Every day is filled with decision after decision. Your day starts with decisions like what to wear. At work, you decide what is your most important task for work to do that day. The day ends with decisions like what’s for dinner. What if you did not have to make so many decisions each day? What if some decisions were already made by you ahead of time?
One of the hardest things for people with ADHD is making decisions. There are thousands of decisions to make every day which can lead to feeling overwhelmed. What if, as Bobby Powers says, you only had to make one decision and prevent making all those others? What if the one decision also prevented you from stressing more? That is what is powerful about pre-decision making.
What is pre-decision making?
A pre-decision is making a decision made before the decision is needed in a certain circumstance, based on ethics, principles, and goals. That decision can be brought about by a series of unfortunate events (not wearing matching shoes to work because you are deciding between two pairs) to goals (eating healthier so not stopping for fast food).
What can pre-decision making apply to?
Each of us has different goals we are working on and these goals require in-the-moment decisions to keep. Here are some examples you might think about for your pre-decisions.
- Deciding to get more steps in daily, you park farther away in the parking lot.
- Getting more meals ready for dinner, you choose to have breakfast for dinner each Friday night.
- Making it easier to get out the door on time, you choose your attire for the night, set up lunch prep, or make coffee at night before bed.
- Getting a good night’s rest, you charge your cell phone and devices in the kitchen in the common charging spot.
Some people might call these rules, routines, or principles to live by. In all these cases decisions were made ahead of time to meet the desired outcome.
How do you make a good pre-decision?
Start by thinking about which decisions you make daily over and over. Which decisions are overwhelming you? Where could you simplify life or meet a goal with a pre-decision? Now you have a motivation and a “why” behind your decision. Keep it simple with this if/then statement. Because I want to (accomplish this goal), if (specific situation happens) then I am going to (pre-determined decision.)
The pre-decision starts as soon as possible. Post this where you can see it. Share your pre-decision with others so they know why and what your decision will be. While you may not always follow your pre-decision, be sure to keep it as much as possible and more than not. If you find you are breaking it repeatedly, start with a different pre-decision that reinforces this same goal.
What pre-decisions will do is save you time, energy, money, and most especially stress. If you find yourself making the same small or large decisions over and over, it is time for pre-decisionmaking.