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The One To Zen Organizing Blog

Breathe in Calm, Breathe out Clutter

  • Writer's pictureJill Katz

The Art of Making a Decision, What they Never Told You About Decisions & Clutter - Part II


Continuing Where We Left Off


In my last blog post, I explained how clutter is the result of unmade decisions. I then provided 4 tips for making decisions. Here are 5 more truths about decision-making to help guide you.


1. Often there is no wrong decision


While we often obsess about decisions, many of them have no "wrong" choice. Chocolate, vanilla, mint chocolate chip--all great ice cream flavors. You can’t go wrong--you just need to choose! Which leads me to my next tip about decision-making...


2. Most decisions are low-stakes


It's not the end of the world

Most decisions are not life changing. To determine if your decision is low stakes ask yourself: If I make a mistake are there major repercussions? If the answer is “No” then your decision is low stakes. If so, don’t invest too much time in making the decision.


For example, you may ask yourself: Should I donate this $20 alarm clock that I haven’t used in 5 years--what if I need it? Donating it is low stakes. Worst case scenario, you can buy another one.




3. Set parameters for making decisions


When it comes to purchasing, today’s market brings endless possibilities. You can easily get sucked into a rabbit hole of online information. So before you even begin researching, determine the parameters you will use to choose your purchase. Will you find 2, 3 or 4 possibilities? What are the primary factors -- price, a particular must-have function, ratings? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you choose vacuum cleaner A, B, or C. They all have decent ratings, clean the floor and won’t break the bank. So set your parameters, just choose one, and move on already!


4. Set a time limit for making decisions



Time is such an important parameter that I felt it warranted its own special tip. If you don’t set a time parameter, you could end up researching a decision forever. So before you start researching your next vacation spot, make sure to set a time parameter. Will you be making a decision by the end of day, week or month? Set a time limit, stick to it, and make a decision with the information you have.




5. Use chunking to break down larger decisions


Cut those decisions into bite-size slices

Are you redoing your kitchen? Congrats--that’s so exciting! But it’s also very daunting with tons of decisions involved. Use chunking to break down your decisions. Create a spreadsheet (organizers love a good spreadsheet) listing each decision to be made, such as choosing a contractor, deciding on a layout, purchasing countertops, lighting, etc. Then create a time frame for each decision. Now you can confidently attack each one.




Practice Makes Perfect


So embrace your power and go out there and make some decisions! You’ll be amazed at how much lighter you feel.


9 Comments


lucy
Aug 11, 2021

I enjoyed the idea of setting limits on how long you decide about something. So often the fear of making the wrong decision has my clients paralyzed and even if they aren't able to make a decision before the timer rings, they still won't benefit from going over and over the decision endlessly. Pausing when the timer goes off and then coming back to a decision next day gives the mind's back burner time to consider the decision too. Without the urgency of having to decide NOW, an answer will sometimes be immediately apparent when you come back to a question after some time away.

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Basic Organization
Basic Organization
Aug 10, 2021

I love these 5 truths, but think that #1 & 2 are great! If you identify the low-stake decisions and realize that any decision won't lead to disaster it a little easier to move forward.

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Aug 10, 2021
Replying to

You are right on the mark! Once you remove the anxiety, the decision paralysis will lift and you can make a choice and move on.

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organize
Aug 09, 2021

I love how you cut to the chase on all of these problems that weigh down our decision-making. I'm good at small decisions, even most decisions, but if it involves spending money, I'll put off deciding (insisting I'm still researching) until the cows come home. Tips 1 and 4 really resonate with me, and I wish I had someone telling me this (with verve!) when I spent a long, LONG time deciding to buy my car.

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Aug 10, 2021
Replying to

I think most people get tripped up somewhere in the decision making process. For example, others have the flip side of your problem. They have impulsivity and make a decision without taking the proper amount of time to consider their parameters. Awareness is the key to success!

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dnqsolutions
Aug 09, 2021

I love your comment that decision making is not life-threatening. It can be life-altering, though. I made a quick decision when purchasing kitchen appliances about 4 years ago. I went with a bigger range because it had soo many bells and whistles and a refrigerator that didn't really work well in the space. Some of the poor decision making was my own boredom with the process. I dislike shopping so a quick decision ended the process. Some of it was the kitchen designer - she could have asked me to rethink the refrigerator and tell my the reason why. I love the suggestions you give in this post.

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Aug 10, 2021
Replying to

Good point! There are certainly decisions that are life-altering BUT the majority of them are not. The best we can do is set time and other parameters and move forward with a decision and learn from it.

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Linda Samuels
Linda Samuels
Aug 09, 2021

Decision-making can be daunting. I remember when I first started organizing, I met a client who got so overwhelmed with choosing that three pieces of paper on his desk, or ten shirts in his closet because paralyzing. I love all of the suggestions you made for helping with this process. And love the first "no wrong decision" example with the ice cream. Why? Because I LOVE ice cream. But seriously, not all choices have life altering ramifications, and that's great to keep in mind.

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Aug 10, 2021
Replying to

I love ice cream too! On occasion, I will choose a crazy flavor and take a risk but most times I will choose a flavor that's tried and true.

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