Do you ever struggle with indecision?
Sometimes, right? And I’m betting it’s usually about something small too, like what to eat for dinner or if you should finish your work tomorrow when you feel more rested.
It’s really no surprise, life is nothing more than a bunch of small-scale decisions. But here’s the thing, all those decisions eventually add up.
And together, they can drastically alter your life, especially when it comes to productivity.
Decisions can occur before, during, and after work sessions. And a single decision alone can throw your productivity out the window if it’s handled inefficiently. All it takes is that you spend a few precious minutes weighing a decision, and before you know it you’ve wasted an hour doing nothing.
Luckily though, there are some simple tips that can prevent this from happening to you ever again.
You don’t make fast and effective decisions
Maybe you think it’s smarter to carefully weigh your options and scrutinize every single detail. Well, that “sort of” works, but ultimately it ends up costing you more time than the outcome warrants.
The truth is this – the majority of decisions you make only need to be “good enough.” If you make a string of “good enough” decisions, you still get great results out of it because you accomplished something, so long as you acted on those decisions.
But considering the time and energy it takes to go beyond making a good decision, and the fact that slow and thoughtful decision making doesn’t always lead to significantly better results, makes slow decision making the lesser choice in most situations.
Most people don’t drastically alter the way they make decisions in life. Some people don’t think their decisions through at all, leading to reckless behavior. Others though, can spend all day on a decision and still having nothing the next day. You, of course, are the latter (or else why would you be reading this?). The question is – how do you fix it?
Slow decision makers struggle because they don’t know how to leave the “information gathering” process of decision making.
1. Limit decision making time
To the slow decision maker, extra time is useless. It’s just going to be spent gathering more information not really needed.
Instead, you should force efficiency by establishing a time limit. A time limit will urge you to restrict thinking to only the most important criteria (see tip #2 for more info), streamlining your decision making process.
The limit should be dependent on the importance of the decision, but in general 2-5 minutes should be adequate for 90% of decision making.
This time limit works because most decisions are small-scaled; try not to increase it if you can.
2. Establish the minimum criteria
If you’re a stickler for needing “more information,” then you should focus on the most basic, essential criteria needed to make a decision and no more.
Just say “I only need x,y, and z.” If one of your options has those essential characteristics, then that’s the correction option. Don’t see if something else is “a little better,” make the decision and move on with your life.
3. Keep a backup decision in mind
Some decisions we make on a regular basis (e.g. what should I have for dinner?). In these cases it’s best to have a backup decision in case you find yourself wasting more time than you should on a small-scale decision.
Example, don’t know where to eat? Mcdonald’s is your backup decision. Simple, right?
(That’s just an example, I don’t recommend making Mcdonald’s your backup decision for food).
This is a perfect tip if find yourself making the same decision on a regular basis, especially if it costs you time.
4. Make many small decisions
The best decisions are the ones based on experience. If you can, make as many decisions as you can and learn all you can from each outcome.
This way you’ll build up a knowledge base that lets you naturally make quicker and faster decisions over time.
5. Favor action over perfection
Finally, be of the mindset that action is more powerful than a perfectly crafted decision.
Sure, a well thought out decision can be a great thing. But here’s the thing, unless it’s a big-picture decision, it isn’t worth expending the energy. Like I said, 90% of decisions are small-scale. Over time, though, they can add up and become something big. But if you aren’t constantly refining your decision-making through practice, those decisions won’t amount to anything great.
Over to you
Are you a fast or slow decision maker? Do you have any decision-making tips to teach me? Leave your answer below because I’d love to hear it. 🙂