I probably shouldn’t state this so matter-of-factly, but I’m a procrastinator. An old English teacher I had used to remind us to flip the perception. Take the things that would be considered bad or negative and flip it into something positive. You’re not a procrastinator, you’re great with deadlines. I’m sticking with that. I’m fantastic with deadlines. Deadlines have nothing on me (as long as I’m not the one setting the deadline. I evidently have no problem disappointing myself).
In my brain, I have a ballpark of the time that a task or something else will take. I consider the deadline and plan out when would be the best time to do that task or project or whatever it is. Why rush when you have time? As far as deadlines are concerned, I am usually ahead of them. I’ll hold off on something that I have a month or so to do, but I’ll get it done a day or two in advance.
When it comes to decisions though, I’ll procrastinate that choice until the absolute last minute. If there is no like set deadline, like an RSVP, I’ll just wait until I’m like “fine, I’ll make the decision.”
A few months ago, I heard about decision fatigue and I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes. Seriously? It isn’t that hard to make a decision. You just make it. Then all the decisions that we make in a day were laid out for me in a pretty list that was extensive. It made me realize that we’re making decisions without really realizing it. Right or left, this exit or the next, that shirt or the pink one, etc. These small decisions really add up over the course of 24 hours. While I was still slightly skeptical about whether or not decision fatigue was real, I did start looking at the decisions I make in a day and what comes across my mind. I started paying attention to my thoughts.
You. Guys. I found something I was a HUGE procrastinator with. Decisions! Oh my lanta, it is bad. Here is my process: something pops up, it becomes a race on how many ways I can stress about it, stressing about it in each way as the thought occurs, I tell myself to calm down and breathe, I decide that I don’t have to act right away, I can process this information or whatever the something is, I can decide later, Later comes around and I find new ways to stress about it and I talk circles around my husband about all the options, I lay out all the options and the next five potential steps for each option, my husband tells me to calm down and breathe because I’m working myself up again, I decide to make the decision later, later comes around and I don’t want to make the decision because it’s too hard, I need to do more research, I need to do something, I need to think more.
What I really need to be doing is making the dang decision and moving on. I get so caught up in the thought of potentially making the wrong choice or the fear of not having enough information. How can I make a correct and logical decision if I don’t have all the information? How can I get all the information without stressing about it and mapping out the options? How do I get all the options if I don’t even stress about it or really think about it? You guys, I’ve gotten really good at this procrastinating thing.
It’s a control thing. I’m constantly working on the desire to control situations. There are a lot of areas in my life where I’m 110% aware that I have zero control and I’m okay with just allowing things to happen and figuring it out then. There has been a lot of growth for me in the past 6 years, I used to micromanage everything. It was bad. Still, even now, there are something things I stress about because I want to control things and I don’t want to make the wrong choice (which I’m realizing, is not something I can control). I can try my hardest to not make a mistake, but sometimes that happens too. I’m human.
I’m discovering that my procrastination of making decisions is another form of control and perfectionism. I can get all the information I want. I can stress all I want but even that won’t stop me from making a wrong decision. Most of the time a decision isn’t right or wrong, it is different paths. Sometimes there are wrong choices, like on the Prices is Right, you can choose the wrong door in that one game and win nothing. You won’t know though, until they open the door.
That is the thing with decisions. I won’t know if it is wrong until after I make the decision. I cannot tell how everything will play out exactly until I make the decision and see what happens next. Procrastinating my decision making will only give me an ulcer. It won’t change the odds that I choose wrong. Although, wrong is subjective. There are some things that are black and white, like murder, that is definitely a wrong choice. Things like that are black and white, like laws, either you can do this or you cannot. However, choices like college, moving, changing jobs, there really isn’t a right or a wrong and you have no way of knowing the outcome until you make the choice and take the next step.
The beautiful thing is that you can change course when you realize that it might have not been the best choice. Life works in a lot of uncertainties and it is so easy to get caught up in trying to make the perfect choice. It is so easy for me. I’ll spend a month on something as simple as deciding on whether or not I need an office/working space.
I’ve learned that when it comes to decisions, you just need to do it. Decide and then do it. Don’t decide and then think about it for another week (I’m talking to myself here. This is what I do.) You won’t know anything until you take the next step and being frozen never helped anybody.