October 12: Too Many Choices!

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

One step I’ve taken to simplify my life is to limit my choices whenever possible.   At night, I lay out my work outfit (clothes, shoes and jewelry) so that I don’t dig through my closet in the mornings.  Although I like stocking up during sales, for certain household goods and groceries, I try to stick to favorite brands or just go generic.  I try to keep my to-do list short and sweet (or at least put the top 3 priority to-do items at top).

Alas, life is not so simple.  I wrestle over many shopping-related choices (see post about buying a planner) and spend way too much time trying to pick the perfect lipstick.

That’s why it was rather eye-opening to read an  article about choice in  Oprah magazine.  I’ve known for years that we’re bombarded with choices in life, from major life decisions to your choice of cereal.  While the article was about making better choices, these same tips could also lead to a simpler life.  I thought I’d share a few of their best tips since I don’t have the link to the original article.

1 ) Identify your goal: Many people make bad decisions because they don’t really know what they want.  For example, a person hates his/her jobs and quits without knowing if 1) hate their field/work itself, 2) hate aspects of their job or 3) hate their bosses/coworkers.   If it’s #1, the person should change careers.  If it’s #2, he/she should stay in their job but work on delegating tasks or taking on more interesting projects.  If it’s #3, he/she should change jobs but stay in the same field.  As you can see, knowing the real reason is crucial for making a good decision.

2) Eliminate Choices: The Oprah article cited cameras as an example. Pick a few features you really want and then ignore the rest. This is a good tip when you buy anything from cars to clothes.  Identify what is really important to you and don’t focus on qualities that don’t matter as much.

3) Don’t worry about finding the best: Some people get into decision paralysis because they want to make sure they bought the best. Sometimes good enough is good enough.  One time I purchased airplane tickets at a very good price.  However, even after making this non-refundable purchase, I continued checking travel sites for plane tickets just in case I saw a better deal, (which I didn’t and couldn’t do anything about anyway).  Luckily I didn’t do this for long before realizing how silly this was!  However, I have to be more conscious of this tendency and be happy with my choices and move on…

4) Don’t sweat the small stuff.  They advise making rules for yourself that you don’t question. Decide on a certain brand of toilet paper and don’t mull over the other choices.  I really need to follow this since I spend too much time looking for good deals and then often end up just  buying from Amazon, Walmart or Target anyway.

Do you think your life would be simpler if you had fewer choices? 

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2 responses to “October 12: Too Many Choices!

  1. Yes. Choice paralyses me. As for prices…it’s like we can’t help ourselves! The grass is always greener. I often do the same with looking at house listings even just after we’ve moved…as if we’d want to do it again.

  2. Pingback: November 23: Follow Your Own Advice? | Oilandgarlic's Blog

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