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Making decisions

Household organization is not an event, it is an ongoing process. Like any part of life, organizing your house is a series of choices. Making decisions is a crucial skill for clearing the squalor out of your house. You need to make choices about what to keep and what to discard, what to do and when, how and in what order to do it! People who have a hard time making decisions often opt out altogether.

Actually, you cannot not choose. Even not choosing is a choice.

The OAR approach: Objective - Alternatives - Risk

  • O: Look at the Objective you are seeking to attain
  • A: the Alternatives you sense are available to you, and
  • R: the Risk of the alternative you are considering.

Example: You've decided you want a clean and tidy house. You are decluttering and you come across a piece of equipment you haven't used in two years. You're not sure whether or not you should give it away:

Objective : A clean and tidy house.

Alternative 1: Give it away. Risk: That you will need it sometime in the future. Then you would have to buy or borrow another, or even not be able to obtain another.

Alternative 2: Keep it. Risk: That you will not need or use it and it will continue to be clutter that stands between you and a clean home.

You cannot make progress without making decisions. Jim Rohn

What do you want?

Think how ridiculous it would be to ask a captain to steer a ship without any destination. How would he set his course?!

If you have a goal, you can judge the value of any action by comparing whether it brings you closer to, or further away from, your goal. If your goal is to have a clean house, the decision whether or not to keep 120 old National Geographics suddenly becomes a lot easier. Yes, there are reasons to keep them. But there are even more compelling reasons not to, if a clean house is your goal.

What are your choices?

Collect all the conveniently available information about the probable outcome of each course of action. Lack of information makes it harder to make a decision. However, don't over-research as a way of avoiding making the decision.

What is the worst that could happen?

Frequently when we ask ourselves the question "What is the worst that could happen?", the answer is, not so bad as we think! Trust yourself to make a decision and have faith in your ability to deal with the consequences.

So how do you make good decisions quickly? By trusting your instincts and keeping your eye on the big picture. Whe you have your goals in mind, you recognize that each task is only one aspect of a larger plan, and that no one decision is going to make or break your success. It's a very liberating realization, and it makes it easier to move quickly through the decisions you have to make. Julie Morgenstern, Time Management From the Inside Out

Blunders in the name of progress

Don't allow the fear of making a mistake to paralyze you.

No one is perfect and you will make mistakes. That's okay, so what? It's proof that you're human. Few decisions are entirely free of any negative consequences.

Fear of making a mistake can lead us to put off making any decision at all. But that decision not to decide is itself a decision, and frequently a mistake! Give yourself permission to make blunders in the name of progress.

Recognize that many positive things can only be learned by making mistakes. When you make a mistake ask, "What can I learn from this experience?" More specifically, think of a recent mistake you have made and list all the things you can learn from it.

Take a tip from Truman

All my life, whenever it comes to me to make a decision, I make it and forget about it. As President of the United States, you never have time to stop. You've got to keep going because there's always a decision ahead of you that you've got to make, and you don't want to look back. If you make a mistake in one of those decisions, correct it by another decision and go ahead. That's all you can do. Harry Truman