Decision Paralysis – How to Make Decisions When You Feel Like You Can’t

When basic decisions feel overwhelming, you may fall into decision paralysis. Every task becomes a life-altering event, and you freeze under pressure. We’re here to help you push through the confusion and regain control of your day. Check out these tips for managing and conquering decision paralysis.

What Is Decision Paralysis?

Decision paralysis is the inability to make decisions. It may be a temporary experience when you’re stressed, or it may be an ongoing source of frustration. Decision paralysis is usually the result of your brain telling you it’s overwhelmed. You have too many tabs open in your brain’s internal web browser, and it cannot pull up pages when you need it to.

Some people experience decision paralysis because they fear making the wrong decision. They would rather choose nothing than choose the wrong thing. Other people feel their minds go blank when faced with choices, such as what to wear to work or what to eat for dinner. No matter how your decision paralysis affects you, it can feel debilitating at the moment.

Reduce Your Options

If you’re looking at your fridge for meal options, you may see an abundance of possibilities. It’s hard to narrow down what you want to eat because there is too much to choose from. You may consider using a meal prep service to give yourself grab-and-go meal options, or you could cook with the intention of having specific foods at specific times of the day. Option A is breakfast, Option B is lunch, and Option C is dinner. Boom – decisions made!

You can apply this same mentality to most decisions in your day. Instead of choosing from every option available, just give yourself two choices. Do I want to wear my hair up or down today? Do I want to wear a black or blue top with my jeans? The less you have to think about, the faster you can move on with your day.

Some of the most influential people in the world wear the same exact clothing every day. This eliminates the decision of what to wear altogether. You could modify that idea to give yourself more variety while still taking out the decision element. Dedicate a specific work outfit for each day of the week, or wear the same base outfit with different accessories. You might be surprised by how much headspace that clears up for you.

Flip a Coin or Use an App to Make Decisions for You

When you feel truly paralyzed by decisions, flip a coin. Make “heads” represent watching a movie and “tails” represents means read a book. You could use an app like Decision Roulette to plug options in and let fate decide for you. Put your five favorite restaurants in the app and spin the wheel to see where to get food from. Don’t second-guess the results. Just go with it.

Don’t Turn Everything into a Decision

You may be overthinking certain aspects of your day, which makes decisions feel even more overwhelming. Tasks that are normally on auto-pilot suddenly turn into thought-provoking events. If you find yourself thinking hard about a trivial task, try to recognize that in the moment. Pick something and move on.

Prioritize Progress over Perfection

You don’t need to make a perfect decision every time. You are bound to make mistakes, and you’ll learn from those mistakes. It’s better to accomplish something by making a wrong decision than accomplish nothing by trying to make the right one. Focus on moving forward rather than being perfect.

Give Yourself a Reset Day

If your brain is overloaded, you may need a Reset Day. This is a day dedicated to doing absolutely nothing. Do not schedule any work or extracurricular tasks for the day. If all you do is sleep, great! Your body and mind needed it! If you spend the day mindlessly folding laundry and binge-watching a show, that’s fine too. Allow yourself a day to recoup, and you may find decisions much easier to make.