I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to do next – What should be the next project I tackle? How should I spend my morning? What should I do this weekend? are some of the types of questions that cycle through my head.
Trying to make these decisions turns into some sort of math equation (I know I’m weird) where I’m trying to optimize for the best use of my time. What usually ends up happening is a lot of time is spent figuring out what to do next and not a lot of time is actually spent doing.
Sometimes, if I don’t come to a decision then subconsciously I default to – checking email, Facebook, watching TV, or doing whatever my friends are doing.
Why is it so hard to come to a decision? –
– There are a million ways to spend time – the Paradox of Choice
– The inner struggle between what I think I should be doing vs. what I want to do – (Should I spend time focusing on my career or spend time learning a new language?)
All of this boils down to one thing FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out
Making a decision on how to spend time means that you can’t do something else that seems equally as cool or awesome. Making a decision means that you have to live with the consequences of those decision – there is no one else to blame in case you made a “wrong” decision.
I think this is one of the bigger lessons I’ve learned since graduating from college. For the first 22 years of my life I let my parents and educational system make the most important decisions in my life, therefore, I was able to develop intense focus on whatever I tackled without having to worry about how else I should spend my time.
Since graduating, the transition to the work environment has been similar – with the exception that life after college isn’t as simple as taking an exam or graduating to the next level anymore.
We could try to structure our lives like school and defer decisions to work requirements, society, and friends/family – but I personally feel like this will produce sub optimal results.
Instead, we could become a more active participant in our own lives and ensure that we are actively making decisions on how we want to spend our time as opposed to deferring to other people and frameworks.
The easiest way to get beyond the indecisiveness and make a decision is to realize there is no such thing as a “wrong” decision. There is no rule book or point system that tells us how we are supposed to live our lives and spend our time. Sure, we can use indicators like monetary success if we would like, but that falls way short of maximizing for well being or happiness.
If things aren’t going the way you want in your life I think understanding all the small and large decisions you make on a daily basis is a good place to start. How do you decide what to do with your time –
– Is it based on what you really want to do deep down?
– Or is it because you think you are supposed to spend your time a certain way?
– Are you an active participant in most of the daily decisions you make, or are these decisions on auto-pilot due to habits, friends, or societal norms?