Categories

Stop wasting time on minor life decisions

Ramit Sethi

I recently shared some advice with one of my students in my Brain Trust group, and I thought you’d find it interesting.

She asked me which book she should read first — X or Y.

claudiafbcommentClick “Display Images” to see my advice to one of my Brain Trust students

Look at my response.

What I’m saying is to stop wasting time deliberating over minor decisions. Stop agonizing over optimizing small decisions that will have no meaningful impact on your life. Pick something and move on.

In other words, BE DECISIVE!

This is extremely hard for control freaks to stomach. They want to spend the same amount of time debating over the type of salt they buy as the type of car they buy.

It’s easy to be a control freak. (I say that as someone who used to be one…and still is in certain areas of life.) It’s easy because it just means you create massive to-do lists, become the bottleneck to your co-workers and family, and set yourself up to be the martyr because “nobody else can do it like I do.”

It’s actually harder to take a hard look at yourself and admit: “I’m a cognitive miser — I have limited attention and willpower. So I’m going to spend my limited time focusing on things that really matter. And I’m going to ignore or pick ANYTHING on the things that don’t matter.”

Do you see where this gets tricky?

When you decide to be decisive, you might actually pick the wrong kind of salt. Or you might end up picking a dinner restaurant that sucks.

That’s FINE! It’s expected. Making occasional “bad” decisions on meaningless areas of life is the price you pay for being able to focus on the big things.

This took me years and years to really “get” — and beneath it all is the very real problem of perfectionism.

I realized I could spend all the time in the world to make “perfect” decisions…or I could actually have an impact on the world by focusing on things that matter.

That’s why I don’t care what brand of spatula I buy or what almond butter I buy.

This is actually liberating. It means most of the decisions I used to worry about actually don’t matter. So I pick something and move on — and focus on the ones that really matter.

This is why President Obama wears the same suit every day. This is why top performers and CEOs seem casually unstressed by the sheer amount of decisions they face, which would crush ordinary mortals. And, for example, this is why I made a list of restaurants and coffee shops I like, and if I’m having a business meeting, I always meet at 1 of the same 3. No minor decisions!

It means I can save my mental energy for things that really matter.

Now, it’s easy to read this, nod, and say, “LOL, Ramit is so cute, I agree,” but let’s take a close look at ourselves.

I’m willing to bet you deliberate over decisions that actually make no difference at all. Do you spend time researching airline fares to save $50? Do you open 15 tabs on the different types of underwear to buy?

What’s an area of life where you’ve deliberated way, way too much? Where you could just PICK SOMETHING — ANYTHING! — and move on with life?

Share that area in the comments below. And if you’re interested in reading about the psychology of too many decisions, see my bookmarks on the Paradox of Choice.

 

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122 Comments

 
  1. Jenn

    Just yesterday I had 10 tabs open of different drinks I could make for a baby shower I’m hosting. I couldn’t even narrow it down to 2-3 until I realized what a silly decision I was stressing over being perfect. Once I did that, I quickly picked one and moved on.

  2. Bret S.

    You might as well have started this post with “Dear Bret…” I’d never even heard of “cognitive willpower” or “decision fatigue” until I started reading IWT, but I can’t even pick an entree from a menu without agonizing over making the supposedly correct decision. I often end up imposing all sorts of false limitations on my choices just to narrow down the number of options.

  3. Chaquita

    I’ve gone back and forth over organic vs conventional produce…knowing that there are several items you are strongly suggested to consume organic, but I find myself having this mental debate often when grocery store hopping for the best deal

  4. Erika

    I spent 30 minutes reading reviews, trying to decide if a blender I already own is better than another. I’m not even in the market for a new blender!

    • Joni

      Oh, I wish I didn’t relate quite so well to your comment! Totally cracked me up in the way only something you know too well can!

    • Ryan Stephens

      ERIKA –

      I’ve been there, but then I found these two sites that literally changed the game for me:
      http://thewirecutter.com/
      http://thesweethome.com/

      The team behind these sites spend weeks, sometimes months, testing, interviewing experts, etc. to come up with the “best” product for each category — often segmented by price point (i.e. best there is period, the best for 95% of people, the best for the cost-conscious consumer).

      Unless you’re Chase Jarvis, the camera they recommend will suit you fine. Unless you’re Anthony Bourdain, the knives, blender, etc. will also suit you fine. (Actually, the Vitamix will *also* work fine for Bourdain).

      Straight from the site:

      Most gear we choose here isn’t top-of-the-line models that are loaded up with junk features or overpriced; most of the ones we’ve picked are of the “great enough” variety, because this is generally where our needs and the right prices smash into each other.

      Enjoy!

    • Shawn

      In response to Ryan Stephen’s recommendations on The Wirecutter and The SweetHome: I love both of these sites – really I do! – but I can’t help but wonder if they’re more problem than solution.

      They do deep dives on the product category, and are easy to spend 5-15 minutes reading. This is great if you need it or really care about a category. But let’s look at it from another angle: If I go there every time I care about a purchase, I will spend hours there. So, instead, I do when I have a reason to care:

      – Looking for a wireless printer: OK, I’ll be buying toner and using it for years, I should care.
      – Desk chair: I was tired of cheap chairs breaking. This was good for deciding on a chair and letting me focus on finding a good deal on a chair I wouldn’t normally buy (which I did – saving $200+ over a ‘normal’ price).
      – Deciding whether or not to buy a certain thumb drive that I’m only looking at on sale? Ok, search for it in there, see the 1 or 2 major things they said about it, decide if I can live with that.
      – Looking for a good pen: This one sounds counter to what Ramit is saying, but it’s not – for a good reason. I like the gel-style pens (Pilot G2, for example), but end up smearing them on my hands. They’re also about the most expensive pen I’m willing to lose (not bad, but annoying to lose in a world of Bic stick pens everywhere). I found, through them, a pen that isn’t any more expensive than the G2 and solves the smear problem. In this case, it makes sense to research a bit, because I made an ‘OFF THE CUFF’ decision and then decided IT WASN’T WORKING.

      Maybe, in fact, that’s the bigger takeaway: Instead of caring for the sake of caring about things, it’s about caring when the quick decision has proven that it’s not worthwhile.

  5. Walter B.

    Late last night my wife and I spent an hour or two (10pm-midnight) debating on which programming book to buy to help me excel at my job. After all of the debate, we didn’t even make the purchase because we could never get the coupon we were going to use to work. Not worth going to bed so late for.

  6. Sorilbran

    Thanks for this. It came at just the right moment (as I was checking my email to avoid doing something I shouldn’t be doing anyway).

    Cognitive miser!! Nailed it. I’m that way about EVERYTHING! And it sucks now. It probably sucked a decade ago but now it’s just starting to tick me off.

    Pink Himalayan, BTW. That’s the salt I bought that I labored over the decision to not buy. Morton’s or no Morton’s? What if it’s too strong? What if I crack my tooth on a crystal? Smh. Ridiculous. Thanks for calling me on it.

