I’ve written about how organising a closet, or any other space, can be overwhelming unless we establish our priorities. If we know our bottom line – the thing that is most important to us about this project – that one decision eliminates most of the others. The most difficult part is the decision fatigue, and once we get rid of that that, it’s smooth sailing!
Well, what works for the closet works for life.
It is said that the average adult makes something like 30,000 decisions per day. Talk about decision fatigue.
But what if we could eliminate the vast majority of those decisions by establishing our bottom line (or lines) in life? If we knew what was absolutely most important to us, so many of the big or small decisions would be made.
Let’s take the example of budgeting money. If you decide that saving for a house is your bottom line, then every other financial decision has to be subject to that one. You can decide on an amount you want to save, and the time it will take to save that amount. That’s your bottom line. Now: Trying to decide about taking a vacation? How does it affect your ability to save up that deposit? Unsure about buying concert tickets? How do they affect your ability to reach your savings goal? And on and on.
Even something as mundane as whether or not you will buy coffee on the go or make it at home is determined by this bottom line. You’ve eliminated many big and small decisions from your days.
It’s also true for less concrete things. Does your family have priorities in life? How do you make decisions about jobs, schools, travel, housing? Do you choose what is most convenient? Then convenience is your bottom line. Or maybe you choose things so that you can always be close to extended family. In that case, your bottom line is clear, and moving far away from family, even for something like a better job, is not an option.
But it seems like many people don’t have a bottom line- or at least, not a conscious one. They haven’t taken the time to sit down and think through what is truly most important for them. Somehow they ended up in the job they are in and the place where they live, without considering if it aligns with what they care about the most.
So when it comes time to make a big decision, they’re at a loss for what to do. Should they move to be in a better school district, even though it means a longer commute to work? Should they change careers if job is more enjoyable but the salary bracket is lower?
Without a bottom line, it’s a lot more difficult to make a good decision.
But once you’ve decided what’s important to you (whether for this season of life, or your whole life), then you can hold up every other decision in light of that. Isn’t that a freeing thought?
If someone asked you what your bottom line in life is, what would you say? What would your friends say is your bottom line?