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Just Decide, It’s Easier

May 26, 2012

Have you ever spent hours, or worse, days, agonizing over a tough decision? What a waste of time and energy! Here’s a little trick to break the internal gridlock: just decide! The trick behind the trick is to give yourself permission beforehand to change your mind. If you are stuck on a decision today, just make it, one way or another, and see how that feels. Twenty four hours or so later, check again and see how you feel about having made that decision. As long as you haven’t taken any irreversible actions based on your decision (and if you make the decision right away, “when it shows up instead of when it blows up” in GTD parlance, you should have plenty of time to let the decision incubate), you can change your mind. You can use this trick to get your time to make any decision, no matter how heavy, down to 24 hours or less, and ultimately the process can become instantaneous. Once you overcome your resistance to changing your own mind, the process becomes effortless.

And for the contrarians who want to object that giving yourself permission to change your mind will make you wishy-washy, I say that using this trick actually makes your decisions more stable, the same way a bean bag is harder to knock over than a pole.

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