  7. amy

    Ramit, I totally agree with the crux of this post, and it’s something I have a hard time applying. I’ve found with myself that I have a sometimes crippling loss aversion, and it negatively affects my ability to just pick something and move on. For example, if I buy Salt A and then next time I’m at the store (or in Amazon) it’s on sale, the feeling of loss I get overwhelms me to a completely disproportional degree of the actual loss. Because some small things DO matter to me in unhealthy ways, I haven’t found that I can jut pick something at random and be fine with any outcome (I’ll tell myself I can, but then get tripped up on minutia and irrationally say “see? this is why these decisions require more deliberation.”) Do you have any follow up advice for how to actually not sweat the small stuff after we commit to a decision? Or is this something better left to a paid therapist? 🙂

    • Justin

      Burn your grocery receipts.

      I’m not really serious, but if you can stop comparing things from a week or a month ago to today, it’ll be a lot harder to go “See?! This is what happens when I don’t spend an hour comparing salt!”
      For that matter, don’t even look at items you’re already topped off on, that’s got to be as much of a waste of your time as agonizing over small decisions in the first place.

      On second thought, I am serious. Burn your grocery receipts. You need to put the blinders on.

    • Cocoa

      LOL you probably don’t need a therapist to solve this one. I think what you’re referring to is buyer’s remorse, an age-old phenomenon that happens when you buy something or date someone and everything in between.
      Here’s my 2-cents…you’re going to die and you don’t know when. There is always more of everything in this world EXCEPT TIME. Every moment you spend deliberating over something that’s already done, ask yourself if you’re willing to trade your life for it… basically, you made a good decision at the time, trust yourself on that because hey, you needed salt and if you went without salt for a week waiting for the price to come down 10 cents, that’s a pretty sad life to lead.

    • Justin B.

      How much is your time worth? If I’m worth $30/hour, then if I spent 2 minutes debating something where the potental loss is $1. I lose. So sure if I needed salt, and they had generic salt for $30/lb then I need to shop some other place. But if it is $1/lb, unless I can find salt for $0.50/lb in less then one minute, it isn’t worth it.

  8. Jenny

    I didn’t know whether or not to join Earn 1K or ZTL, so I did both – I’m going through them both at the same time. Which may be a mistake, since it seems like ZTL is a more sophisticated version of Earn 1K, but I figure I’ll get good info out of both of them, so I’ll keep chugging along.

  9. Lizette Preiss

    I am fortunate that I make these kinds of decisions instantly. I get so frustrated with people who agonize about nonsense. They get frustrated with me that I decide and move forward. I get further by keeping moving and accepting mistakes than by soul searching over BS decisions. I guess I’m lucky.

  10. Allison

    I’m getting married in a month, and throughout the planning process, I have caught myself spending way too much time on certain decisions. It started with deciding on a venue, arguably an important decision in the scheme of big vs. little wedding planning decisions. My fiance called me out on my indecisiveness early, and I am glad he did. We narrowed down to 2 venues we really liked, similar price range, and I was hemming and hawing over which one would be better for us. The reality was that they would both be just fine! Throughout planning, I have tried to keep in mind that there’s not always one right answer, so I would try to make a decision and move along to the next one as easily as possible.

  11. Vic

    Handbag quandary nightmare. Tote or shopper or crossbody, leather or canvas, zipper or not, red or black, how many compartments, how big, how much? Decisions, decisions! Men laugh, but a handbag is to her what a wristwatch, a car AND a cellphone are to him. So I spent a whole year searching for the Holy Grail, dithering… and meanwhile carrying a beat-up, cracked, embarrasing thing. Only when it broke beyond repair did I march into the finest French luxury leathergoods boutique and plonked nearly 3 K on the loveliest most practical handmade leather bag I could find. Cried once when I paid, been bag-blissed ever since. Cheers!

  12. Anna Daley

    I spent 3 days deciding on what colour contacts I should get: brown or brown. I got brown.

  13. Ed

    I spend too much time finding the “perfect” restaurant, campsite, tv you name it because I can’t stand being disappointed by a lower quality experience. But I now see that it has me spend too much time in trivial pursuits.

    THANKS RAMIT!! Valuable post.

  14. Steve Wilson

    Wow, your spatula comment really hit a nerve. My wife and I lived in Ecuador for three years where you were lucky to be able to find any kind of a spatula if you wanted one. When we got back to the US, we had to go shopping to set up our kitchen again. We walked into a big kitchen store and they had a whole wall of just spatulas! I freaked out, and was paralyzed by the array of choices. I’m embarrassed to say it, but I spent over a half hour deciding which freaking spatula to buy!! I think I do a little better now, but I agree with you. We have way too many meaningless options here.

  15. Manish

    I researched a lot about finding out good book which have real tactics about fast learning, but I didn’t find any reliable book.

  16. Lisa M

    While this may be easy to say, it’s not easy to apply. According to some training I took on Meyers-briggs, some people spend more time in the research/thinking phase than others. Some folks jump right into decisions and deal with consequences and some spend more time thinking before acting. Sometimes thinking before acting is better. Sometimes in the end it might not matter one bit. Research once and trust and move on. But if you never bought ‘xyz’ salad dressing and you want one that meets your health criteria, read the labels. next time, buy the SAME ONE.

    decision fatigue is real though. and you don’t always know which decisions in the end were really important and which were not if you don’t take the time consider them later!!! (think now or think later…hmmm)

  17. Stephanie

    Food brands in the grocery store get me like this ALL the time. I even know what TYPE of salad dressing or spaghetti sauce (have you SEEN the options for spaghetti sauce recently???) I want, but then there are at least 3 options left. Grocery shopping can be exhausting. Next time, I am grabbing the first one I see!

    • Cocoa

      I used to have the same analysis paralysis at the store, what helped was deciding what my priorities were about food – I want to nourish my body and have energy, so when I go to the store I pick the items that fill that need (I never buy anything in a bag or box any more, not that you have to be that extreme to get relief though!). I even went through it with toothpaste – all the options and who knows, so instead of dealing with all that I just buy a big crock of coconut oil and baking soda and make my own, then I cook with the coconut oil instead of deliberating about what other oils I should buy etc…
      I guess my point is, don’t focus on all the choices of products you have but what the purpose is for your purchase and pick what fits the bill. Mulit-tasking products rule as a bonus.

  18. Jeff Callahan

    Great topic!

    I used to suffer from decision fatigue, then I read an article on Tim Ferriss’ blog about Ego-Depletion. (Link: http://goo.gl/U4aPhW)

    Some things I’ve implemented since 2012:

    -Found a wonderful shirt that fits me well: Bought 10 of them.

    -Same breakfast every morning.

    -80% black socks in sock drawer. No more playing “Where’s the other f#@&ing sock?!”

    -Picked 3 restaurants that I LOVE and use them as my shortlist for dinners.

