Clarity Hunt Post Four - Decision Overload

(A continuation of Clarity Hunt Post Three.)

In Honour of Truffle 2000-2014
I've had an epiphany and I want to flesh it out here.  Then I'm covering both bases--updating my readers and making sense of it for myself.

Feeling Unproductive 

From the outside, anyone who knows me may assume I have an easy life.  What could stress me out?  God has blessed us.  Someone might even wonder what I do all day since I don't work outside my home office.

Often, lately, I awake with no real agenda.  While I have lots to do, I default to indecision.  I might sit on Facebook longer, I might drink three cups of coffee while browsing the internet.  I might go for a nap.  I might as well hibernate!

In coming up with reasons for my malaise, aside from recovering from the flu, I've listed everything from being in a state of empty nest grieving, to being lazy. I'm well aware of how much I'm not accomplishing.

Looking for an Escape 

I decided I was bored and needed something new to do.  I looked over job and volunteer postings, thinking if I had a new role to define me I would know what to do each day.

The deception here was thinking going out to something new would help all my other responsibilities fall into place.  I could be justified with a new title. Maybe so.  

Applying for these positions online from home is the easy part.  But when I picture myself actually getting up, getting dressed, and going out to a new job or steady volunteer work, there is a huge hesitation.

Reasons For Hesitation

I realize I hesitate because my existing life has been well carved out based on what I love to do and on what works for me and my family.  I like to believe my work (which encompasses housework and paid work) has been assigned by God too since he leads us along the best path for our lives.

Time and again over this clarity hunt I've tried to reconcile what I feel is my calling with bearing fruit by way of sales.  When sales are low I am down.  Time and again I've tried to reconcile a theory that was again given to me in my study--that God will move me forward when he decides.  I couldn't figure out if where I was was God's plan, why did I often feel so bored and unproductive?

Inwardly, I'd prefer the life I already have to function better.

An Epiphany

Today, I asked my husband what he would do if he had an open schedule as I do. He told me he would probably list all he wanted to do and put it into a calendar. I've tried that.  Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.

It hasn't been working lately--to be fair--because I've been sick with the flu. Nevertheless, as I've begun to feel better, I'm overwhelmed with where to start. Suddenly all I have to do seems boring and needless, which is why I've been online searching for a new gig.

But as I searched online, I came across a blog post about "Decision Overload" which may also be called "Decision Burnout."

It makes sense.  Every day we have so many decisions to make from what to eat for breakfast to what to cook for dinner; what clothes to wear and how to wear our hair.  Just deciding on what jewelry to add to an outfit can put me back a good five to ten minutes before going out to an appointment.

There are decisions about what task to work on first--paid work, writing, housework, dog care, exercise, you name it.

I realize the reason for my recent laziness is decision overload.  It's been building up over four months.  My epiphany is that I need to let myself de-stress from it all before I'm equipped to add in anything new.

Back-Tracking 

Here are a few decision making scenarios I've been caught up in over the last several months.

1st Scenario 

About four months ago, issues with an extended family member arose.  I wasn't directly involved, but was a support to other family members.  The problem played on my mind.  I made several phone calls to professionals to figure out how to navigate the situation.

This issue involved asking a lot of "What if we do this?" "Should we do that?" and explaining "What happened, when."  Lots of prayer was involved for this person.

Nearly every second day over four months I was updated either by phone call or email on this ongoing dilemma.  So I've been keyed up.

2nd Scenario 

My husband needed surgery.  We had it planned and he'd handed in his disability papers.  Three days before his surgery, though, he was terminated from his company.  Not only was it stressful caring for him, but his company was demanding he sign legal papers while still in recovery and on pain medication.

I acted as his personal assistant vetting his phone calls and emails which were now coming to my personal account.  I had to set up a new account for him since his computer and phone were removed without notice. For weeks, we were in a state of shock and decision making over this serious dilemma.

3rd Scenario 

In November, my cat's health began failing.  She had a tumor and suddenly it was growing fast. Day upon day, I had to decide what dosage of pills to give her at what time, what to feed her, and so on.

