Welcome to the new home of Thought Provoking Thursday!
Last week, for Thought Provoking Thursday, I wrote a fairly simple post, titled ‘A Dirty Little Secret About Choices.’ Barely over 100 words, it visually illustrated the point that while having choices, options, and variety are good, if you have too many, it can paralyze you, making it difficult to make a decision.
Conversation, Comments, & Community
I promised to share my strategy for dealing with an overwhelming amount of choices, and I will in a moment. First, however, I want to comment on the awesome response to last week’s post. What I loved about last week’s post was while I was headed in one direction, the comments went in a whole other direction. A very thought provoking direction, I might add. It was such a beautiful sight to watch that conversation grow and flourish in the comment section. So much so, in fact, that I’m going to need to run another post just from the comments from last week. 🙂 One of the things I love best about blogging is that conversation and back and forth that happens after a post. I learn just as much, or more, from my readers as I do from writing. I’m blessed by you, and I thank each of you for leaving a comment and being part of the community.
So, how to deal with too many choices?
It’s simple. Reduce the number of choices you have. I first learned this lesson from the parenting program Love & Logic. Love and Logic is all about giving kids choices, but you give a limited amount of options, so the kid isn’t overwhelmed. Two or three options is plenty. (Parents make sure all the options are ones they approve, so no matter what the child answers, it’s all good.)
For example, in my house at the moment, we have available to drink: Orange juice, water, tea, coffee, milk, soda (2 kinds), apple juice, chocolate milk, lemonade or limeade. Can you see where that’s a little overwhelming? As a Love and Logic mom, I only offer 2 or 3 of those choices at a given time, and the bonus is I get to steer them toward the healthier options. ‘Would you like orange juice, white milk, or water?’
See? Much easier to choose, right?
I’ve learned that the same concept applies to choices I make for myself.
On Instagram, there are 18 different filters I can choose to adjust how my photo looks before I post it. Add to that a choice of frames and tilt shift, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed trying to decide what to use for each photo. Simplify the decision making process by limiting choices. I went to Instagram, and spent some time figuring out which two or three filters were my favorite. Now, when I post a photo, I choose from those three filters only. I skip the frames, and I only apply tilt shift if I’m trying to draw attention to something in the photo. Suddenly, I’m not paralyzed to make a decision, because the amount of choices is manageable, not overwhelming. Suddenly, I can post a photo in just a few seconds, rather than taking several minutes to go through all my options. I’m limiting my choices, but I’m not missing out on anything, because I am only choosing from my favorites.
I did a similar thing here on this blog. I was spending a ridiculous amount of time formatting posts. Not writing them. That part was easy. Just formatting. Bold or not bold? Heading 1 or 3? Heading 2 or Heading 4 in bold? Change the font color? Italics? Ugh. The choices were overwhelming, and I wasn’t getting posts up because it took 3 hours to sort through the choices. So I stopped. I picked my 2 favorite headings/fonts, and 2 colors. And that’s it. Now, it’s easy to format posts, because I’m only choosing from my favorite options.
Reduce The Number of Choices
You can apply this strategy anywhere you need to make the same choices frequently, and where the number of options are overwhelming. Buying shampoo? Pick your 2 or 3 favorites, and ignore the rest. Plants and flowers for your garden… Magazines to read… Even toilet paper… 😉
Where can you limit choices to make life easier for yourself?
Something to think about….