Making decisions can be hard. Sometimes we can get trapped by the potential impact of the decision we have to make. These top tips will help you with the process.
GUT FEELING IS NOT TO BE RELIED UPON
While you may want to rely on instinct, don’t overlook facts and information. Your gut feeling will only get you so far, particularly if you have to explain your decision to others!
WRITE IT DOWN
It can be difficult to keep track of all the facts and information involved in making a decision so get into the habit of writing everything down in a systematic way. For example, using pros and cons may make the decision easier.
STRONG FEELINGS CAN MAKE JUDGEMENT DIFFICULT
Your decision may feel objective, but if you have strong feelings about it, or it feels stressful, your judgement may be distorted. You may be able to reduce the stress by talking about the decision-making process to someone else, try putting it to one side for a moment or give yourself more time to consider it.
While we might tend to make a decision ‘in the moment’, sometimes it is better to allow yourself more time. You should check early on when the decision needs to be made to make sure you have the time to obtain the relevant facts before deciding. Rushing into a choice could force you into making the wrong one!
It is not often that we know the full consequences of a decision. Many choices are made using estimates of what might happen in a variety of situations, and as a result, there will always be an element of doubt. If you have access to any simple statistical methods (regression analysis for example), these can help give substance to your final decision process.
THE SUBCONSCIOUS MIND
If you have a complex, difficult decision to make, you can give yourself more opportunity to fine-tune your decision by sleeping on it. Even without being awake, your brain can work, like a computer, going through facts and judgements, so that when you wake up the next day, you may be clearer about what to do.
It is tempting only to use information that confirms your point of view. However, this can cause us to make poor decisions. It is more effective to look for anything that goes against your point of view, to ensure you have a robust argument.
RELYING ON THE PAST
Some decisions, like financial forecasts, tend to be made looking only at the past. However, just because something happened in the past doesn’t mean it will in the future.
Not all choices can be reduced to financial ones. Many can have an impact in non-financial areas, like employee satisfaction and so should not be made monetary.
KNOW YOUR OWN MIND
You may find that within your decision-making group, you have someone who has the ability to easily sway others, either through the force of their personality or their position of authority. Ensure that when you have made your decision, you are happy with it, and it belongs to you.