Knowing the end was coming was full of indecision about what was best for her. She died at home December 22, three days before Christmas.

4th Scenario 

Next, my husband was approached by nine companies about possible employment. He had a string of interviews and was given four firm offers of employment.

This was an exciting relief, but my husband was in a quandary about which job to choose! They were all similar positions and all with very good companies.

Daily for two months, he and I bantered about possible scenarios.  Deciding was so confusing we tried things like drawing straws, drawing a business card from a hand, doing a coin toss, having our dog choose a snack on top of a business card. Each time the results varied.  Don't get me wrong, he wasn't treating these offers frivolously, he just was overwhelmed to be pursued in such a way by companies he respected.

My husband phoned trusted friends to toss the ideas about.  We fasted.  We prayed.  It had to be his decision, and I was his sounding board.  I would support him.  Then finally, information came to light that cleared up some misconceptions, and he made a decision and we could relax.

5th Scenario 

Then, my mother was admitted to the hospital with heart failure. The only decision then was when to visit.  But she often asks me what she should do with all the inventory in her home.  I know she doesn't really want answers, but my mind becomes overwhelmed with thinking about her impending end.

Let me just say all through this we had celebrated Christmas, brought our kids home for Christmas and moved them back to their dorms.  We'd stocked them up with groceries.  I'd continued to meet with my mastermind group and write web content, tried to walk the dog, do housework, and so on.

6th Scenario 

Over the years, I have often gotten cluster headaches and also a type of myalgia in my shoulders.  When I get a bout it can last a week to several weeks. In While my mom was in the hospital, I came down with an episode.  When I get this, I can't focus well mentally and I refrain from housework while I take pain pills.

I also suffer with head buzzing.  I don't call it tinnitus because it isn't in the ears as far as I'm concerned.  It's systemic.  It is troubling.

Down with this pain, the Christmas decor had to wait to be put away as did the clutter left behind by Christmas gifts and my children's preparations to return to school.

7th Scenario

We were to host a small group January 11th.  The date got changed to the 18th, but the time also changed.  We had offered to make a dinner since the time was moved to evening.  But now, between the stress and the headache, I couldn't fathom preparing for the group.

Then news came that some in the group had an issue with having a meal. This "issue" was the last straw that broke this camel's back.  The stress of the last four months caught up with me and I had a meltdown and cancelled the group.

8th Scenario

My daughter came home for the weekend from school with the flu.  We hoped not to catch it, but we did.  Now for over a week, we've been trying to heal.

But while healing, I look around and see jobs that need to be tackled and I feel unmotivated and lazy.  In reality, I'm burnt out.

Solution

The blog I read today offered some good solutions and I've added my own.

First, I'm going to take a bit longer to recover by intentionally NOT making extra decisions for a couple days.

Then, I will revisit how I want my work to look.  My work includes time spent writing, coaching, selling articles, caring for my home, creating art, getting exercise and enjoying the outdoors.  I'm a Proverbs 31 woman!  It all counts from the time spent buying spices at the grocery store, to the time spent buying new linens. (ha ha)

So I'll focus on these main areas and then draft up a schedule.  I know my energy level, wellness, kids' interruptions and so on will interfere, but I'll stay flexible.

I'll streamline my life.  The more organized my house is, the easier it is to get on to other things.  I have on my to-do list to reorganize my jewelry.  I know a sorted jewel area will help me cut time when dressing.  I'll streamline drawers and closets again.  I'll try to plan a week of meals so daily meal decisions won't be needed.

Then I'll work the plan.  I'll carry forward unfinished tasks and weekly make a new list.  Only when the plan is in fluid motion will I add in anything new.  If volunteer work fits, I'll take it.  If another job fits, I'll take it.

The goal of this planning is to minimize decision-making and preserve my brain power.  If a new adventure really calls my name, I want to be ready to accept it.

So alas, I'm so thankful I gained clarity on why I've felt in a funk lately--I've been stuck in "decision overload."








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