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Now-a-days I get confused at small things. When It comes to making choices/taking decisions, I get confused and unable to make my own choices even if the choices are not a big deal. When I have to handle too many tasks together, I get confused... It's like confusion is becoming a habit to me... I really feel stressed at the time of confusion. My life is great and hardly I have any problems, but the only thing that seems problematic is my habit of getting confused/stressed at small things... Please suggest me some tips to override confusion and stress.

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I'm not sure if there's a good answer for this question. You speak of terms that are very subjective to each person such as confusion, problems, stress. Could you describe a couple of examples in which said confusion is compromising your productivity? –  Renan Jan 31 '12 at 19:41
    
Yes Renan I agree that each and every person have confusion and stress but within a certain limit..But if this limit exceeds,it becomes troublesome..As in nowadays even while making small choices though the choices are not that important,my mind gets confused and stressed due to which I am unable to concentrate on my work and which leads to wastage of my time,less productivity as well as disturbed mind.. –  Prasiddhi Feb 1 '12 at 6:54

7 Answers 7

You are actually describing two problems, so let's split them up.

Unable to make choices

Making a choice is a habit. Eben Pagan once described it as a muscle you can train. If you don't train it, even simple choices get difficult. His advice was to train it by taking decisions. Start on the small choices, just make one, and don't worry too much about whether it is the right one. Through enough practice this will become easier, then move on to bigger decisions.

Getting confused / overwhelmed by too many tasks

This is usually because you keep all your tasks in your head, or not in a proper system your mind trusts. Look at this question for more details to get this problem solved: How to prevent from being overwhelmed

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I tried making small choices without worrying much..Thanks for the suggestion..It was helpful :-) –  Prasiddhi Feb 13 '12 at 6:12

Following daRoBBie's sensible split...

Unable to make choices The one thing that's made a big difference for me is to imagine the choice in the past - so ask yourself "When I look back on this moment in six months time, would I rather have quit this habit/job/relationship and be somewhere else, or would I rather be making progress with X/Y/Z

Getting confused / overwhelmed by too many tasks This is one of Dave Allen's big platforms (and daRoBBie has already talked a little about it). If you have a list/bucket/system that you trust - it utterly relaxes you for the task you are dealing with. This is something I was very sceptical of, but it turns out to be true. I know I work though my list without missing anything and have done for years. So when I pop something onto my list I suddenly stop thinking about it until next time I look at my list and choose something to deal with. I notice this particularly when I've not had a chance to to something on my list yet - I'll spend the next hour trying to concentrate on a conversation with someone while my mind keeps shouting 'Book dentist' at me. As soon as I make a note saying 'Book dentist' I start to be able to concentrate again. It's a weird feeling, but it's very liberating.

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I tried implementing both of your suggestions and they are indeed very helpful...Thanks a lot Joe for your suggestions :-) –  Prasiddhi Feb 13 '12 at 6:39

The other answers here have excellent suggestions. For the issue of having too many tasks, I would add that having a system you trust absolutely is the way to go. Never assume that you will "remember to do that". Some people like to-do lists, but if you have a lot of things on the go, it's good to have a to-do list as well as some type of calendar or way of scheduling those tasks into your schedule. If you have a lot of little tasks, grouping similar items together can help too. Make sure you cross things off your calendar and/or to-do list to keep track of things and get the satisfaction of progress.

The "habit of getting confused/stressed at small things" is a harder one to tackle, because habitual behaviors are generally deeply engrained, and this is more to do with your mental state of being. To begin with, it sounds like tracking your to-do items should remove the stress from the small things, so long as you trust that you will cover all the bases using your system. Stress is a part of life and, whether it's a small amount or large, and something we all deal with. Major issues will still bring you some level of stress, but if you approach things in an organized manner, it's surprising how this really is half the battle. I really like the idea in another answer... if you look back on this... did you give proper priority to the right tasks. When priorities change (daily sometimes), you just need to be able to honestly tell yourself that you focused on the right things for your situation. If you can do that, you have been proactive and done the right things.

Don't expect stress to disappear, but if you do these things (have a system of tracking tasks, and focusing on the right priorities) you should find stress levels drop. I watch people who are cool under pressure, and think we can all take a page from their playbook. Be confident that you can handle what comes your way, but also ask for help when needed. Other things that might help could include running your priorities by a peer somewhat familiar with your situation and asking if they think you are in-line with reality, as well as being able to put aside thoughts about other tasks while you focus on the current task.

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Hey Dallas,Thanks a lot for your suggestion :-) –  Prasiddhi Feb 13 '12 at 6:16

Try this: First get a small notebook. At work, I've used a little 8"x5" notebook, but if your situation occurs when you are out and about maybe use a smaller moleskine-type pad. When you catch yourself in your confusion, try to write your way out of it. You can start with "I am feeling confused about this." Write whatever comes to mind about it. It may be dry, like strictly objective about the situation, it may be how you feel about the situation, and/or it may be how you feel about your being confused about the situation. It doesn't have to be a multi-page soul-probing epic, though that's fine if that's what comes up. More practically, it could be a few sentences, a paragraph. If I'm doing it, I try to quickly acknowledge what I'm feeling, quickly note if I think there's a reason or emotional trigger, and then jot down something practical like next steps.

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hmm..seems to be effective..will surely try this..Thanks for the idea :-) –  Prasiddhi Feb 13 '12 at 6:24

You need to evaluate the higher purpose of why the small things are entering your consciousnesses. Ask yourself. "What is this really and why did this capture my attention." Whats the successful outcome of me having handled this small thing? Is that important?

It could be that you are giving yourself too many options. If you start to think about the higher purpose of the things in your life you should be able to eliminate those that are not really so important after all.

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Personally, I think confusion is necessairy (to a certain extend). After confusion comes clarity (for sure). They both come together and cannot exist alone. Confusion is like breaking the down the web of information. And this is necessairy before our mind comes up with a new order, new structure of knowledge. So my advice would be to embrace confusion and learn patience, because clarity will come.

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That's a great question. I've got almost zero free time in my days and for the last few years I've created a simple system for keeping myself on track and not confused:

a. Pick an online tool to list out whatever it is you're considering/confused about

b. Jot down, quickly, the key things that you'll need to do to accomplish this thing

c. When you're feeling confused - focus on one of the things you wrote down and focus on one of the small steps you listed for accomplishing it

  • I also use pen and paper sometimes but always regret it. For me this is a long-term strategy and forgetting pen and/or paper is fairly common for me....but my laptop and cell phone are almost always nearby.

Great answers on this question - have learned some new ideas.

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