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Don't Get Bogged Down in Irrelevant Decisions

Good decisions are hard - sometimes it's cheaper to just flip a coin.

By
Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #5


You subscribe to ConsumerReports.org, you print descriptions of dozensdecision making
of washers, and compare them feature by feature. You call the store and ask about delivery options and service plans. And you realize you can have your dryer venting cleaned as long as the workmen will be poking around. And, you know, since you’re moving the dryer to get at the duct, maybe you should just buy a new dryer to match the new washer.

Soon, your $800 purchase has become a major renovation. Your research gave you so many overspending opportunities that now you're spending thousands on an extra appliance, delivery, and duct-cleaning. Oh, yeah--and during the project, you’ll be driving your laundry to the laundromat and spending two hours a week doing laundry in bad lighting.

You just spent hundreds of dollars, twelve hours of research time, six hours of laundromat duty, gas to drive there, and the self-esteem nightmare of laundromat lighting, all because you didn’t want to say “yes” to the saleswoman’s $800 suggestion. When you add it all up, you'd have been way better off just buying the dryer.

 

Avoid Pointless Debates

Some decisions have a non-monetary cost. When you and your husband/
wife/transgendered partner or polyamorous family unit decide to go to
dinner, you might want a sandwich whereas they want to try a new
ethnic restaurant where the food still has eyeballs. Should you
graciously say, “Yes,” firmly say “No,” or debate? If you debate, it
could become an argument. If you smile brightly and say, “Yes, let’s
be adventurous!”, you get major relationship brownie points. Maybe
even extra snuggling. If you say, “No, let’s discuss it,” even if you
settle on the food-with-a-face, you don’t get the points. With
interpersonal decisions, sometimes saying “Yes, dear” and bypassing
the decision can be worth way more than getting your way. And you can
always order the rice as a safe backup dish.

What's Really Important?

If my first employers had just made decisions and spent money, instead
of spending money to not-make decisions, they might have survived. You don't need to make their mistake.

Today, put it to work. Review the major decisions you’re making about
things to buy, places to go, people to see, and all that stuff. Notice
how much work goes into each decision, and ask yourself how important
each one really is. Then for the decisions that aren’t worth the cost
of deciding, just flip a coin. You’ll free up your mind and you’ll
move things forward
, and all for less than it would take to make a
decision.

Another decision worth making is to send in some questions about how
to Work Less and Do More. E-mail your question to getitdone@quickanddirtytips.com,,
Do More, and have a Great Life!

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About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.