Organisation Principle #2: Make the Decision Once

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After you have resolved to minimize decision fatigue, and you’ve established your bottom line, it’s time to implement the second key principle in getting organised: Make the Decision Once.

Did anyone else grow up with the old proverb, “a place for everything, and everything in its place”?

I wish I had accepted its wisdom when I was younger. You see, I thought it was just one of those annoying sayings that adults used to make children want to tidy (how that would ever work, I don’t know), or something highly organized people would say …

I didn’t realize that it would actually save me endless amounts of decision fatigue.

Once I was at a friend’s house, trying to help her tidy after the children had been particularly messy that day. I picked up an object and asked, “where does this go?”

“I don’t know,” she replied, gesturing vaguely around. “It doesn’t really go anywhere.”

Then it struck me. If this object (and every other object) didn’t have a place where it “lived” normally, then every single time she tried to tidy up, she would have to make a new decision about where to put it. No wonder cleaning up was an overwhelming task! No wonder the children could never be made to do it.

Imagine if you could look at a messy room, decide to clean it, and have that be the only decision you had to make. (That, and what beverage you might have as a reward while surveying your newly clean room.)

From then on, you could just pick up each thing and put it away without ever having to think about it. You could put on a podcast, or turn on your favorite music, or just zone out for some much need marginal brain space. You could even use tidying as a break from deep mental work, because it would be mindless physical activity.

That sounds like a lot less of a chore to me.

What decision do you need to make?