There’s a quote I read recently that really rang through to me.
And it’s an OLD one:
More is lost by indecision than wrong decision.” – Marcus Cicero
I love old quotes that still resonate because they tell me it’s sort of an eternal truth that has stood the ages.
OR, a problem that humans have had for a long time.
But sometimes, we have to learn lessons over and over again.
(or maybe that’s just me!)
But why do I love this quote in particular?
Because it speaks to a central issue that most people I work with struggle with to greater or lesser degrees:
When I’ve polled you in the past, procrastination comes up, again and again, as a top struggle.
And it’s not just because it’s so dang stressful at the end, as you approach the deadline.
It’s also because sometimes you miss.
You procrastinate too long.
And now, no matter what you do, you can’t make it right; you can’t go back in time to do what needed doing, when it needed doing it.
You’re sitting at your computer, at the start of the workday, or maybe mid-day, or maybe literally every time you finish a task, and you say to yourself:
“What should I do next?”
And now, a bunch of stuff is happening, none of it good:
- You’re losing time to indecision, as the quote says.
- You’re losing time to transitions
- You’re opening yourself up to distractions (which steal your time)
- You’re feeling flustered and perhaps lacking in direction
- You’re contributing to decision fatigue (meaning you’ll likely make worse decisions as you ask yourself this same question many more times today.
And then it’s the end of the workday (or rather, when you wanted the workday to end), but you realize you have no idea where the time went, and you’re looking at a to-do list that looks very much the same as it did this morning.
Perhaps even longer.
But, but, but, what if you make the wrong decision about what to work on?
You might. That’s true.
But here’s the thing: We often forget that deciding NOTHING is also a decision.
It’s a decision that keeps us in a holding pattern, right where we are, and it often keeps us stuck.
Don’t believe me?
Let’s take a somewhat extreme example to prove the point.
Let’s say you’re in a bad job, a truly toxic environment. Every day you come home miserable. Every day you wake up wondering if you can make it through yet another work day.
You have 2 decisions available: To stay or to quit.
You don’t think of staying as a decision, because it’s just maintaining the status quo.
But staying is a decision, a decision that will lead to more of the same toxicity.
If you quit, well, you might also find that your new job is toxic.
BUT, you could also find that it’s not. (And in fact, now you know what to look out for to help you avoid such situations in the future!)
If you stay, you KNOW what you’re getting, and it’s toxic.
You stand to lose more by staying.
Or, said differently, losing is a sure thing if you stay.
So now, let’s take a less dramatic example: Your work day.
The more you rest in indecision, because you have too many competing priorities, the less you get done and the more stressed you feel.
You might indeed make the “wrong” decision on what to work on.
That’s a possibility.
But it’s also a possibility (and probably, a likelihood) that you won’t.
(Because you’re a smart cookie!)
And the faster you get started on SOMETHING, the higher the likelihood you’ll get what you need to get done, done.
So, what can you do to stay out of that indecision trap, and make a decision to move you forward?:
- Make a realistic plan
- Before you leave work today, make a plan for tomorrow.
- Don’t leave it up to chance.
- Will your plan go off without a hitch? Probably not.
- Will you have a much better idea of where you can pivot after you’ve planned? Absolutely!
- Time block
If time blocking seems too onerous:
- Then simply arrange your tasks in the order in which you’ll tackle them. (Must-do’s at the top.)
This way, you’ll never find yourself stuck in that place if indecision, of analysis paralysis, asking yourself “what should I do next”?.
Instead, you’ll just do it.
Now, let me ask you another question:
Do you want to take control of your time? To do more, and to stress less? (Ok, that was 2 questions!)
Well, my results-getting program, Time Well Spent, is enrolling RIGHT NOW. (But not for long!)
And you might be stuck on the fence, wondering if this is the right next step for you.
Is it the perfect program for you?
Will it work for you?
But, while I’m not a psychic, I’m pretty sure I can guess what’ll happen if you remain in indecision.
You’ll be in the same place in 6 months as you are right now.
Stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, and wondering what to do about it.
But if you make a decision, you could be like Jill, who enrolled in Time Well Spent in the last cohort.
And Jill, well, instead of being behind, at the end of the 10-week program she was 2 MONTHS AHEAD of schedule of her major projects at work and without working more hours or all that stress.
Here’s what Jill had to say:
“I’m so glad I signed up for this program! It has revolutionized the way that I do my daily work, and I feel like I have a plan each day. By implementing the skills that I learned from Alexis, I’m two months ahead of schedule on two major projects. Although it’s a group program, Alexis spent time addressing each one of our questions, so we were getting individualized support. I highly recommend this course to anyone who is looking for practical ways to organize not only your professional work but also your personal life.”
So, you can procrastinate the decision. And stay stuck.
Or you can be like Jill.