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I had finished the book I was reading, had no lingering work to complete, and Don was chasing a deadline, so would be tied up for hours. It was late enough not to want to start a new project of my own, so I snuggled into bed with the remote control.

It isn’t often I have the remote all to myself, and while Don and I share similar taste in what to watch on TV, it isn’t identical. I was excited by the opportunity to find something a bit different.

I began scrolling through my options.

This looks potentially interesting, but what about that? What a cool premise ...

But wait — hadn’t Diane mentioned how much she loved the one about the displaced rich family? And remember how excited that new Disney addict at work was over the show about ...

I clicked off the television and picked up a book I’d read once before, rather than attempt to choose something new.

It had been a day so filled with decisions — every one of them minor — yet it left me feeling incapable of making even one more.

When my daughter was little, she would often stand before her open closet, frozen in place. If told to “Just pick something!” she’d unravel. If I chose for her, even worse. Then came the time we were out of town for the weekend and she had only three outfits from which to choose. No meltdown occurred.

It was then I realized that — just like her momma — Celeste would get paralyzed by having too many choices.

Generally speaking, having lots of options is seen as a good thing. Visit our website and view our huge selection! Our massive inventory!

But marketing studies indicate people can only deal with so many choices before losing their ability to decide sensibly between one thing or another.

Many times, I will go online to make a simple purchase, only to get waylaid by reading reviews, comparing prices, searching for coupon codes or free shipping deals. I become so determined to get the best deal that I either take no action at all or impulsively select whatever I am on when I reach Enough!

For most of my life, I’ve had an issue with jumping from one project to the next without finishing the one that I started. I have all these ideas I want to write about. One will surface for a time and I’ll deep-focus there for a bit, until it gets interrupted by another that gets me so excited, I’ll run down that track for a while.

When I have too much to choose from, I’m seldom satisfied with the decisions I end up making, certain I could’ve chosen better. When I have only a few, I can narrow my focus and feel good about what I end up selecting. Where I end up spending my time.

This year, I’m determined to narrow my choices however I can. A year of this or that.

When there are too many voices, all speaking at once, it becomes impossible to hear what just one of them is saying.

I’ve realized how much happier and less stressed I am when my options are few. There is something about this COVID-limited world that is making this particular issue a little more manageable. It’s whittling my options.

A smaller world might not seem as exciting, but it’s far easier to navigate.

And to conquer.

Karin Fuller can be reached at