Sports Brackets – Not Just For Sports

When you read the word “bracket,” what do you think of? If you were into March Madness and the NCAA college basketball tournament, you’re aware that the winner was crowned on Monday night. Perhaps, like me, you downloaded the PDF so you could easily follow your favorite teams and write in the scores.

This post is not about college basketball. It’s about something more important.

Do you have decisions to make? Or maybe your children are stuck and unable to move forward because they’re overwhelmed by the choices they need to make. Let me recommend the use of brackets like the NCAA uses.

For years, I’ve used sports brackets for making simple decisions and decisions that are more complicated. For instance, not too long ago, I was trying to decide what part of my house to clean and I realized I was wasting a lot of time by being indecisive. So, near the top of a piece of paper, I wrote “kitchen counters/cupboards.” At the bottom, I wrote “sort through clothes in both closets.” Below the kitchen comment, I wrote “sort through papers” and above the one on the bottom about my clothes, I wrote “clean the bathtub and bathroom.” Under papers, I wrote “dust nativities” and below that I wrote “deal with stuff on top of the dresser.” It looked like this.

          #1 – kitchen counters/cupboards

          #3 – sort through papers

          #5 – dust nativities

          #6 – dresser

          #4 – clean bathtub and bathroom

          #2 – sort through clothes

Start the Competition

Now, just like teams competed against each other, the kitchen counters competes against sorting through papers and I make a decision on which of those two I am more willing to do. As you can see from my diagram below, I continued the competition until the task of “sort through papers” won.

I know young people who successfully use this system to decide who to invite to see a movie.

  • Julie
  • Alex
  • Chris
  • Alana
  • Rick

Couples can use this idea when they can’t agree on which restaurant to go to on a Saturday night.

  • Olive Garden
  • Logan’s
  • Red Lobster
  • Chili’s
  • Applebee’s
  • On The Border

Homeschool parents can use this system when being indecisive about what kind of art medium to use for a project or which kind of spelling review to use. Can you picture these lists and predict the process?

The key is to always put the first thing you think of at the top, the second thing at the bottom, the third back up at the top, the fourth near the bottom, etc.

The Competition Continues

There’s one more key. When using this idea for things like cleaning, I choose among the remaining five the next time, and then four, etc. If I don’t, and I always start over with new ideas, I may never clean my bathtub!

We must stop being disappointed in ourselves when we can’t seem to make up our minds. We must stop yelling at our children when they can’t make decisions. Instead we can offer hope and help with practical suggestions. Today, I hope that my suggestion to use a sports bracket method of deciding has been helpful to you.