    -On work from home days I’ll drink Soylent for lunch to destroy decision lunch fatigue.

    -When buying cards for birthdays, I’ll typically pick out the first card that halfway fits for the person I’m giving it to so that I don’t stand in front of 1,000 cards slack-jawed and drooling.

    —-

    This tweaks have allowed me to spend more time with my wife and more time working on my ZTL business.

    The best decision is the one you make.

  19. KD Dunbar

    Years ago, I met a psychiatrist from Czechoslovakia at one point, and took him to a mall to buy a gift for his wife. He stared in amazement, then said something like: “In my country, we are neurotic because there is nothing to buy. I can see that in your country, you are neurotic because there are too many things to buy”. That observation has stuck with me. Just think of how much time you are spending deciding “yes or no” on the decision to buy or not buy all the products you see in a shopping mall! And yes, I am a woman…….It’s just that I have better things to do than waste my time in a mall.

  20. Meredith M Howard

    I have spent a lot of time lately trying to decide if I want to focus on clothing design or photography. This is actually major life decision but one that is taking up too much thought. I need to go with my gut and stop over-analyzing. Thanks for this post, Ramit.

    – Meredith
    www.meredithmhoward.com

  21. Jean

    I know that for myself, This definitely flares up at work (so much to do, don’t know where to start) and when choosing books to read. And when selecting my work music or which inspirational quote I’ll use as a desktop BG.

  22. Jim Howes

    My mother is visiting me right now, and I’m reminded that I learned many of my poor decision habits from her.

    I just graduated with a master’s degree and my wife and I are making a lot of decisions about the next couple of years–where to live, what kind of budget we want to live on, stuff like that. Definitely important stuff, but not actually that important in the grand scheme of things. All of these decisions are temporary, only affecting the next year or two (if that).

    Anyways, my mother is pretty much second-guessing every single decision we’ve made. “Did you think of this? What about that?” She thinks she is doing us a favor by making sure we’ve considered EVERY possible option, and pointing out all the possible consequences of our choices.

    Granted, she is my mother and is doing this out of love, but I have to constantly remind myself that I’m not going to make decisions like that anymore. When I was a kid, I remember her getting pissed off when she would fill up the gas tank, and then see another gas station two miles away that was 3 cents cheaper.

    It’s tough to unlearn habits and beliefs that I’ve held since I was a child, but it’s so worth it when I can free up my cognitive resources to work on the stuff that actually makes a difference in my life. Worrying about the small things keep your life small. I want a big life, so I’m going to automate, delegate or just ignore the small stuff and spend my time where it counts.

    • Jean

      So it’s not just my Mom! Lol.

    • Phuong VU

      Geez. My mom did it too. Lol. Every penny I overspent (just like your story of the gas station) would screw her up.

  23. James Neal

    I deliberate too much on who I’m qualified to write for- more specifically, who might believe I’m qualified to write and pay me for their blogposts, newsletters, or guides. If I just reached out and made these contacts while delivering a solid pitch, I could write for any industry.

  24. Leeann

    This happens to me all the time as I love internet shopping and am obsessed with reading the reviews on almost everything before I buy it. The same with traveling. Hotels I stay at. Restaurants I eat at. I fear buyers remorse as I want to be certain that I got the best value for my money. I fear disappointment. I’m afraid I’ll have spent my time and money researching a purchase and then regretting it and going through the process all over again (with less money in my pocket!).

    Growing up, we didn’t have much so my parents didn’t want us wasting money. I can blame my frugality on them but I realize they let us “invest” in as many books as we wanted. We didn’t go to watch movies every week but they took us camping and skiing. They put us in the best private schools even if they couldn’t afford it. They chose to invest in life changing experiences: the big wins. My parents chose where to invest the little funds they had.

    I appreciate this life lesson but I’m grateful to Ramit as he takes the concept of big wins one step further. How to make use of time (and earn more!) so you don’t have to fret the little stuff that doesn’t matter. Instead of agonizing over trivial purchases and experiences, I can spend the time doing things I love and that add value to my life.

    Thanks Ramit for these great posts that remind me of what’s really important!

  25. Katie

    But what is wrong with outsourcing decisions? By asking others, this person was able to lighten her own cognitive load. She seemed willing to go with whatever was recommended. Props to her for delegating!

    • Joey

      I have a friend who does this very, very often (I’m in Midtown. Where should I take my family for dinner?). In my case though, the follow up questions (why? what about…?) got extremely tiring after a while. I have stopped helping out this friend who outsources his cognitive load to me.

  26. Dayna

    I can definitely be this person. I have been agonizing over getting a new purse for about a year. I will research over and over and over trying to find the ‘perfect’ solution. There is no perfect solution. There are lots of very good solutions that would do just fine.

    My fiance and I fight about dinner all the time for this exact reason, too. No more. I’m done wasting time and energy on it!

    Thanks, Ramit!

  27. Amy Greene

    I had a light bulb moment about this exact idea a number of years ago. My husband and I were camping and I got hit with a horrible care of allergies. We drove to a drug store about 20 minutes away, where I kept picking up package after package. One lasted 4 hours and helped sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes; another lasted 24 hours but didn’t stop the itching. There were non-drowsy formulations and others that warned not to use if you were operating heavy machinery. How was I to choose?? My husband gently suggested I just pick one. “If it didn’t work we can come back and try something else.”. Ah… Relief. I didn’t have to pick The Very Best Option; there were many good choices that would be just fine.
    I often reflect on this moment when I realize I’m getting bogged diem in trying to optimize a decision when Good Enough is just fine.

    • CS

      So good to have a partner who complements your strengths and weaknesses.
      I am an obsessive researcher and comparer. Amazon, TripAdvisor and Yelp reviews are my weakness. Plus, being Asian, I equate not getting the best deal with “losing.”
      But with a husband who can also gently point out the obvious like yours (“we can always come back”) I am slowly weaning myself off the every-choice-must-be-perfect and well-researched.
      I am also, finally, getting to the point where I can buy certain things at full price just cuz I want them or know them to be good or I can’t waste time price shopping (eg. more expensive non-stop flight, certain beauty products, custom bra fitting). I’ve been able to afford this stuff easily for a while but just now finally truly realizing saving $50 at the cost of an hour on the Internet is actually wasteful once you are making over $1000 a day.
      I still love spending an hour at the grocery store getting the best deals possible but that is a relaxing, hobby-like thing for me. Everyone else I know gets food delivered but I loooove comparison shopping at the supermarket. It relaxes me and makes me feel like I’ve won something to save $20 there but then I’ll donate $1000 at a fundraiser. You gotta know what energizes you and what saps you.
      Trust me, like the other guy said, don’t go to bed late because you were researching something on the Internet because you are spending the most valuable commodity (time) often on nothing (you didn’t even buy the thing – analysis paralysis). An hour of sleep is nearly priceless!

