The Stress of Indecision

When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, my natural tendency is to try getting as much off my plate as quickly as possible.  I’ll do anything to relieve the pressure, including pushing off decisions I don’t absolutely need to make today.  Call it intentional decision procrastination.

Or we could call it what it really is: a terrible idea!

Postponing a decision rarely relieves the stress of having to make the decision – it only guarantees you’ll carry the stress longer.  In deciding not to decide, I’m giving myself one more day to think it over, dwell on all the ways it could go bad, envision all of the people who could be upset and think over how much it could cost me if I make the wrong decision.  I end up wallowing in the stress I’m trying to reduce.

Yes, there are times we can’t make a decision today because we need more information.  I totally understand and agree with that point.  But I’m not concerned with those decisions because they don’t produce the same anxiety.  My mind really can punt those until I do more research, hear back from someone or see the outcome of another decision.  We arrive at some decisions slowly, through prayer and with outside counsel – great, no need to rush those.  But my guess is those aren’t the ones eating away at our joy.

I’m talking about the decisions where we already have all the information we need.  In some cases, we even know what we’re going to decide.  We’re stalling.  We don’t need more information.  We just need to decide.  For example:  When are we having dinner with that couple?  Am I going to break-up with this guy?  Do I go to my friend’s wedding?  Am I buying a new printer or not?  Should I approve that purchase at work or not?

Where are you suffering from decision procrastination?

Take some time this weekend to make a list of decisions you’ve been putting off and then…decide.  Right then, right there.  Make a decision, communicate it and be done with it.  You’ll feel a whole lot better as the stress of indecision fades.

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