Timeless Rules for Making Tough Decisions
Every day, whether we’re at home or in the office we’re constantly bombarded by tough decisions. Simple choices such as what to have to lunch or when to go to the gym can produce a surprising amount of indecision and procrastination. When it comes to more complex choices, many of us struggle to make the right decisions without wasting time. However with a little bit of discipline and strategy, anyone can improve their decision making under pressure.
1. Weigh Up the Pros and Cons
If you want to be able to make tough decisions regularly, you’re going to need to get good at weighing up your options. Simply writing down on a piece of paper the pros and cons of a decision can help you to identify the right course of action. Whether you’re on a train or on a desktop computer you record the pros and cons on a notepad or a spreadsheet.
Once you’ve got the pros and cons recorded down in front of you, you can leave them for an hour before going back to take a second look. When you come back you’ll have the logical choices written down on paper so they won’t be floating around in your head and you’ll be in a better position to make an informed decision.
2. Keep Background Decision Making to a Minimum
In order to make good decisions on a regular basis, you need to be able to concentrate. If you’ve been worrying about minor decisions all day, it’s easy to find yourself fatigued and unable to focus on making more difficult decisions. Simply setting a schedule or following a certain pattern of behavior can help to cut down on the decisions you need to make throughout the day.
If you find it difficult to prepare dinner when you come home from work, cook the night before and store it in the fridge! Developing a routine that you can run to on autopilot can be a great way to free up some mental energy. You’ll also give yourself much more time to consider your decisions as well.
3. Compromise (Take the Line of Best Fit Approach!)
When it comes to more complex decisions, it’s important to remember that your decision-making doesn’t have to be perfect every single time. For example, if you believe that you need to let an employee go but are put off by the prospect of being short staffed whilst you replace them, consider if it’s worth compromising.
Weighing up the short-term inconvenience of being short staffed against your long-term productivity can help you to come to the decision to bite the bullet and let the member of staff go. The line of best-fit approach is centered on the idea that you opt for a decision that’s a step in the right direction even if it involves an element of compromise.
The rationale is that your decision doesn’t have to be perfect, but the fact that you have assesse the outcome of your decision and taken action is much better than being stuck in paralysis by analysis. It’s not always possible to make the perfect decision, but making a prompt decision can help to bridge the gap.
4. Stop Procrastinating
In the workplace, one of the biggest killers of decision-making and productivity is procrastination. Many department leaders find procedures grind to a halt as difficult decisions are commonly put off or avoided. All too often, these decisions are perceived as being too large to handle. Yet part of being a leader, and making good decisions is confronting your problems head on and deciding on a swift course of action.
Next time you’re dreading making a complex decision write down a deadline and consider your options. Recording a deadline ensures that you have scheduled a time to confront your decision and take action. If you need to, write down your options on a piece of paper and consider the best decision to make. Just don’t let yourself go over the deadline without having made a decision!
Have Faith in Your Decision Making
The most important thing to remember is that you need to have confidence in your decision-making. If you take the time to consider your options and act promptly you’ve done more than enough to make a solid decision. All too often, we become perfectionists obsessed with making the ideal solution. Yet we don’t need to make perfect decisions. In most cases, deciding on one course of action is better than doing nothing.
Save for financial investments, there are few mistakes that can’t be corrected or moved on from. If you make a creative mistake or hire the wrong member of staff chalk it up to experience and move on to confront your next decision. The more you hone your decision making by committing to taking action, the more you’ll be able to make the right decisions.