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My Co-Worker Made Decisions For Me For A Week And This Is What Happened

It actually went pretty well... I think? I can't decide.

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I'm Andrea. I consider myself to be a very indecisive person.

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

I frequently get tripped up by even the most mundane decision-making moments in my life. If I've made plans to eat or get drinks with someone, I'd rather not be the one to decide where we go, and if I am, it takes me forever to figure something out. I don't know if that's more because I don't trust my own judgment and don't want the blame if I choose something that doesn't end up being good, or if I really just can't be put on the spot. Probably a mixture of both.

Other indecisive situations that come up often for me include buying groceries, buying clothes, or buying really anything. I get overstimulated by everything I'm looking at and by being around a ton of people at once, and then having to make a decision about one product over another (or even whether to buy it at all) becomes too much. If you didn't already guess, my indecisiveness definitely has a lot to do with anxiety!

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I decided to ask my friend and co-worker, Erin Chack, a self-proclaimed decisive person, if she would try making decisions for me for five days.

Erin Chack / BuzzFeed

I wanted to know what it would feel like to take action without overthinking. I also wanted to feel like less of a wishy-washy flake when making plans. Above all, I wanted to see if having someone make my decisions for me would help me realize that making decisions doesn't have to feel catastrophic.

Ground Rules

* Erin would guide me only when I couldn't make a decision. If I already knew what to do about something, Erin wouldn't weigh in.

* Erin wouldn't try to ruin, or improve, my life. She wasn't going to use her decision-making power to make me do outrageous things that I normally wouldn't do. She also wasn't going to be a life coach.

* If it would inform her decision-making, Erin was allowed to ask me questions surrounding the situations I was in. For example, if I asked Erin if I should stay out at a party or go home, she would be allowed to ask how I was feeling, how many drinks I had already, etc.

* We wouldn't plan ahead. To make sure I was basically living a normal week of my life, we decided to let the events of the week unfold and take everything as it came. We wanted to make sure what we were doing during the week wasn't influenced by our goals for the result.

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The rest of the day, I was surprisingly decisive, or maybe just busy.

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

I was surprised that this day wasn't filled with tough decisions right off the bat, but I ended up just being busy with work.

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I'm not sure if the last one was really indecisiveness or if I just felt like I needed to be told when to go to bed. I have nights where I'm tired and know I should go to sleep, but I stay up doing nothing, and then lose sleep. (I think that would be considered a form of indecisiveness.) This felt like a good way to avoid that.

I realized again that my actual workday didn't really involve tough decision-making, but this time, I had some dilemmas about food. I'm glad the CVS thing came up too, because situations that involve waiting in line for a long time always give me anxiety, and I always end up on the brink of saying "forget it" and walking out.

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I had another dilemma that morning when I couldn't choose an oatmeal flavor. It was so trivial, but it felt nice to have someone just tell me without having to think about it myself.

That night, I went to a party at a bar and told my friends that I was going to leave if Erin said I should. I was glad she did, because I was completely drained.

It was nice having Erin tell me to go home early in the evening. Though I did want to stay and hang out with people I hadn't seen in a while, I think I needed to be told that it was OK to look out for myself and get some rest. Too often I'll want to go home but get persuaded to stay out, and then feel crappy later.

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I'm really glad I worked from home, and that's always a tough decision because I don't really like doing it, so it helped to have the extra reassurance. That night, though, texting Erin about which drink to have next felt like an afterthought; I totally forgot that the experiment was still going on for a good portion of the night. Although I think of myself as never knowing what to drink at bars and never being able to make up my mind in social settings, it really wasn't that bad in the moment.

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

* The decisions I get stuck on the most are often small ones. I knew from the beginning that I get a lot of anxiety surrounding making small, often unimportant decisions (like choosing an outfit in the morning), and that was true during this week too.

* I actually wasn't as indecisive as I thought I would be. When Erin and I decided to start the experiment, I thought I would have tons of decisions that I would need help making, because I feel like I'm always asking people for advice. But I think those situations are more isolated than I think they are. By the end of the week, asking Erin to make decisions for me ended up feeling like a bit of an obligation because I wasn't indecisive enough.

* Even though it wasn't necessarily the aim of the experiment, I gained valuable insight on how to spend my free time. One night when I was feeling too exhausted to work on a personal project after work (I had been getting sick for a few days, but didn't realize), Erin told me I should use my after-work time to wind down and relax, and instead make extra time in the morning to work. I really liked this idea. It made me feel like I had the tools to manage my time better; I wouldn't have to stay up late working, and eating dinner wouldn't have to be an afterthought. I could turn my brain off for the night and be more awake in the morning.

I've been trying to keep this practice in mind even after the end of the experiment, but of course, it's easier said than done.

I am in no way a morning person. I think much better, and more creatively, at night. I'm not giving up, though! I don't think it's impossible at all to change my routine, and it also really helps knowing that Erin, someone the same age as me and in the same situation, has a routine like this.

* I didn't consider myself to be a decisive person until one day in a meeting Andrea mentioned she wasn't one. "Oh," I said, thinking about it for less than three seconds. "Yeah, I guess I am decisive." But now that our experiment is finished I realized I'm not especially one way or the other, I just don't allow myself to spend a lot of energy making decisions.

* Andrea isn't actually that indecisive, either. She, like most human people, has a lot taking up her mental energy, so little decisions like which clothes to wear or how long to stay at a party pile onto her already full mind, which causes anxiety, and makes her hate making decisions. She didn't need me to make her decisions for her — she just need to lessen the amount of things on her mind.

* The key here, IMHO, is to make time for yourself. Let your brain recharge so you don't get burned out over the little things. And yeah, sometimes that means leaving a party early to lie in your own bed for a few hours. Just be good to yourself!

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