I think I’ve been under some misguided notion that life will get easier as time goes by—at least when it comes to the things I’ve been doing for years.

I’ve been in the workplace for over 44 years, and a homeowner for over 35. That’s a lot of time to repeat activities, learn the ropes and to become a bit wise about some things.

But now more than ever, I feel my attention to detail needs to be spot on for me not to screw things up. Let me tell you about some of things that have become harder.

For starters, hiring an employee. The labor laws are dizzying, and each year brings brand new requirements. For a small nonprofit like ours, just finding a job application that complies with current regulations is a challenge.

Then there’s entering into a contract, for example with an insurance provider or a contractor.

It requires reading pages of fine print and thinking about all options and possibilities before signing on the dotted line.

I recently purchased a new sofa and had to choose style, size, depth, color, fabric, cushions and price. I think the last sofa I purchased I saw on the showroom floor with the ticket price attached and said, “That’s the one!”

Looking at new cookware challenged me to consider types and sizes of pans, along with the cost, quality and material. I remember my first set of Revere Ware cookware, which was the same brand and style my mother and grandmother used.

To me, it was a simple choice. Those pans had produced many great meals for them, and they hopefully would for me, too.

I believe decisions have become more complicated because things are just so expensive and complex these days, and making wrong choices can result in greater negative consequences.

I’m fortunate to be married to a guy who loves to read contracts, so that helps. But, when it comes to decisions I must make at work, or design choices, those are left to me.

Given that I’m a worrywart about doing the wrong thing, I’ve adopted coping strategies to make my complex choices a bit easier. First, I try to do my homework. Before I make any significant decisions, I conduct internet research using search terms like “What to consider when . . .,” “How to choose the best . . .” or “Current regulations for . . . .”

Second, I ask trusted friends, especially if they have expertise in certain areas. My fellow homeowners association board members are trusted advisors for all things home repair and maintenance. My gal pal and my sister have great eyes for design. And, I may have to pay a few dollars, but our labor attorney is worth his weight in gold for all things human resource.

I’m a great list maker. That helps me to stay on track with small details that affect the overall outcome. If I’m talking to a service provider, I get multiple quotes. We have a policy at work that all expenditures over a certain amount must have three bids. It takes time, but I have found I learn a lot when comparing all the proposals at once. Different quotes always lead to asking more questions, and that helps inform better decisions.

Lastly, I try to stay organized. For example, before going to pick a sofa, I brought in color samples of the wall and floor, the throw pillows I plan to use and a photo of the room. Also, I neatly organized in a notebook my bathroom remodel plans, budget, design choices and product quotes.

I know I’m blessed with a job and some savings to spend on replacement items. That is even more reason why I find myself worrying about big decisions—I want to make the best choices along the way and not waste time or money.

Thank goodness my coping strategies make it a little easier, because I am pretty sure that life is not going to get less complex anytime soon.

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