He that has a choice has trouble. –Dutch proverb
Haha sometimes I find that to be so true. And we have SO MANY choices and decisions to make each day. What to wear, what to eat, where to go or which way to get there, whether to say yes or no to our child this time, whether to say yes or no to our husband this time, lol — from before getting up (should I get up now or stay in bed awhile longer?) to the time we actually fall asleep (should I read my book or just turn out the light?), we are making decisions.
And I don’t know about you, but for me all those decisions get very wearing. My brain gets so tired from all the options that are constantly placed before me. I want to make the BEST decision each time, and sometimes it’s hard to know what that is. So I think about things, probably much more than I need to, and this makes life harder than it needs to be.
One way to streamline all this decision-making is to make as many decisions ahead of time as we can.
If the decision has already been made in a moment of calm consideration, then it won’t need to be figured out in the moment of stress.
One great example of this is meal planning. Making all the decisions about which meals to have when for an entire week or month is SO freeing. You do this when your brain is already occupied with your grocery shopping list, so you know exactly what food will be in the house. You have your calendar in front of you, so you know which activities to plan around. And you decide what to have for dinner days before you are going to have it.
Then when that day rolls around, all you have to do is make it, without having to go through the agonizing ritual of running through the options in your brain and checking the freezer for which meat exists there and hoping you can get it thawed in time and wondering if anyone is even going to eat it cuz they all get in at different times — you’ve already planned for all that.
And if you want to avoid the usual question — “Mom, what’s for dinner tonight?” — you can even publish your meal plan in a prominent place like I do with the refrigerator meal calendar that my friend Sarah made for me.
Another example is your morning routine. Oh, my brain is so slow when I first get up — about all I can think of is how quick to get some coffee into my system. If I were also trying to evaluate my day and what I should do first and whether or not I really do want to exercise today, the answer almost every day would be to crawl back into bed for another hour.
But with a morning routine already set up, with all of its tasks evaluated and agreed upon in a past hour of contemplation, then I can just run on auto-pilot and still get stuff done that I will be really glad is finished when I come out from under my morning fog.
The kids’ daily schoolwork schedules might be something else you want to determine ahead of time. Granted, if you don’t give them a schedule, much of the decision-making is on them. But how they choose to use their day does affect us moms, and oftentimes not for the better, lol.
The kid who waits to do math until the very last thing, and then wants to ask me a question about something he doesn’t understand — usually after dinner when I am just SO done for the day, hello. Or the constant questions: Mom, do I have to do spelling today? Mom, can I watch Phineas & Ferb now? Mom, when’s lunch? –None of those will require a different answer than “check the schedule.”
With little ones, I always found a schedule to be conducive to my own sanity and their self-controlled behavior. A lack of schedule always correlated with a cluttered house, kids running everywhere screaming, and a corresponding mommy meltdown. So I made a detailed plan for us all while I was sane, and then we kept the sanity going by keeping to the schedule. Less decisions to make all day for EVERYONE meant a more harmonious home. You can see a sample schedule from our home here: The Many Lives of a Homeschool Schedule.
And the what to wear conundrum becomes a lot easier when you have already decluttered your closet and left in there only what makes you feel good every time you wear it. The decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of were made when you had time to try everything on and evaluate it dispassionately, to create outfits that really work, and to be honest with yourself about what doesn’t or what you haven’t worn in forever. So when you are rushing out to an appointment and have 15 minutes to put clothes and face on and do your hair, it is easy to grab something you can feel confident about.
One of the most obvious examples of making decisions ahead of time is the family budget. When you and the hubby sit down and plan how to spend your money before you have it, there is less chance that you will spend it recklessly in a moment of temptation. One of the best ways to do get ahead is to live on last month's income — which is a financial goal we are still working on around here, lol.
Too many decisions each day can cause a cluttered brain, forgotten appointments, and lotsa stress. Make as many decisions as you can ahead of time, and all of your days will run more like that well-oiled machine we'd like them to. When you do get off track, it's also much easier to get back on it when the plan has already been determined, because you can just start again where you left off. Try one of these ways to get some of your decision-making out of the way before you need it, and see for yourself!