The same thing that keeps you physically on track can keep your day on track

Successfully Subdue the Overwhelming Options in Your Day

A little guidance can keep your day on track


Last week, I was picking up some things at a nearby Super Target. (I love the place because if there’s something I’m looking for, they probably have 37 different varieties of it.)

As I wandered through the toy section, I encountered a dad kneeling on the floor, eye to eye with his two kids, who were probably around 5 and 7 years old. Spreading his arms wide and gesturing to the aisles packed with toys, he told them, “Each of you can pick something out that costs $25 or less. Have fun!”

Now you would have thought the kids would have jumped up and down excitedly. Look what they now had: the freedom to pick what they wanted and the opportunity to choose something they may have never had the chance to play with before.

But no. They stood there, stunned at the overwhelming options of toys filling the shelves.

Technically they now had free rein to do what every kid dreams of, picking out exactly what they wanted. But with too many options to comprehend, they stood glued to the spot. The endless possibilities made it impossible to make a simple decision.

This is the same thing that can happen to your day when you are presented with too many options and don’t have enough boundaries in place.

This most often occurs when you encounter a day where you don’t have any set deadlines or outcomes planned. Any and all the choices are available for you to choose from.

But what ends up happening with those days?

Nothing that you were hoping would because, with all the choices and options, settling down and focusing on what’s important and needed becomes impossible.

Rather than rationally figuring out what to do, your brain defaults to the most effortless, mindless activity. And once locked in and engaged, it can’t seem to find its way back to doing anything but gorging on dopamine-inducing things like social media, games, email, and non-stop shows on tv.

When this happens, you and your brain could benefit from some guardrails.



Ellen Goodwin

Productivity Consultant, TEDx Speaker, Podcast Co-host, Author of DONE: How To Work When No One Is Watching. Learn more at