  28. Abdiel

    Man, this is a great post. Nothing starts unless you decide to start. Deliberating not only adds excess stress it’s usually wasted effort that just pushes your goals further.

  29. Joni

    Airbnb!!! I spend FOREVER trying to decide which place will be best (which host, location, am I sure the bed will be comfortable…)

    Unfortunately, I LOVE doing this sort of research. I consider it a hobby and know it is totally ridiculous.

    And from your blog post I see that I need to STOP! I could be doing something more productive (which I already knew, of course). Easier once someone has spelled it out so clearly. Thanks!

    • Erin

      I do this too, but I see it as part of the joy of the trip. Next month, we leave for a five-week holiday to Hong Kong, France, Italy and Greece. But I’ve had way more than five weeks of enjoyment by spending the last 12 months planning for it.

      Also, one can be miserly about time as well as about money. Would saving a few hours of trip planning time have been worth it? My first decision on where to stay would have sucked, and my family would have hated it. Now, I’m confident we’ll have a great holiday.

      Travel planning is a perfectly valid hobby! (Says someone who spent eight years doing it professionally).

  30. Sam

    I do this every day with my to-do list… Instead of just going in and doing it, I make sure I have every single item I can imagine on my to-do list so I don’t forget, I agonize over which one will come first, I try to foresee what my boss will throw on my desk at any given time so I can plan for it on my to-do list, I come up with penny tasks that I rationalize are WAY MORE IMPORTANT than the dollar tasks.

    Thanks for the wakeup call. I needed this, especially as we finish my first construction project closeout where I must focus on the big wins.

  31. Emily

    Oh my heck, I am the worst at spending way too much time and energy making small decisions. The other day I spent an entire hour (A FULL HOUR!) in the store trying to decide whether or not to purchase a $4 pair of pajamas for my baby. $4, people. Why do I do this? I have no idea, but I really loved the idea of having a finite amount of time and energy for making decisions. It helps put things in perspective.

  32. Joel Stolarski

    I spend too much time trying to compose mixes, and getting a good sound…that puts no money in my pocket. I happened to be looking for some of my songs on the internet last night, because I like to play the tracks for my parrot, and was surprised to find a number of my songs, on many different websites, all which have re-posted my tracks, unbeknownst to me…with no compensation for using the tracks. So I did irritate me for a while, but like you wrote…you just have to let go of minor irritations an focus on more important things. Thanks for the article, Ramit.

  33. Char

    Oh, this is so me! I can totally recognise myself in this. I am that person who will make tables of pros and cons for absolutely everything… Mental note added for the future!

  34. Anthea

    I spent about ten minutes staring at a display of travel mugs in the grocery store yesterday, deliberating over what colors to get for me and my husband, and then over whether or not to get them at all… and I don’t have any need at all for more mugs, travel or otherwise.

  35. Alex

    I decide way too long wether to order/buy something in the $10 range or which time to choose for departure.

  36. Heidi Seifert NYC Psychotherapist

    I loved your description of what a perfectionist is and you nailed when you pointed out that perfectionists bottle neck people. That was very insightful and even more to the point you showed me where the flaw in their thinking lies. Thank you!

  37. augustine

    I run into this all the time when working with engineers and designers. My company cofounder is asking about our company budget and saying things like why are we paying 1200 for accountants every month and another 100 per week in legal!? If we set them both to zero we can maybe buy ourselves another 3 weeks of time!! This debate took 2-3 hours.

    Me being in operations, I eyeball these numbers 2 hours ago and I could see that we will still have 20k left in payables in 10 weeks and we were still 6 weeks behind schedule.

    Although we have to be scrappy as a startup, I hate wasting that much time debating 100 dollar sums when we have 10k invoices floating around.

    I hate wasting my time, money and especially my energy on trival things like this.

  38. Elizabeth

    Grocery shopping eats up a massive amount of my time. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted standing in an aisle, agonizing over what baking soda, or vanilla, or condensed soup is the best option.

    Part of that stems from habits that made sense at the time, but don’t anymore. When I first moved out on my own, I was making about $14,000 per year, after tax. Bluntly, my money was simply more valuable to me than my time, so I was willing to spend a lot of time finding the best possible deal on my grocery expenses, since saving $20 per month actually really did make a big difference. While I might have made more progress by targeting big wins, considering I avoided credit card debt, and managed to pay off a car loan and fund a 401(k), I can’t say I think it was a bad choice.

    However, now my time has become more valuable, but I still have the same habits. It’s particularly unhelpful in that it eats away at my not-at-work time, which I’d prefer to be using for self-development, since I’m in a field where generally you learn as you go, with little training. Cutting 15 minutes per week out of my grocery shopping and using an hour per month on organized self-development would definitely yield a much better payoff.

    • Michelle

      If any of your local grocers offer the option, online ordering or will-call is an immense time saver. You can save a list of staples that you buy every month, or every week and either have them sent to your home, or pick up the bags at a drive-thru. The small service charge is worth not having to hassle with shopping.

  39. David

    My wife and I waste a ridiculous amount of time on deciding where to eat out. Not in a Saturday night date night sense, but times where we aren’t at home, and we are in Point A and have to be at Point B in a few hours, and we need to eat something in between. I’ve acknowledged that I have this decision making issue, and it frustrates the hell out of me that I still can’t decide even though I know that I’m going to be indecisive the moment I say “Where should we get something to eat?”

  40. Jean

    Lol. Ramit is so cute.
    I wish I could say I wasn’t doing this, but I just realized I do. I think I started when the little decisions were the only ones I felt were under my control. Thanks for the wake up call. I will now only obsess over the decisions that I am enjoying making.

  41. Liz Johnson

    Great topic! I am letting this EXACT issue keep me from moving forward on two blogs I’m developing to promote books I’m writing. What’s stopping me? Choosing the “right” WordPress theme. Someone slap me upside the head! Just Do It already. Thanks Ramit!

  42. PW

    In my experience this is a symptom and the underlying fear is the root cause. I was not able to address this behavior until I understood the fear response and dug in and did the introspective work to find the fear associated with it. “fearless living” by Rhonda Britten was a great book to understand the fear response. Prior to that work I tried to use will power to fix myself, that just resulted in frustration. I also found the book “Your money or your life” a great frame work to weigh the return on investment of my life energy. Keeping the end result in sight is useful, if I spend fifteen minutes debating on generic vs. grocery store brand sugar what is the return on my investment. Will the food taste any better? will the experience while baking be impacted? Is there a quality difference?

  43. David D

    Like it! My wife drives me crazy on trying to make decisions about what/where to eat. I am thinking to myself, “It’s just one meal in our entire lives…who cares?!” Unfortunately, I have this behavior in other areas of my life…darn Amazon for having so many choices and mixed reviews for each choice.

    I have applied your advice to “automate my life” to many areas of my life, but having lists for my go to meals, restaurants, things for visitors to do, what to wear each day and more would be helpful. I’ve frequently thought about simplifying the clothes wearing process, so I’ll start there this week. So, thanks for the tips today.

  44. Joelle

    WHAT TO WATCH ON NETFLIX. UGH! By the time my husband and I get our kids to sleep, it’s 8:30. Then we hop in the shower. By 9:00 we’ve settled on the couch and scroll through netflix for something to watch. We scroll and scroll and scroll and debate and before you know it’s it’s 9:30 and too late to start a movie so maybe we can squeeze in an episode of Daredevil before I start to fall asleep. What a freaking waste of time! When scrolling think to myself “Is this something I want to spend the next hour and a half of my life watching? But then I have to remind myself, I don’t want to spend half an hour of my life scrolling either! We’re getting better at just picking something and going with it, mostly because chances are I’ll be passed out on the couch anyway (I’m 8 months pregnant with a five year old and an almost two year old. I should be passing out by 10pm AT LEAST)

    • Dan K

      Joelle,

      My reply was about something else, but Netflix was a close second. Your description is so spot on. Sometimes my wife will fall asleep on the couch before I’m done scrolling! (We have 4 kids, three of which are under 5.)

      Congrats on the new baby BTW

  45. Tekkers

    Wow this is an excellent topic… this is something my wife and I constantly try to improve upon. If I had to pick one area I wish I was more decisive on, it would be similar to your example Ramit. What book should I read, fiction or non-fiction? I spend way too much time picking books out from a selection I want to read. You would be proud to know that the current book I am reading I selected because it was closest to me on my nightstand.

    Airfare is a great example; I do not debate or waste time over anything under $50 in ticket prices differences. I pick the best times, and just run with it. That said, I am a craft beer person and I usually spend 15 minutes in the grocery store deciding on beer, EVEN THOUGH I KNOW WHAT I LIKE. That said, this is the kind of indecisiveness I enjoy a little, versus 8 different tabs full of airfare.

    I also spent 20 minutes researching scissors on Amazon not that long ago, no joke. Amazon reviews are hypnotic.

    • Danielle R

      Agree wholeheartedly about Amazon reviews. In the past I have felt like I had to read them all, just in case one person said one small thing that would convince me not to buy X or Y.

      Small decisions often get the best of me. But, after reading this, I made a purchase with minimal product comparison (how many arm-bands for running can there really be, and what’s the big difference?!).

  46. Jen

    I spent 6 hours on Black Friday trying to pick a hair dryer. Still ended up paying $80 for one I don’t like.

  47. Nancy

    I think perfectionism is a type of narcissism. You think you make great decisions therefore they all should be taken seriously, to keep up the facade that you don’t make mistakes! Yay you!

    My husband was like this early in our relationship. I think there is a second part of making a decision, and that is reflecting on the results. If you pick a type of salt, and it took you a while, ask yourself, a month later, if that decision process was worth it. If not, next time, just grab a salt that works.

    My advice to my husband now, to take the pressure off himself to not make a mistake, is to pick something. Then, if you need to make an adjustment, make an adjustment.

  48. Em

    Whether or not to leave a comment, and what to say. Really! And many other decisions on a regular basis, as well, although this dynamic has recently worked it’s way into my brain. This is timely, since I recently started to change my ways. This is reinforcement.

  49. Jeffrey

    I used to waste time in the morning deciding on what to wear to work. I realized this was a huge time waster and I would sometimes be late for work because either couldn’t decide. I came up with a system to help me decide and diversify my outfits during the week:The Monday Blues, Tuesday Bluesday, White Wednesday, Purple Thurple (or Think Pink Thursday), F*** It Fridays. Mondays I wear a blue shirt, Tuesday a blue shirt with strips or plaid, Wednesday white shit, Purple or pink on Thursdays, and Friday anything goes. Haven’t been late since (due to outfit issues).

  50. Lucy

    I do this with so many things, but especially food shopping, and clothes shopping – especially shoes and bras, and even picking the right exercise class, or the right optional modules at university. It’s a really ingrained habit. I think it comes from having lots of time but no money when I was young, then priding myself on getting it right, and then the internet came along and made it a million times worse. There are times I’ve ended up buying nothing because I am so sure that the right thing is out there and I haven’t found it yet. I know it is stupid, but it is an easy way to spend energy because i know what I am doing. And I also kind of enjoy it.

  51. Dan K

    A specific weakness I have is apps for my phone. Here is the typical process:

    Hmm, I wonder if there is an app to help me track this or find that.

    Search app store. Ohh here is one, and about 12 more… I guess I better search to see which one is best.

    Maybe if I’m feeling like I shouldn’t rely on the opinions of random strangers from the Web I decide that I NEED to decide which is best. So I get all the free ones and weed them out. What a waste of energy and time that could be spent elsewhere (like ZTL for example.)

  52. Sarie

    My issue definitely is what to watch on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon. I don’t even want to quantify how much time I waste. Writing this comment is making me realize that I spend too much time on those services anyway- less passive watching and more active learning- that’s going to be a focus for this week.

  53. Kim Ayres

    XKCD summed this one up perfectly 🙂

    https://xkcd.com/1445/

  54. middle class

    Wow, I needed to read this today. I have to take another look at my to-do list. I have been searching for airline tickets for weeks. I think I’m going to bite the bullet, choose dates and click “buy”. It really will be a $50 difference at the end of the day.

  55. Julian

    Just finished IWT-Finishers Formula, now I’m really trying to blow some of these indecisive habits. For me one area was food – I was wasting so much time, energy and money decided which option to have for lunch every day. I’ve since switched to having the same thing for lunch every day, now I spend my lunchtimes reading interesting articles and relaxing, instead of wasting time over some triviality. Reading other people’s comments I noticed it’s common in all aspects in life, and my girlfriend is the same. I’ve always joked one day I will buy her a decision coin as every time we eat out, she’s on the fence about what to get, when usually all options are pretty good. Maybe others should carry a decision coin and for all simple decisions, just flip the coin, embrace the dynamic choices it gives you and move on with more important things in your life!

    • Scott

      I used to do that all the time.

      Someone: “Do you want to do A or B?”

      Me, flipping coin: “Let’s do B!”

      This *seriously* disturbs some people. I’m not kidding. Some people actually get mad if you do that.

      I still do it when I can’t decide for myself between two more-or-less equivalent activities/things/whatever, but if other people are involved I’ll either not do it, or do it surreptitiously. It’s just easier that way.

  56. Jason E

    I spent nearly 20 minutes this morning crafting an email response to an issue that only peripherally involved me for a topic that isn’t even my core area of responsibility. Then I saved the email so I could come back and finish it after a meeting. It’s still in my drafts folder!

    God, why do I lose precious time on crap like that?! The best response is something like… “I’ll review and advise tomorrow”….send….done.

