When You Fail ‘Decision Making’

Decision Making and Reasoning: D

I’d been nervous to show mom my not-so-stellar freshman grades. I’d expected lectures and disappointment. But I hadn’t expected laughter.

So. Much. Laughter.

“That’s our Kendra – she failed ‘decision making’!”

My efforts to explain that the course wasn’t a how-to so much as a how-do — as in, how do humans make decisions — went unheard in the frivolity over my bad grade.

I eventually mastered the material. In fact, I teach some of it each year to my own students. But I still have difficulty making decisions.

As I tried to come up with a daily routine {you know, once and for all}, I pondered the list of things I want to accomplish each day.

Bible reading and quiet time, exercise, writing, reading.

Learning (and implementing) new information about blogging and social media.

Making and eating nutritious meals {yes, at times I need reminders to eat – another reason I get made fun of mercilessly}.

And that is all before the day begins.

There are work chores and home projects and spending time with loved ones and necessary beauty regimens {does a shower count as a “beauty regimen”?}

Unlike the stereotypical pre-teen, I can never claim to be bored. I am blessed with so many options, so many things I want to do (and some things I need to do) that I can’t seem to fit them all in.

A rational person {do any of those truly exist outside the land of fairies and unicorns?} would recognize her limitations and exclude some activities.

But I failed Decision Making and Reasoning, remember?

I get stuck. Which do I choose? How do I prioritize?

It’s hard to give up Bible reading and study. It feels like saying no to God. Which is easy – God isn’t standing there with a forlorn look on his face, distraught that there is no one else to commandeer the bake sale – but ultimately convicting. Isn’t spending time in His Word for a few minutes the very least I can do each day? And the answer comes back with a resounding, Yes! It is the very least you can do.


But also we’re supposed to treat our bodies well. I’m not entirely sure that includes supermodel workouts and 4-minute planks, but my body works better when I exercise a bit. And if my husband finds me cuter, that’s certainly not a bad thing {does it also count as “working on our relationship?”}

Then there are long-term and momentary projects, deciding which things are selfish and which things help me to do life with someone else.

But how to decide?

Oh. You thought I’d have an answer? My bad.

After 40+ years of deciding, through various seasons and changes, I still don’t have a firm plan.

But it’s a little like tending the garden.

At our house, we plant only things that make us smile. And the more work required, the more it better make us smile. Because there will be light weeding and fertilizing.

But there will also be major overhaul days, when the weeds are insane or the deck needs to be stained or we need to transfer twenty six and a half cubic yards of bark-o-mulch from the driveway to the back yard {did I mention it’s all uphill, and includes fourteen steps?}

Some days deciding really is a matter of doing the thing that’s right in front of you, fluctuating between picking small weeds now or letting them pile up until a big weeding day is necessary.

And some days you find, in the midst of tending the garden, that you accomplish several goals at once. It turns out hauling bark-o-mulch, besides working on our literal garden, is a great way for hubby and me to spend some time together. And the workout is amazing!

I still don’t have a daily routine. Or even, some days, a plan for my life. But I’m learning to be more comfortable with that. With doing the thing that’s right in front of me and hoping the important things get done.

In fact, I was even feeling good about it until I realized I’m about to make popcorn at 11:00 at night because I forgot to eat dinner. Oh well.

How do you decide on a daily routine, or prioritize tasks? I’d love to hear your thoughts. {No, seriously.}



  1. Kaye Sims

    This post made me chuckle because I’ve been dubbed the worst decision-maker in the world by my kids. And priorities? Oh, my! I really struggle with those, too – namely remembering to stick with the things that I finally decided I wanted to do. I’ve tried to-do lists and ta-dah! lists and master lists and everything in between. None of them seem to work all the time, but some of them work sometimes.

    • Kendra Burrows

      “Some of them work sometimes” – you are so right on, Kaye! It seems when life seasons change (whatever that happens to mean) the system needs to be adjusted. Glad to know it’s not just me! 😉 Blessings.

  2. Lisa

    Thanks for this. It makes me feel a little less crazy for having to focus on this very thing after ’50+’ years! Ugh. And, yes, I thought you’d have an answer. 🙂
    So really? You want to hear thoughts? Ok…since you asked.
    I have literally made three Pinterest boards (secret boards, that is. I did say I felt crazy for this, right?) One titled, “This Is Important to Me” with pics depicting my overall life priorities. One titled “Daily Pics” that holds lots of pictures of chores or daily intentions to draw from each morning and pin on the third board, titled “A Wonderful ToDay!” This board becomes my daily To Do list.I leave it up on my laptop all day, revisiting it in case I get distracted. I make sure to visit the “Important to Me” board often so I’m sure to schedule my priorities rather than prioritize my schedule.
    Is it helping? Yep. I’m getting more done and feeling a bit less scattered. Added plus…it’s pretty to look at and thus more motivating for me. Setting up that Daily Pic board was time consuming (although fun!) as I wanted a variety of pics for the same goal (like “Pray”) so my daily board doesn’t bore me with the same look, but each day picking my “daily pics” takes only a couple minutes…always keeping the Important things in mind.
    Does this let you know how desperate I am to make daily/life decisions? 😉

    • Kendra Burrows

      I LOVE this, Lisa! My ‘crazy’ often manifests itself in the search for the perfect planner. Because once I find the perfect planner, then my life will be organized, right? I even once made my own – it lasted almost two years before I decided I was unorganized again. Hee hee. So glad you stopped by and shared your Pinterest idea! Blessings


  1. Do Easy Decisions Make You Feel Dumb? You’re Not Alone - […] This isn’t the only decision I’ve had difficulty with; in fact, I have a history of poor decision skills.…

Hi, I’m Kendra

I help bright, successful over-thinkers change their negative thoughts using Scripture and the science of how God made you.

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