Tell us: Have you experienced decision-making fatigue? Share your stories and advice in the Comments.
Overseeing a major renovation involves a lot of decision making. Even with the best builders and most experienced professionals on your team, you might be called on to make hundreds of choices. These range from the significant to the more aesthetic, from where to position the kitchen island to which color you want for the electrical outlet covers. Then you have to choose paint shades, furniture, window treatments, flooring. It’s enough to make even a seasoned renovator’s head spin. In fact, a big project can produce a severe case of decision-making fatigue. The following symptoms are typical of this common, but sometimes devastating, condition.
You seek opinions from anyone and everyone. You know you’re experiencing decision-making fatigue when you find yourself asking advice from other, not necessarily qualified people. You ask your mom, your hairdresser and the guy who delivers sandwiches to the office about everything from solar panels and side returns to curtains and blinds. When you collar the mail carrier to ask what color the front door should be, you know you’ve gone too far.
You’ve become evasive. You’ve turned your cellphone to “silent”/fed it to the dog/dropped it in a cement mixer. You are actively avoiding your builder and have been known to hide behind parked cars and trash bins to evade him. The mere sight of a subcontractor approaching with a home-supply catalog has you hyperventilating. You’re not being paranoid: He is going to ask where you want to position the electrical outlets in the cabinet under the stairs. Run!
You dream about decisions. The sweet embrace of sleep offers no respite. Instead, you dream about choices — those you’ve yet to make and those you’ve made, which maybe you shouldn’t have, unless maybe you were right the first time?
You’ve spent a lot on paint samples. And when we say a lot, we mean a lot. You could treat a family of four to a fancy dinner with the amount of money you’ve shelled out for those little cans. In searching for that elusive perfect shade, you find yourself grabbing can after can, each new purchase promising decorating heaven but instead delivering more confusion. Pure white is starting to seem like the most sensible option.
You’re indecisive in all areas. If you can’t decide what to spread on your toast at breakfast without checking Houzz or a design blog first, you’ve clearly lost your way when it comes to making decisions. Remind yourself: You don’t need to create a mood board to make a cup of coffee.
You’ve changed your plans. You were thinking of going eclectic in the kitchen, with some softly industrial touches thrown in, along with a few pops of color. But when you looked into creating that style, it seemed to involve a lot of decisions. And you’re feeling a bit tired today. So you might change your mind on this. In fact, right about now, minimalist is looking pretty good to you.
You’ve spent three weeks researching light switches. But you’re still not completely happy with the ones you’ve ordered. Are they as suitable as those other switches you saw? Will you forever regret not spending just a few dollars more on those really fancy German-engineered ones? Should you have gone with a slider rather than a traditional switch? And what’s wrong with white plastic anyway?
You no longer get asked out.When dinner invitations from friends dry up, this can be a sign that you have decision-making fatigue. Strangely, friends don’t want to hang out with you when you’re too exhausted from the renovation work to be any fun. Or to hear you ramble on about why you chose engineered flooring over laminate. Or to be asked to help you pick an armchair. Or all three at once.
You can’t think about the garden.You had planned to work on the garden or the patio at the same time as the interior renovation. Get it all done at once, you know? But now you’re so shattered from the work inside that you can’t begin to contemplate making choices for the outside. You no longer find yourself talking about the garden as an “outdoor room.” Instead, it’s simply “out there,” a place to be tackled next year. Or maybe the year after.
You’re buying everything from the same place. Forget shopping around and taking your time hand-picking each new item for your renovated home. You suddenly have the urge to do the interiors equivalent of a supermarket sweep. The idea of grabbing everything from one store, in one hit, sounds brilliant. Your language has changed too. You no longer speak about choosing carefully, doing research and picking the right thing. These days you’re much more likely to be heard saying, “That’ll do” and “Let’s just get this one — since we’re here.”