  57. Paul Fromberg

    I’ll skip the debacle about my wife and I arguing for 2 hours about where to go to lunch in favor of a Michael Jackson story. Quincy Jones produced “Thriller,” and described the process as unfolding in a totally organic manner. After such an overwhelming success, Jones lamented that the predecessor, “Bad”, turned into “analysis paralysis,” where each cut was labored over in a fruitless effort to produce the next big hit. This sadly characterizes the remainder of Michael’s career.

  58. Pamela

    When I started my new day-job, I set up my closet so that 90% of the items in my work-wardrobe went with each other on any given, random, closet pull at 7am. It has simplified so many things. I have 2 pairs of heels that I wear at work: brown or black; I wear sneakers or other shoes to work, then change into the black/brown shoes depending on my outfit. I have the same makeup routine in the morning – same makeup every day. I think my getting ready routine takes 1/10th of the time that it used to when I didn’t have a more curated wardrobe.

    I eat the same 3 breakfasts on a daily basis, lunch is basically the same thing (unless the mood strikes, then I get something a bit different from one of two places near work).

    When I book tickets, I’ll do a quick research for best pricing then book the tickets, hotel, you name it. Sometimes it is fun to search out new places to visit, make lists and so on – I especially like this when going out of the country, or to a new city: have a list of a few places in a given neighborhood, so that one can be picked and there’s no other thought. It’s not agonizing work (the lists), it’s fun – so I feel that’s a bit different.

    My husband is an agonizer: over nearly everything. It’s frustrating for me who doesn’t want to spend the energy/time on the process of making a decision. 99% of the time we have all the information we need, then the choice needs to be made. Which book to read? Grab one at random! If you hate it, put it down and grab another one.

  59. Seth

    It sounds stupid but, I used to spend a massive amount of energy on choosing my shave soap and brush (at the time i had a dozen our more of each).

    I got the measure one day and started using the same thing everyday for a year… And was much less stressed.

    Now I have a little variety but i know at the end of the day i wasted way too much brain power on such a low priority decision.

  60. Shanlie

    You nailed it once again. Funny, though, how the bigger decisions I make in life seem to be easier and quicker to make. But along with the rest of these guys, my smaller life decisions like which top to buy, what clothes to pack, which thing to do first on my long list of to-do’s, which flat iron to buy, which book to read…all these things and more waste so much of my time and energy. Even funnier is that, I am well aware of this.

    Hello, my name is Shanlie and I’m a control freak.

  61. Alex

    This is exactly what I wrote about on Medium!

    https://medium.com/@asandalis/speed-up-decision-making-to-save-your-limited-willpower-cab4fb942f83

    People don’t realise we only have a finite amount of willpower and wasting it on minor decisions uses up this willpower, resulting in mental exhaustion.

    Would love to hear any one’s view on my short piece.

  62. Jillian

    Parenting decisions. Any and all of them. What if my kid is scarred for life because I bought the wrong kind of sippy cup? So. Much. Pressure.

  63. Catt

    This is embarrassingly true frequently…and also spending mental energy on figuring out things you already know you don’t want.

    I’d like to stop deliberating which providers to use and just pick – email, sales pages, etc!

    Thanks Ramit!
    Catt

  64. Laura

    Clothing is probably the biggest decision-making waste of time I have on a daily basis. I have a small set of clothes for work to minimise the time I spend moping around my wardrobe, but I allow myself to spend more time making those decisions for a night out when there will be photos. I also out-source some of the decision making to my flatmates (“Does this look ok? Yes?” Then my decision is made.).

    I often find it harder to make the small decisions than the big ones, because there are so few real-world consequences to evaluate them by.

  65. Erin

    This is really not a huge issue for me. When I devote time and attention to something, it’s usually because I’m very interested in it, and choose to put in the effort.

    On the other hand, at work, my boss likes to deeply explore all of the available options before making even a minor decision, so she gets frustrated with my preference for deciding quickly and moving on to the important stuff.

  66. Mary

    Love this!! This is so true. I get questioned by my family all the time about why I eat the same thing for lunch every day. I take my own lunch to work and it saves so much time doing it that way. I know that makes it BORRRIIING. But I apply this to other areas of my life as well. If I’ve already got a plan on how to deal with a situation it saves me from the distractions that come up and sap my brain . Distractions and too much information are a BIG problem for everybody these days

  67. Brian

    It took me too long to figure out whether I should get the dish brush with the handle or the knob. I read the reviews and let the decision marinate over hours. But it was a gift for my mom, so I did want the one that would make her life easier.

  68. Nancy Dave

    I spend hours and weeks deciding over smallest of things like which jeans, pefume, hair band or baby diapers to buy. At times the shop keeper stares at me when I can’t decide whether I shud buy a yellow or pink t shirt. I involve my husband to help me and he decides in a micro second. I think again for minutes and then buy the one that he opted out.

    Lately, my husband told me that he is becoming indecisive and anxious over small things due to my effect over him. Every small decision looks like a crisis situation to us. He got selected in a dozen companies, nailed the interviews, got desired package but ultimately didn’t join cuz he could not decide. I am so dying to get out of this self created problem and help my husabnd be the same decisive and confident man he was.

  69. Rajavanya

    Deciding where to go for dinner – I used to be almost paralysed when ever I wanted to decide.
    I thought I was saving money, but most of the time I was just waiting to convince myself to go to where I really wanted to go.

  70. Siobhan

    I can relate to this post so much. I am definitely guilty of spending time on minor life decisions. It wastes time and energy and I agree it’s so much better to just pick and move on!

    I’ve wasted time on whether to pack an extra jacket when going on holiday, what to do on the weekend, what item I should focus on next on my to-do list.

    Key lesson: Automate as much as possible and save my brain power for important decisions that are really going to move the needle in my life and business.

    Thanks Ramit for this important reminder.

  71. Matt Antonino

    Whenever I need to find my blogging voice I only need to come here and read the things you write. You’re so *clearly* you that it’s staggering.

    “Now, it’s easy to read this, nod, and say, “LOL, Ramit is so cute, I agree,” but let’s take a close look at ourselves.”

    Best line of the whole thing. haha Thanks for the pointed reminder to be decisive and take action.

  72. Dennis

    Haha. This hits home because I’ve recently opened about 15 tabs looking through different websites for a shoulder bag with a strap in the back to slide over the carry-on luggage. That decision shouldn’t take that long!!

  73. Vera

    Thanks for this article, I really relate to it. Being a perfectionist myself and someone, who likes finding a good deal, I can conduct research for hours finding the best solution possible. With the hindsight, I always see it as a waste of time and just cannot understand why I do it again and again. I guess my brain became very efficient at thinking that way so it makes a decision to ponder over options without me realising it is happening. I have started making more habitual choices such as having a few lunch places I grab my lunch from, going to yoga and gym on certain days so I don’t have to decide ‘if I want to or don’t feel like exercising’, buying usual groceries for favourite dinners.. It’s amazing how much brain power it has already freed up for much more important decisions. It’s a process though and I’m still working on it. 🙂

  74. Ravi

    i spent too much time on choosing a girl friend. I think its ok to pick up anyone. If she is good we will stick and if she isn’t then she can be dumped anyways.

