Decision, Decision Everywhere, Please Don't Make Me Choose

Part VI - How to get things done

Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash

Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash

In my last post, I talked about the importance of balancing movement and rest to accomplish your goals.

This is my final post on the topic of getting things done. Thank you for joining me on this journey. Hopefully you identified what works for you and discarded the advice that you were unable to personalize.

Today, I will talk about completing tasks on time and working better by, something I call, modulating decisions.

Imagine how productive you would feel on a daily basis with only half the number of decisions to rationalize.

Reducing Decision Worry

The idea of decision minimalism is not a new concept. It’s popular among many including Presidents, Silicon Valley tycoons, and designers.

The Minimalism Movement started with artists and musicians in the 1960’s. Although, minimal art has been around for much longer. For example, the proverbial phrase Less is More, first appeared in a poem about art, in 1855.

The poem is peppered with complex themes. It questions the value of an artist’s talent in the absence of a defined purpose. It insists that the birth of great art comes from the willingness to fail.

The most intriguing component, for our discussion, is the poet’s rationalization for creating something simple.

He ties simplicity with a higher calling.

As society advances, the desire to create simple things has been set on a pedestal by commercially successful companies.

In the quest to simplify our own lives, we have moved towards minimizing the number of decisions we make.

Fewer decisions equate to lower mental demands. But, do they equate to accomplishing goals?

Productivity experts suggest too many choices drown us in fatigue. As a result, the solution often dispensed is to eliminate options.

Some ways to eliminate options is to wear the same outfit, eat the same food — so you can conserve energy for decisions that require more mental horsepower.

Even countless studies show that too many options are paralyzing.

But in an privileged society, reducing options is highly improbable. And, as options increase, simplicity is manufactured into the choices.

Here in lies an interesting conundrum.

When an artist creates simple art, the burden to interpret the art now lies in the art connoisseur.

When a musician composes a simple piece, the meaning of the song now lies in depth of the listener’s interpretation.

Simplicity is easy to create, but difficult digest.

The simpler the option, the more likely we spend time assigning a complex explanation.

If you agree with this argument, then this means the less we rationalize simple decisions, the less drained we will feel from the copious number of decisions we have to make.

Is it then fair to say that the number of decisions don’t prevent us from accomplishing our goals, but our built-in quest to understand why certainly does?

In order to work better and get things done, arguably there is no need to reduce the number of choices, but there is strong reason to stop rationalizing every minute decision.

If you believe this to be true, then the only burden that lies with you is deciding what’s simple.