I’m a fan of exploring personality types, because I’ve been able to channel what I’ve discovered about my strengths and my weaknesses into some very concrete, practical changes that have improved my relationships with others and the rhythm of my days.
The two biggest kinds of change, hands-down, have been those that relate to decision making and structure.
Neither comes easy for me. In Myers-Briggs parlance, I need a little more “J” in my life. I’ve been reading up on the enneagram lately, and it’s in complete agreement: “Making choices can be very difficult [for nines]. You can see the advantages and disadvantages of all options.”
Creating habits that limit choices
Exploring personality types has made me realize how easy it is for me to succumb to decision overload, and I’ve made some intentional changes as a result.
And even though I’m a frugal girl at heart, I keep my comparison shopping to a bare minimum to prevent myself from going crazy.
I feel like I can only make so many decisions each day without melting down, and if I can spare myself a few hundred by shopping at a different grocery store, I should do it. Deliberately restricting my choices conserves vast amounts of time and energy, and I suffer from decision paralysis a lot less than I did a few years ago.
Creating routines so I can actually accomplish something
Exploring personality types has also helped me realize that even though I fight scheduling, I feel better–and get a lot more done–when I’m working within the boundaries of a defined routine.
My enneagram profile put this a little more bluntly: “If you don’t have some routine or structure in your day, you get almost nothing done.”
But I have to agree: even though I hate to limit my options, I do much better with a schedule. It’s taken me years to learn this.
But of course it makes sense: a schedule is another way of narrowing choices. If I’ve decided in advance that every day I’ll wake up at 5:30, work out at 7, and start homeschool at 9, that’s three less decisions I have to make. I don’t have to decide moment-by-moment what to do next.
For you decisive types this is no big deal, but to someone who struggles with decisions it’s a revelation.
I’ve carried it a little further: I eat pretty much the same thing every day, I wear some variation of the same outfit, and I have basically two hairstyles.
It’s not boring; it’s liberating. I’ve found so much freedom in tightly restricting my choices.
There are still areas I struggle with, daily events that continue to take up more mental energy than they should. (Two words: Kids. Snacktime.) But I’ve made progress these past few years, and I’m grateful for it.
Are you vulnerable to decision fatigue? Any hacks for minimizing decision making? (If you have good advice for snacktime, I’m all ears.)
P.S. I wrote a book about personality! In Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, I walk you through 7 different frameworks, explaining the basics in a way you can actually understand, sharing personal stories about how what I learned made a difference in my life, and showing you how it could make a difference in yours, as well.