  75. Pradeep Parik

    I totally agree.

    We waste too much time debating in our heads & among ourselves the various options in any given situation. We somehow do not realize we can always revisit most of our decisions & change them, without the first one making any material difference to our life.

    I saw this in a Harry Potter movie, where they kind of rewind their life & make changes to the first event & conclude to a favorable ending.

    We can only zoom out to bigger things if we focus on them. Till then, we are slaves to the minor things that clog our brains all day.

  76. Payuk Nay

    I spend too much time reading amazon reviews for stuff i am going to buy and movies I am going to watch. Ps, Ramit, that is a hilarious picture. Your my hero.

  77. Saulo Segurado

    Great text, Ramit!

    I’m definitely the person who opens 15 tabs with different types of underwear.

    But, it got better after I reorganized my daily routine template with only things that “generate results”, like: communicate with the world, delivery value (sold, promised, and free), actions that bring money to my businesses, scheduled appointments, and, for last, misc tasks.

    Cheers from Brazil.

    Talk soon,

    SAULO

  78. David @ Bye Bye Busy

    One word: WordPress!

    “What structure should my permalinks follow?”
    “I wonder what would happen if I change that button color.”
    “Why did I get 17 fewer impressions than yesterday?”

    As a fellow blog owner these questions come up so often. Even just passive reading other sites or listening to podcasts, these are the type of questions I hear others asking. So clearly this is a widespread problem.

    I think maybe what we need is a decision tree like NFL coaches use for scenario decisions. Don’t talk to me – the card says Moops! I think it would be nice to have those decisions made for me, but having those decisions to make also shows me that I’m in control.

    I agree that prioritizing what matters – the 80/20 if you will – and don’t sweat the small stuff is a great personal view to have.

    One other idea: I DO put a lot of thought into the food I buy. I like to promote organic, so what I do is shop at one store that ONLY sells organic. So then I know that any choice I make from that subset aligns with my values.

  79. Amy

    I do this all the time. I have an addiction to amazon. Descriptions, and ratings, and 1000 comments I can read through to make sure I know everything about everything before I do anything, which usually leads to doing nothing.

    I will say though, once I decide… I decide and don’t think about it anymore. That part I’m good at. The underwear part made me laugh. I have worn the same brand style and size of underwear for 15-20 years. They are cheap, comfy, relatively cute. Every now and then I think maybe I should spice it up a little, and end up with some horrible crap that gives me wedgies all day and is a horrible waste of time, money and energy. When I find what I like, I stick with it for sure! Same with socks. I have mainly white, brown or black socks. I have some “fun” socks, and almost never wear them, because who really wants to spend time in the morning thinking about what socks match their outfit? Not me. Put some freakin socks on and let’s get on with our lives.

  80. Sheena

    Good god I sent this e-mail to my boyfriend. He’s the kind of guy that has 10 tabs open to buy underwear, or even worse he’ll have 10 tabs with the same rated resistors that are worth a nickel a pop. If you can’t make these little decisions easily how are you going to make the big ones? I like the system approach, for example if I want a pair of boots on amazon and I want to know if the prices is good I go to camelcamelcamel.com. Why bother hunting around for insignificant variations on cost, features, etc?

  81. Marcia Francois

    Love this post! Also, I think there’s a maximiser/ satisficer thing going on too, which I just wrote about on my blog on Monday.

    http://takechargesolutions.org/blog/2015/06/22/better-than-before-maximiser-or-satisficer/

    The maximiser feels like he/ she must research all options to get the best deal. Once a satisficer’s criteria have been met, they go with that decision.

    This is not my idea – Gretchen Rubin writes about it in her new book, Better than Before 🙂

  82. Arthur

    What, when and how much to eat… every single freakin’ day!

    • Arthur

      Oh! And writing (by hand) everything I do every day: Time & Activity, without analyzing & making adjustments.

      I’ve been doing this for at least a year now… to be conscious of how I spend my time AND make the necessary adjustments.

      I’ve found that it’s become a very subtle stress factor:
      “What time did I start this activity?”
      “Did I write everything I did in the last 40 minutes?”
      “Oh, dammit! What time is it? Where’s my phone’?!”

      Any feedback/suggestion would be appreciated.

  83. Jordan

    Very important post here. I know lots of people who put too much thought into decisions that in the long run aren’t nearly as important as others! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

  84. Sharon Lee

    Resonates with me. I can be spontaneous at times (like purchasing a snack on the spot after one time tasting), but at other times I’ll may be drifting in and out of the decision-making process (sometimes like shopping, maybe that’s why women love the activity :p)

    However, I’m not always to nick-pick on getting the best bargain, or get more bang for their buck. Rather it is important to commensurate the value with the price, effort and time.

    If I perceived the value I’m getting is worth it (it does not necessary mean cheap) or the difference isn’t much, I’ll still able to make a quick decision. Some people are not like that. But when it’s over the top like they want to maximize (analogy: wring every single last drop of water from a towel) and keep looking, it’s what really gets to me.

    Having more choices sometimes give more headaches, so I think the optimal no. of choices is 3, which is more than enough to make good decision. Choose 1 out of 3 and be done with it. Or make that 2 when it comes to showing design mock-ups to clients. 🙂

  85. EB

    Welp, that’s like you wrote this article for me. I am notoriously indecisive. I’m the person sending the waitress away 5 times because I don’t know what to eat. Mental fatigue is a real thing my friend. I think partly in America, there are SO many choice about everything. I had a friend post online when she got back from living in China for a year or so how he she panicked in the store because there too many choices for chips. There was maybe 1 or 2 over there, but here there’s a seemingly infinite amount.

  86. Rachel

    Some decisions I make fast.
    The wedding hall we chose (that was a long time ago) by finding the most obsessive mother among my friends mothers’ who researched every hall in the area. I simply went for what she picked for her daughter.

    However, there are some book cases I want to get for the living room. I kid you not. I spent over 50 hours over the past 2 years looking at different models, debating if I want to buy new one or second hand.
    And I still did not get any of them!

  87. Catherine

    My coach recommended an app, and I was dithering on buying it because it costs $4.99–more than I generally pay for apps. I was looking at reviews and wasting my time when I realized that a) I trust this person, and b) the last app she recommended is great and I use it every day. I bought the app. I have wasted a lot more than five bucks here and there in my life and I am in a position to waste 5 more if the apps a bust for me. I don’t know why it bothers me so much to “lose” a few bucks here and there, when it’s really not a genuine financial stress.

