Put some time into doing what you love and chances are you’ll be faced with lots of decisions, both big and small. For me this has always been a sticking point, I have a tendency to overthink the decision making process, pondering all the different potential scenarios and outcomes, seeking advice from everyone I knew and always, without fail, taking way too long to decide which side of the fence I want to be on. But the thing I’ve learnt is that this is often complete waste of time, taking ages to decide leaves you with less time to actually get on and do what you need to do – therefore poor decision making = inefficiency. Don’t I know it! In the last year or so I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to be more decisive, and have researched a few ideas and applied them to the way I operate (but naturally I’m still learning). Read on for a few thoughts about making decisions.
Apply your values
In this post I talked about doing some exercises to understand your values, and they definitely apply here too. Knowing more about what’s important to you is essential for good decision making – and reminding yourself of these when a major decision comes up can be helpful. Do you value financial security over creative pursuits, or vice versus?
Go with your gut
Remember when your maths teacher told you that the first multiple choice question you select is more likely to be correct? As true now as it ever was – I know from personal experience that after going around and around I usually come back to my initial reaction (or have become lead astray by overthinking which is never good).
Take advice with a grain of salt
If you’re like me, as soon as you’re faced with a decision you call up a friend or ask your family. Completely natural, but often the opinions of others are steeped in their own values, personalities or past experiences. I would never say not to ask your loved ones for their take, but I’ve learnt to try to stay in tune with what my gut is telling me, rather than letting someone else’s opinion make up my mind for me.
Try the ‘flip a coin’ method
OK so this isn’t what it sounds like and is something that my crazy family does. When faced with a decision, flip a coin on it and use the outcome to analyse your reaction. Are you pleased with the forced outcome of the heads or tails or do you wish it was the other side of the coin? I often find this is a great way to make small decisions.
If you’ve ever googled an illness you’ll know that too much information can be very very bad for you (how many times have I thought I had some awful disease!?). Research is important however sometimes too much of it can lead to further confusion and a whole lot of overthinking. These days I try to be targeted in researching a decision I need to make, and when it comes to online research (cos where else does it happen these days?) I’ve learnt to stay away from forums – which are generally filled with all the worst case scenarios and are sure to give you a rash.
Don’t be (too) afraid to get it wrong
Not every decision you make will be the right one, there’s no way around that. But as long as it’s a not life and death situation, every not quite right decision equips you with lessons and information that you take with you. So instead of being immobilised by the decision making process, lean in and know it’s a path to better things, or at least better knowledge, hindsight being 20/20 and all.
Ok so these are just some of my thoughts on how to make a decision, do any of you have any other ideas I haven’t touched on?
Typography by Jasmine Dowling