As military spouses, we leave a lot of decision-making to chance (i.e. the military), particularly our location. Typically, the choices are made for us or we’ve been given a range of options, but for the most part, there is not a lot left for the imagination.
It did take me a bit to let go and understand that I’m not in complete control all the time in my military life. But, when an opportunity to make a choice comes along, I immediately freeze and stare blankly. I’m stumped! Unfortunately, it’s an observation I’ve made with a lot of my female friends.
We are all indecisive beyond belief.
Ask us where we want to eat for dinner. Most likely, we’ll take a good 5 minutes looking at each other waiting for someone else to respond.
Not only is it an observation of mine, there have been actual studies that measure the indecisiveness of women. Warwick University in the United Kingdom found that men are quicker to make decisions, while women are more open-minded.
I dug a little deeper to find out the results of decision-making for women and came across a couple of other interesting statements that piggybacked on Warwick University’s claim by saying women make better decisions than men, especially in high-stress environments. So, when the going gets tough, that’s when women make awesome split decisions? That’s an eye-opener.
It does make sense and parallels with women being more open-minded.
Don’t let stress trigger your responses though and be sure to consider your choices. That’s why the small or mundane decisions are the most difficult to resolve (like picking a place to eat for dinner or an outfit for the day) because stress isn’t a factor. No matter the size, big or small, it’s still important go through the motions to make the right decision for you…stress free!
How to Make Decision-Making a Little Less Difficult
First, do your research. The internet is a huge tool in all of our research! It allows us to educate ourselves in an instant, whether we’re at home or on the go. This is where the good ol’ pros and cons list comes into play too. I’m an old school gal and rely on pen and paper. It helps me conceptualize and it makes it easy to reference too.
There are other ways to present your findings for those that want to stray away from the pros and cons list. For example, if you’re more numbers oriented, a spreadsheet might be the way to go. On the smaller decisions, keeping a rundown in your head could good enough.
But, don’t overthink! Even on the littlest things, people, in general, have a habit of spending too much time weighing the outcome. It’s easy to get lost in the process and eventually get sidetracked. Keep focus and simplify your findings.
For women, I believe overthinking could be a result of our open-mindfulness, which is a good thing that we take the time to evaluate options. However, if it takes too much time that a decision can’t be made, when it’s needed, the opportunity could go away.
Limit yourself. As you gather information, make sure you keep your choices with your top picks. Another suggestion is to categorize your choices and then eliminate anything that you have to think about twice. Overthinking and limiting yourself goes hand in hand!
That same study from Warwick University says that given more choices the longer it takes to make a decision.
If you’re having trouble picking a course for school or a volunteer opportunity, select only a handful and evaluate from there. Don’t consider the whole course catalog or every single nonprofit organization. Keep the choices to two or three manageable options.
Get a second opinion. I believe this is the reason the iPhone “favorites” list was invented, it’s easy access to our loved ones in times of need! Buzz your best bud or sit down with your spouse and talk it through. A fresh perspective could offer you the insight needed to make a solid decision. And if you come across a fellow indecisive person, ask them for their first impression. You’d be surprised how that second opinion benefits in the decision-making process.
Embrace your decision. Stay positive and accept everything that comes along with the decision you made. If you keep that attitude, it will be easy to continue to make decisions that you are happy with. I like to put together some rules to help me with any simple future decisions. It may seem silly, but it actually helps if you enter a grocery store with a game plan in mind like to purchase everything in one specific brand or at the lowest possible price point–that will keep you from staring at 10 different types of cereal.