  88. Ashley

    Not sure when you’re first post was on focusing on big wins rather than small savings, but reading that made me stop and think about how much time I can waste on small decisions if I don’t monitor it. I find that usually the reason I’m researching endlessly has little to do with the actual decision and more to do with something I’m insecure about related to the decision.
    eg. while pregnant I spent an inordinate amount of time deciding what to wear each day. Not because it actually mattered, but because I was insecure about my size and frustrated that I didn’t have the $$ to buy a larger maternity wardrobe. 30-45 min every day wasted on that task.
    I try to remind myself now to pick something in 5 min or less if it’s not an important decision and spend the time dealing with the actual problem behind my indecisiveness instead needlessly considering which children’s clothing store offers a better deal for an hour.

    • Ashley

      Aaand this comment looks ridiculous because for some reason my husband’s picture is attached to my email, ha.

  89. Bob Ransley

    Great thought over very philosophic idea. We should only concern and take time to think about major life decisions, not for the minor ones. Being decisive will help us a lot and we should improve our willpower. It’s first time that I’m here. I’m glad that I learnt something here. Thanks.

  90. Michelle

    A big time suck for me used to be choosing gifts for friends and extended family during the various holidays. It was incredibly stressful and most of the decisions ended up being anxiety-driven. About ten years ago, I just stopped with gift-giving altogether. Funny thing, nobody even noticed. Zero guilt, zero stress.

  91. Ryan

    For over 2 months now I’ve been researching which e-reader I should buy.

    I’m now stuck between the choosing either the Kindle Paperwhite or the Kindle Voyage.

    I know this isn’t a major life decision but yet I still refuse to choose and keep buying paperback books and wait 3-5 working days for them to arrive at my door, when I could get them instantly on the kindle.

  92. Pat

    Back to the topic of the post. Don’t read either. If you can’t tell when you have both books in your hands. Don’t bother. I just transcribed–by hand–a two hour webinar by a huge name. I didn’t ask anybody if I should. I started listening. He would describe what he was going to do, do it, and then I asked what the hell just happened!?! and I hit rewind. The happened, again and again. I took out my phone, recorded the whole two hour talk and arduously began the 12+ hour ordeal of transcribing every word I heard by hand–ballpoint pen on copy paper. Maybe the original poster should try copying one of the books word by word. If it’s good enough, you’ll find the strength to finish. If it isn’t, you’ll start to hear the sobbing voices of your abandoned family members calling your name. Come back. Come back. We love you. Whatever you think you’re doing is just an illusion…or maybe you could take up speed reading?

  93. Justin

    I used to be guilty of these things all the time. Now… I’m still often guilty of them, but I deal with myself as one would deal with a child.

    When I catch myself taking way too long to decide on something trivial, I count down from five. If no decision is made, the decision is no.

  94. Maggie

    My mom used to tell me as a girl, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Took me until post-college to actually get it. My friends think it’s weird that I don’t have a go-to drink at a coffee shop, or bar for that matter. I watch as they ask for drinks to be re-made because their skinny, sugar-free no-foam latte is not just right or the “wrong” vodka was used. It’s all too stressful. Priority #1…. Jump-start the brain with caffeine or get relaxing with a strong drink. The gin, the vodka, the espresso drink, for me, doesn’t matter so much. Roll the dice and trust the maker. Priority #2… Get on with life!

  95. preeti

    I spent 30 minutes reading reviews, trying to decide if a blender I already own is better than another.

  96. Victoria

    I spend too much time on what kind of sheets to buy for my dorm room. I should’ve bought them a month ago.. I’m going to make sure to stop wasting time on minor decisions and living! Thanks Ramit.

    -Victoria

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    […] Because I overthink things more than any person I know who has anywhere close to the same amount of ambition and restlessness that I do. My first conclusion was that 80% of the time that I spent while traveling was a total waste. And yet it wasn’t a waste at all. The fact is that 80% of my procrastination or hesitation was because of a perceived incompetence or enormous obstacle outside of my control. Part of the obstacles were real, but what is important is how I responded to these obstacles. Return to the Taoist analogy of the river and the stone: what would have been different if I had yielded to the rock, rather than fighting it? Every time I have resigned or fought, I’ve been miserable. When I accept the situation, solutions manifest almost immediately. Thankfully, 20% of my actions carried me 80% of the way. Those crucial actions pushed me through some of the most difficult trekking routes in the Himalayas, assisted me with scary financial hardship, poisonous relationships, and soul-sucking occupations. I’ve always found my way in and out of things and can now look back at all that “wasted time” to have a solid idea of what works for me and what doesn’t work at all. I know where I need to improve, where my strengths lie, and can channel energy into those strengths and use them to counter-balance weaknesses.   […]

  99. Why I Write, Lessons Learned. | DRUK

    […] Because I overthink things more than any person I know who has anywhere close to the same amount of ambition and restlessness that I do. My first conclusion was that 80% of the time that I spent while traveling was a total waste. And yet it wasn’t a waste at all. The fact is that 80% of my procrastination or hesitation was because of a perceived incompetence or enormous obstacle outside of my control. Part of the obstacles were real, but what is important is how I responded to these obstacles. Return to the Taoist analogy of the river and the stone: what would have been different if I had yielded to the rock, rather than fighting it? Every time I have resigned or fought, I’ve been miserable. When I accept the situation, solutions manifest almost immediately. Thankfully, 20% of my actions carried me 80% of the way. Those crucial actions pushed me through some of the most difficult trekking routes in the Himalayas, assisted me with scary financial hardship, poisonous relationships, and soul-sucking occupations. I’ve always found my way in and out of things and can now look back at all that “wasted time” to have a solid idea of what works for me and what doesn’t work at all. I know where I need to improve, where my strengths lie, and can channel energy into those strengths and use them to counter-balance weaknesses. […]

  100. Why I’m publishing – These Nomadic Years. | DRUK

    […] Because I overthink things more than any person I know who has anywhere close to the same amount of ambition and restlessness that I do. My first conclusion was that 80% of the time that I spent while traveling was a total waste. And yet it wasn’t a waste at all. The fact is that 80% of my procrastination or hesitation was because of a perceived incompetence or enormous obstacle outside of my control. Part of the obstacles were real, but what is important is how I responded to these obstacles. Return to the Taoist analogy of the river and the stone: what would have been different if I had yielded to the rock, rather than fighting it? Every time I have resigned or fought, I’ve been miserable. When I accept the situation, solutions manifest almost immediately. Thankfully, 20% of my actions carried me 80% of the way. Those crucial actions pushed me through some of the most difficult trekking routes in the Himalayas, assisted me with scary financial hardship, poisonous relationships, and soul-sucking occupations. I’ve always found my way in and out of things and can now look back at all that “wasted time” to have a solid idea of what works for me and what doesn’t work at all. I know where I need to improve, where my strengths lie, and can channel energy into those strengths and use them to counter-balance weaknesses. […]

  101. Guest Post: Your “Fantastic Four” in 2016 | Karina Quiñonez

    […] http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/stop-wasting-time-on-minor-life-decisions/ […]

  102. Journal

    […] Stop wasting time on minor life decisions […]

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