Deb Kerry Has Decision Fatigue

This week’s topic here at the Ball is Deb’s Choice.

I’m pretty sure this idea was meant to be in the spirit of freedom and fun, as in, “Yay!! No boundaries! No limits! I’m free!!”

My response was a little more on the groaning side of things. The fact is, I’m not crazy about making decisions. I mean, it’s great to have wide open choices, so long as I’m not expected to, you know, actually pick one.

Have you ever thought about how many choices you have to make in a day? The decision trees that face you before you even make it out of bed in the morning are staggering.

You’re lying in bed and come to understand that you are now awake. And now, already, you have a choice to make: open your eyes, or keep them closed? Let’s say you choose option one and open them. Now you have another decision – look at the clock or don’t look at the clock. Supposing the situation is then complicated by your alarm blaring obnoxiously – do you turn it off? Hit the snooze button? Hurl the clock against the wall?

Next – to get up, or not to get up? If you choose not to get up, do you go back to sleep? Check Twitter on your phone? Read a book? Snuggle up to your lover?

If you choose to get out of bed a whole avalanche of decisions can threaten to sweep you away, involving issues such as breakfast, clothing, beverage, social media, kids, job, and a million other things. It’s really not surprising that a lot of us are ready for a nap after we’ve been up for an hour. Just look at how many decisions we’ve had to make in that short space of time!

And if you’ve chosen to be a writer – well then you’ve just complicated it a million times over. Now, besides all of the real life stuff, you have to make decisions for your character, and your characters cat, and her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s mother. You have to decide who gets a point of view and who doesn’t, how long your chapters are going to be, what genre you’re writing in and whether to allow a small penguin to make itself at home on the page.

All of this decision making is one reason why I love my morning coffee ritual. I know, every day, exactly what I’m going to do when I get out of bed. I’m going to make myself some coffee.  I will heat the kettle, use my favorite fresh ground beans, and use my favorite mug. There will be the perfect amount of cream, no sugar. And I will sit down on the couch and savor it.  There’s an unwritten rule that says I don’t have to make any more decisions – not a single one – until I’ve gotten to the bottom of that first perfect cup. (Except whether or not to pet the cat, and that is only the illusion of a decision. What the cat wants, the cat will get. Eventually)

Once I am awake, it is possible to navigate the craziness and chaos of the day, one decision at a time.

It’s always good to know, in this crazy old world, that there are a few things you can depend on. Coffee first thing in the morning is one of them.

Do you have a routine that makes this whole deciding thing easier? How do you feel about coffee? Cats? 

6 Replies to “Deb Kerry Has Decision Fatigue”

  1. Decisions first thing in the morning are definitely rough. As you will see tomorrow, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, but unless I’ve planned ahead, I could eat any number of things and often have trouble deciding. My default is usually cereal — but then I have to decide what kind. Cold? Hot? Either way, like your routine with coffee, breakfast is a non-negotiable part of my morning routine, and from there, the decisions seem to get a little easier. Until, of course, I open my WIP and have to decide which way to take the story, and then…sigh.

    1. Breakfast is a whole decisional mess. Healthy or, um, tasty? Oatmeal or yogurt and granola? Eggs? Hashbrowns? The Evil Arches? Peanut butter on whatever peanut butter might go on? Leftovers? Take the back way to work or the highway? Breakfast used to be something I skipped a lot, actually. I came to realize it was a necessity when I was doing crisis work and sometimes never had a chance to eat again until I got off work.

  2. Coffee and cats are both VERY good decisions. I approve. I also love your morning ritual. In my family, we have the inverse of that (probably because I get my morning coffee at the office). The rules is that I don’t have to make ANY decisions, and can’t be asked to do so, for 15 minutes after I get home from the office. This impacts primarily the question of “what’s for dinner” but also things like “I didn’t finish my homework” and “who’s going to clean up the cat puke on the rug?”

    (OK, I might have lied about the last one. The answer to that is SOMEONE NOT ME.)

    1. Susan, you actually have a SOMEONE NOT ME at your house??? Where do you find such a person? Because there certainly isn’t one here. All we have is I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THAT and I DIDN’T DO IT.

  3. You’re so right on with the first ritual of the day–there’s absolutely nothing like a steaming cup of coffee in a beautiful mug. I don’t have a favorite, but I have a few I love and rotate. I don’t usually mind decisions because I don’t dig when someone else makes them for me, but there are definitely times that I want to lock the door and sink into a bubble bath away from the world of constant need!

  4. Heather – there are days when I have absolutely no problem making decisions! Only when I’m tired and overloaded it gets to be a little much. These days there are just so many big ones that even the little ones are getting to be difficult.

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