop sweating it when it comes to making small decisions. Here are four simple tricks you could employ to help blinker the options and make life that little bit simpler.

1. Stick to what you know

I am normally one for branching out and am a big believer that we need to push our comfort zones and try new experiences. However, there is a time and place for that, especially if you’re having a mental burn out making small decisions that are unimportant but have tens of options.

For example, when it comes to options that revolve around non-important choices, such as what coffee to drink or what brand of makeup to buy, then it’s OK to stick with what you know. For the everyday choices, I find that I tend to stick to what I know and am familiar with—I listen to the same radio station each morning, stick to the same brand of hair colorant, buy the same brand of washing detergent, etc.

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2. Choose from a short list of three

Looking at my friends and family and close acquaintances, I would say that most people are indecisive. I think. Or perhaps they aren’t. Oh, I am not so sure now.

When we struggle to make decisions such as what to have for dinner or what to wear to that party at the weekend, how do we possibly make decisions such as what to call our kids or whether we should relocate for work?

When it comes to the smaller decisions and the ones that don’t really matter, quickly narrow your options down to three, then choose one from those short listed. This also works well if you and your partner or friend are being as indecisive as each other over trivial matters, such as where to eat out or what film to watch. It also can be done jointly, so one of you chooses the short list of three and then the other chooses the final option. Quick and simple.

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3. Limit decision-making time

Most indecisive folk will know that they are indecisive, so before you even think about making a decision, set a time limit on it. For example, you have to choose what to buy your mum for her 60th birthday. While this is an important decision (although get it wrong and you’ll feel the smugness of your siblings because their present was better), it isn’t a huge, irreversible decision (just make sure you keep the receipt). Set yourself a time limit, say an hour, to decide what to get her and don’t go over it.

This tactic can also work on larger, more critical decisions too, such as where to get married or what stocks to invest in, in order to help you stop procrastinating and help you to narrow down your options. Set yourself a time limit that is reasonable, say 24 hours or even a week.

4. Go with what you know will be best for you

If you are really struggling to make a decision, let alone the right one, then perhaps it is best not to just narrow down your options, but instead think about which option will be the best outcome for you.

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For example, let’s take the classic situation of being unsure what to eat at a restaurant. Ever been that indecisive friend who is holding up the ordering process because every time it comes round to your turn, you politely tell the waiter to “Come back to me at the end, I am still deciding”? Then you proceed to ask everyone else what they are eating in the hope that you can poach an idea. Well, if this is you, then maybe your best tactic is going for what is best for you, i.e., not the double cheeseburger with extra cheese and bacon with an extra side of fries, but instead the grilled chicken salad.

And this tactic can even be stretched to making more involved decisions, such as which car to buy. Yes, the gas guzzling, bright red, convertible, two-seater sports car may be in the running of options, but when you have a family is it going to be the best option? Think, “Which option is the best outcome for me?” Rather than just, “What do I want?”

Go on, flex that decision-making muscle!

Featured photo credit: openclips via pixabay.com

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Alice Dartnell

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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