Decisions root our workflows. In fact, in their contributions to character, story, and the branches of our days, decisions are arguably fibers of our humanity.

What can be more serious than a decision?

When faced with one, we might carefully plan, fret, or jump without looking.

We can be overwhelmed and do nothing. But even then, doing nothing is a decision, though perhaps unconsciously made.

At other times, we might just hope that an idea will show up out of nowhere to save the day.

Productivity is often considered to be about doing more with less: Work hard, and if that doesn’t work, work harder. If that still doesn’t work, work smarter. Don’t know what that means? … Well, I guess you’re out of luck.

Despite the seriousness of decision, what’s often lost is the importance of play and the opportunities it gives us to practice.

Games, for instance, can be wonderful playgrounds to practice decision…

I may be making a mistake. Our mission could well fail, and it will be my fault. But, I’ve thought this through the best I could. At least I hope I have…

Across the table, my two friends are patiently waiting for my next move. Their snacks are running low. Am I taking too much time?

With a squinting eye and only a moment’s more hesitation, I reach for a card from my hand and place it in front of me:

“A blue 5 is my only blue card…”

And then I think, “Oh sh*t, why did I just do that?”

Games are often relegated to “that other thing”, something to do when there’s nothing else, something without gravitas. But games are deep and complex when their decisions are deep and complex.

The process for making a decision that I often suggest is to:

  • Pause
  • Consciously rest your mind on the decision while doing nothing else
  • Until nothing new about the decision comes to mind, at least for the moment.
  • Schedule a next session to continue the consideration if it seems prudent.
  • Otherwise, choose.

While it seems simple, I find it to be one of the most difficult practices.

But doing so allows thoughts and feelings to come to mind. When struggling, frustrated, or worried, pausing to consciously rest the mind on a decision gives ideas and feelings space to swell and fade into a state of acknowledgment.

Ripples of mental motion still, at least around this one thing. Choices often rest more clearly in front of us, ready for us to pick up and mold into the present.

Whatever we move forward with, will be done with a greater foundation. It will be less impulsive.

A good game creates a space in which conscious deliberation can be practiced.

Certainly, games may be over-indulged. So can pain medicine. So can exercise. So can productivity itself.

With a gentle weaving of play throughout our days, we can often find the rest of our lives enriched. Difficult and “more serious” decisions will be there, but the practice of addressing them will, too.

For a more detailed look at the process of making a decision, consider checking out Module 2 of the Being Productive demo or the Workflow Mastery chapters on Acknowledgement and Silence. For a look at the importance of games and play as a part of learning consider Video Game Play and Addiction: A Guide for Parents.

PS For those curious, the game I was playing above was The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine.