I often explain that decision making is the key to clutter control. But the fact is that decisions are essential to making progress on any important task or project. However, it is not always easy to make those decisions. There can be some serious, sometimes unpleasant, outcomes when we make a decision. Yet, NOT making a decision comes with consequences of its own. Three troubling consequences of not making decisions include:
1. You don’t get what you want. If you don’t make a decision – and voice it – chances are someone else will. And at that point, you tend to keep your mouth shut, having forfeited the opportunity to give an opinion. The result can be minor (that’s not the movie you preferred to see) or major (you hate the house you and your spouse just bought).
Tip: Practice your decision-making skills by stating your preferences when asked, such as where you would like to go for dinner. By building up your “opinion” muscles in smaller matters, you will be in a better position to be clear on what you want in more important situations.
2. You stay trapped by fear. No one wants to make a wrong decision, but it’s bound to happen sooner or later! The only way to overcome fear is to let it come along for the ride. While it is important to weigh the consequences of your decisions, particularly major financial or lifestyle choices, letting fear rule your decisions will keep you from growing personally and professionally.
Tip: Choose to take risks. It is better to take a risk – and learn the subsequent lessons – than to remain trapped among vague fears. Even if your fears are warranted, facing them is a better choice than backing down.
3. You waste your time. Are you spending your life “majoring in the minors?” Do you spend countless hours doing product research on the next hair dryer you intend to purchase so you get the best one? Are you continually tweaking your blog site without ever launching? If your activities aren’t making forward progress, you may simply be procrastinating, wasting your precious time because you are uncertain of your decisions.
Tip: Let “good enough” be good enough for most things. While the internet has given us access to an incredible amount of information, it is more productive to limit how much of that information we consume, especially if we are not acting on it.
We can’t always control the outcome of our decisions and sometimes they will have less desirable consequences. But remember, not making a decision IS a decision. And in the end, it is better to be proactive and make mistakes than end up a martyr on the altar of someone else’s choice.
What other troubling consequences of not making decisions are there? Share them with us in the comments!