How To WIN TIME and Avoid Procrastination by Keeping Small Decisions SMALL

How To Keep Small Decisions Small

Are you like me – do you agonize over the stupidest, tiniest decision even if you know you shouldn’t be?

Do you spend far too much time staring at supermarket aisles, wondering what to pick?

Well, I have just the thing for you…

Here’s a clever system to help you make all these small decisions quickly.

At Life’s Too Good, we love systems. They’re often simple and they make life a whole lot easier.

When it comes to making small decisions, the system couldn’t be simpler.

5 steps:

S    Small decision?
M   Minimize time, options, external opinions
A    Automate your small decisions whenever possible
L    Let others make small decisions for you whenever possible
L    Lie back and enjoy without worrying about it any longer

See how it cleverly spells SMALL too… so no excuse not to remember it!

S – Is This A Small Decision?

You’ll know if it’s a small decision if

  • it doesn’t matter if you get it wrong
  • it can easily be reversed

– Buying this packet of cereals or that one?
– Which restaurant to go to?
– What to choose on the menu?
– Which film to watch?
– Shall I wear the blue dress or the pink skirt?
– With which shoes!

These could all be classed as small decisions.

Of course, it’s all relative.

For instance, I like to pick cereals without too much salt and sugar because I consider the long term consequence on my family’s health. So it takes me time to go through the ingredients lists and compare the different options. But I accept the time it takes because it matters to me. However, I don’t spend too much time on it either. I take my time the first time I choose a new brand and then repeat the purchase mindlessly until I fancy a change.

At the end of the day, we’re all faced with a multitude of small decisions and we have to recognize them as such. Choosing a packet of cereals does not have the same consequences as choosing a job, where to buy a house, getting married or not, having another child or not.

If you can easily live with the consequences of getting a decision wrong or if the decision can easily be reversed (you can return the pink skirt because it doesn’t look that good after all), then it’s a small decision.

M – Minimize Time, Options, External Opinions

If a decision is small, no need to sweat over it.

But that’s more easily said than done.

As consumers, we’ve got far more choice than we’ve ever had.

You’d think a larger choice would make it easier…

No, it just makes it more overwhelming and time consuming. Too much choice and you might not choose at all!
Who needs 91 different shampoos to choose from, 93 toothpastes?
Some choice is good but, as the Economist reports, too much choice can become a tyranny. To prove the point, the Economist adds that when Head & Shoulders reduced their range by almost half… their sales increased by 10%.

Too much choice leads to confusion and a confused mind always says No.

The solution to too much choice: set limits!

  • Decide when you need the decision made by or set a maximum amount of time to make up your mind (and stick to it).
  • Restrict your options (shop in smaller shops which carry smaller ranges, for more expensive items shop around from 3 shops only for instance, only a certain colour, or a certain brand).
  • If you have to ask other people’s opinion to help you choose, only ask a maximum of 3 people.

too much choice can be a tyranny

A – Automate Your Small Decisions Whenever Possible

Ever heard of Flipism?

That’s using a coin or a dice to make your decisions for you.
Sounds a bit extreme… undoubtedly if you follow it to the letter!
But you don’t have to. Use flipism wisely for small decisions where you REALLY don’t mind one way or the other.
Flipism can also help in a different way. As you throw the coin, you might just realise which option you really want deep down.

Another way to automate your decisions is to always say Yes!
That’s a sure way to open up possibilities and create more luck. Once again, not applicable every time.

Here’s a little clip of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory when he tries to free his mind from mindless decisions using flipism… and fails because he’s far too systematic about it 🙂

L – Let Others Make Small Decisions For You Whenever Possible

Stuck choosing what to eat from the menu? Ask the waiter to pick for you.

If you truly don’t mind the outcome, why not let somebody else do the thinking for you?

And if you mind the outcome … well, should you really?

If it’s truly a small decision, let yourself be surprised, why not?!

Try it, you’ll see, it’s liberating and you might even discover new things you would never have tried otherwise.

L – Lie Back and Enjoy Without Worrying About It Any Longer

Remember small decisions should remain just that: small.

Small decisions should take little of your thoughts. They should be quick to make and not waste your time.

Most importantly, you shouldn’t worry about them afterwards, not even for a second.

Forget about them and enjoy the moment because it doesn’t matter if you get it wrong anyway.


How To WIN TIME and Avoid Procrastination by Keeping Small Decisions SMALL — 2 Comments

  1. Minimising options is the thing I tend to find difficult. I love open ended speculating, which can often be a good and useful thing but every so often the habit strays into areas where it’s not useful and I find myself spending far too much time thinking over something that doesn’t warrant it. And so I couldn’t agree more with the point about making things automated whenever possible. I think this has probably been the thing that’s helped me the most when it comes to procrastinating. Automatic or predetermined choices take all the energy and worry out of it and makes things simple.

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