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5 Ways to Choose Less and Simplify More

The following post is from Rachel of The Minimalist Mom: 5 Ways to Choose Less and Simplify More

“As the number of choices grows further,
the negatives escalate until we become overloaded.
At this point, choice no longer liberates, but debilitates.
It might even be said to tyrannize.”

~Barrry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less

The worst thing about living in a small town? The lack of choice.

The best thing about living in a small town? The lack of choice.

While I often lament the dearth of ethnic food options on our little island, I also celebrate that every summer weekend, there is, at most, one community event for young kids.

When we plan our weekends, there aren’t a lot of decisions to make beyond what we should take for a picnic.

I like this lack of choice.

Fewer choices mean less stress and simplify more.

Does anyone remember when coffee was just coffee?

It was ordered black or with cream and sugar. That was it.

I started drinking coffee in my mid-20s when a venti-no-foam-extra-shot-half-sweet-organic-soy-sugar-free-caramel-latte was the way to order your morning java.

Every choice we make, when to get up in the morning, what to wear, what to eat, and which brand of laundry detergent to buy, depletes our ability to make sound choices as the day wears on.

The more choices you make, the more likely you are to make a rash decision or impulse buy.

Limiting choice and choosing less is a great way to simplify your life and relieve daily stress.

This goes for big decisions, like where and when to vacation, to small ones, like deciding if your kids should get haircuts this week or next.

Five ways to have fewer choices (and less stress):

  • Stick to routines: Variety isn’t needed when you start your day. Wake up at the same time and groom, dress, and eat in the same order.
  • Eat the same meal: It’s okay to pack the same lunch Monday to Friday. In fact, it’s a great way to make five choices at once.
  • Keep comparative shopping brisk: Enter a store when you are feeling fresh, your stomach is full, and you are ready to make a decision. If you are researching a large purchase, decide how long you want to spend comparing brands and models and stick to it.
  • Pick an outfit for each day of the week: Hang up five outfits on a Sunday night, and you won’t be standing in front of your closet on a Tuesday morning wondering what to wear.
  • Once the decision is made, stop thinking about it: Once you’ve signed a rental agreement, stop looking at new apartment listings. If the kids all have shoes that fit, don’t browse the sale flyer from the shoe store.

We have more choices for consumer goods, education, entertainment, and pretty much everything else than any other generation before us.

It’s a great thing.

But too much choice also overwhelms us, complicates our lives, and adds stress.

If you can limit the number of decisions you make each day, you’ll make better decisions and have more energy and time for the rest of your life.

How do you reduce the number of decisions you make in a day?

Rachel Jonat is a world medalist rower turned marketing professional turned SAHM/writer. At The Minimalist Mom, Rachel writes about living a rich life with less stuff. Currently living on a windswept island in the middle of the Irish Sea, Rachel owns two pairs of jeans, loves taking the bus and is attempting to become a tea drinker.