We're putting off decisions at the moment – this is how to make them easier

Decision-making can come loaded with stress and anxiety – depending on how unsure you feel about your choice and the weight of the situation.

As a result, we’re a nation of procrastinators, and new research confirms that we prefer to put off important decisions.

Credit marketplace ClearScore has found that 42% of us believe we’re being asked to make more decisions than ever before.

When life was put on hold over multiple lockdowns, choices were too, meaning that for some Brits the number of things to address has stacked up.

Nearly a quarter of those surveyed will now delay decisions about their health, 21% will do so about their social lives and 18% will do this over money.

Also, a third of us now mull over choices for longer than we did pre-pandemic, revealing another anxiety the global health crisis has brought us.

Less than a quarter of adults consider themselves as decisive, and more than half say indecision causes them to delay necessary action – or put it off completely.

This might mean we’re missing out on things.

Those aged 35 to 44 are more guilty of this – perhaps because of the kinds of decisions typically made in this age group.

Meanwhile Gen Z are the most likely to avoid making money decisions, finding that area more stressful than other aspects of their lives.

Over a third of us are losing sleep over making the ‘wrong’ decision and 40% would doubt themselves on a decision they were confident in if someone else questioned them.

How to be surer of your decisions, according to Dr Briony Pulford

Reduce decisions: If decision-making causes you stress, then try to reduce the number that you have to make. Separate the necessary choices from the things you don’t need to consider just yet and make those your focus.

Get guidance: Don’t assume that your knowledge is perfect. Get a second (or third) opinion. Other perspectives, other people with different life experience and knowledge can help you to understand a situation more fully, giving you confidence.

Be open-minded to new information: Lots of new information can feel confusing, but the jigsaw will fit together as you add new pieces, and you’ll see how it all connects eventually. 

Dr Briony Pulford stresses this may be a heightened experience now because of the pandemic.

She says: ‘Feeling under pressure or out of our comfort zone makes it harder to reach decisions.

‘Given the year we have all been through, it’s no surprise many are finding it tough to make choices quickly, without questioning themselves too much.

‘This indecision limbo makes those feelings of pressure worse.’

It’s not all bad news though, she adds: ‘There is a balance. We need to feel unsure some of the time when we are naïve and uninformed because it prompts us to seek more information, meaning we get to better conclusions.

‘But excessive or long-term uncertainty can be bad for us physically and psychologically.’

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