Making decisions is one of those things that some people just have a hard time doing, even deciding on something as simple as what to wear for work is difficult. There are many methods you can use to make better, quicker decisions and they all depend on the circumstances surrounding the decision.
The following strategy has been designed to help with the bigger decisions, the whole strategy is unlikely to be of any use in helping you decide what you want to wear in a morning, however, it doesn’t have to be used in its entirety every time you use it, every decision is unique and every person making the decision is also unique, therefore every strategy to assist you in making good decisions should also be unique. You can pick and choose which parts work for you and apply them to smaller decisions as and when appropriate. This strategy has six stages and they are;
• Brainstorming all of the possible choices
• Defining timescales and decision-making responsibilities
• Clarify the context surrounding the situation
• Assessing the risks
• Assessing the pros and cons of all possible choices
• Making the final decision
This may sound like a lot of work to make one decision but isn’t it what you do anyway? For example, when deciding what to wear for work;
First you look for options, you know you need put something on soon or you’ll be late for work, it must be appropriate attire for work. If you wear the pink shirt will you be ridiculed, if you wear the short skirt you may be told it’s inappropriate. Is it a normal day at the office or will you be going for an interview for a promotion, finally having all the information to hand you can decide.
What you’re going to wear today is quite a small decision and you’ll whizz through the six steps without even realising it, however, if you have a big decision to make you may need to consciously work through them step by step.
To start you’ll want to brainstorm all of the possible choices. At this point try to move your objective mind out of the way, usually you’ll think of something then another thought may creep in telling you to dismiss the idea. Don’t. Don’t censor anything at this point, write down every idea or choice that springs to mind, even if it sounds stupid you may be able to adapt the idea or use it as a spring board for other ideas.
Now that you’ve got your potential solutions make sure you have a deadline for when the decision needs to be made, this is important, if you don’t put a deadline on it you’ll put off making the decision and in the end, may never make one and be a victim of circumstance. Remember, choosing not to decide is still making a decision and you’ll need to face the consequences either way.
Ensure you understand the context in which the decision needs to be made, for example, if someone asked you your favourite colour and you didn’t know, who cares but if that person had a gun to your head then you better pick a colour or you may never make another decision again.
Assess the risks, if you don’t answer your friends question the risk is minimal however if someone has a gun to your head and tells you to decide or die, then the risk is extremely high.
Taking all of the potential choices, you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons of each one. For example, if you were acquiring a rare fruit needed for making medicine and there were two medicines it was needed for but you only have enough fruit for one you may need to access where the greatest need is, can one medicine save more lives than another, does this make it more important than the other or are there more factors to consider?
Now that you have some potential choices, a deadline, the context, you’ve assessed the risks and have ordered the solutions by importance it’s time to weigh everything against all the pros and cons.
The final step is to dismiss most of the choices until you have only three serious contenders left. Any more than three choices will leave you with analysis paralysis. Using all of the work you’ve done to this point make the final decision.
This is by far one of the best decision-making processes you’ll ever come across, the main reason for this is it’s simple, it may take you a while to come to the decision but any ambiguity is massively reduced with this method. Don’t try to over complicate things just follow the steps and you’ll be making decisions easier and better than ever before.
Decision-making, making a decision, Indecisiveness