When you own your decisions you own yourself. You live by your values and stop wavering back and forth over matters big and small, whether it’s a business deal, buying a house or ordering breakfast. You take control of your future instead of turning the responsibility over to someone else.
Effective decision-making is a skill that you can polish even if you’ve had trouble making up your mind in the past.
If you want to say goodbye to feeling stymied, try these tips.
Mastering the Decision-Making Process
- Remember your purpose. Think about the essence of who you are and what you want to achieve. Align your choices with your values.
- Gather information. Having an accurate and up-to-date picture of your situation will help you to know what to do. However, research can drag on so long that it becomes a form of procrastination, so put a time limit on it.
- Clarify options. Take into account each of your possible choices. You usually have several reasonable alternatives.
- Weigh different factors. Some items are bound to be more important to you than others. For example, you might compare two job offers by writing down all the criteria, and assigning numbers to them so you can see the one with the highest score based on salary, commute time, and other considerations.
- Make a commitment. Select your favored option and let it sink in. Once you have a clear winner, let go of the temptation to keep rehashing other scenarios.
- Move forward. Put your decision into action. Do what you can to make it work.
- Evaluate your progress. Remember that most decisions are at least somewhat reversible. Analyzing the outcomes will help you enjoy your victory or make some modifications.
Overcoming Obstacles to Decision-Making
- Slow down. Avoid acting on impulse or creating unnecessary pressure on yourself to pick an option when you still feel unsure. You may see things more clearly when you sleep on a decision or talk it over with someone you trust.
- Listen to your feelings. Your emotions often tell you what you really value. Pay attention if an otherwise reasonable choice causes anxiety for you or a less conventional route makes you smile.
- Face your fears. Risks are a natural part of life. Acknowledging your fears allows you to sort through them.
- Limit the choices. It’s possible to have too many options and wind up overwhelmed. Narrow the field down before making a final decision.
- Distance yourself. Imagine what advice you’d give to someone else in the same circumstances. It’s often a quick way to persuade yourself to think more objectively.
- Accept trade-offs. What if several options offer different advantages? At some point, you may have to let something go to gain the things you want more.
- Achieve consensus. Some decisions affect more than one individual and need to be shared. For example, when you’re planning a family, you and your spouse will need to find an arrangement that satisfies both of you.
- Look inward. Confirm that you’re making decisions for yourself instead of following the crowd or trying to please someone else. Your happiness depends on listening to your heart. Your definition of fulfillment and success is what counts.
Indecisiveness can lead to frustration, wasted time, and lost opportunities. Free yourself from excessive doubts and second-guesses. Choose your course and move forward even when the stakes are high. Either the results will turn out in your favor, or you can learn from the experience and make the necessary adjustments.
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Disruption is a chronic problem. Endless construction on roads, subways, and buses that breakdown and bad drivers that make you swerve to avoid being hit. Working in an office or at home is very similar. You are always looking to find peace and quiet, but it is a tough search. Over 50% of workers state that they lost more than an hour a day because of constant disruptions. Take back your day!
The very first thing you must do is decide. Decide what it is that disrupts you from doing your best work. Go grab a coffee at the local shop and take a notebook with you. As you enjoy your brew, go through your day, hour by hour in your mind. Make notes of when you realize that you are being disturbed by others, social media, and anything else that you can think of. Now beside each one of the reasons that you came up with, write down a permanent solution. For example, are you disrupted by something you do, like constantly pulling out your cellphone? If the answer is yes, ask yourself if you truly need that cellphone at your desk? When you are addicted to social media, it is up to you to cure yourself. Go cold turkey now and lock that cellphone up in the glove compartment of your car.
Headphones are no longer just for listening to music. Many companies and work at home folks are switching to wearing headphones. They signal that you are focusing on a task and should not be disturbed unless a meteorite is going to strike in a moment.
Headphones can block out disruptive people and noise. You can wear noise reducers or wear a pair with music/sounds that help you focus on your tasks.
Many disruptions come from being online. You are constantly being bombarded with emails, pop-ups and the like. A very simple way to avoid this disruption is to disconnect from the internet and work offline. When you are working on projects that do not require internet, shut it down or move to a separate computer that does not have internet capability. A lot of people who write for 3 or more hours per day, simply use a separate computer as a word processor. You can sit in a quiet spot at the beach if you wish and type away distraction free.
If you work in a busy office atmosphere, look to see if you can hold different hours than most of your co-workers. Can you start two hours before anyone else comes in? How about starting later in the day and when everyone disappears at five p.m. and you have the whole office to yourself?
Working at home has more possibilities. While not everyone can do this…some people are night owls. They prefer to work from after supper to late in the morning like 3 or 4 a.m. Some even start at midnight. It really is a case of what your body prefers and can handle.
Working at home sounds like a dream. But some people are unable to make it work for them. They feel isolated from society or they cannot control the actions of family or room mates. If you are unable to work without constant interruptions and everything you have tried, doesn’t seem to work…try something else.
Look for very affordable office space. There are many companies that offer rented small offices in a large office space. In those offices, you will get a small office with a door and no phone to bother you. There will be a receptionist at the front, to hold any possible visitors you may have. If you are a cold calling salesperson, you may be in an office next to a novelist. You just never know who is seeking a quiet space to produce quality work.
I publish a monthly enews — Your Business Growth, join 1765 other subscribers who receive their copy, in addition you will get my weekly tips delivered straight to your inbox and free downloads.
Making decisions can be hard work. Studies show that making decisions is quite draining. In fact, there’s a limit to the number of decisions we can comfortably make each day. Many of us get stuck when it comes to making big decisions and this lost time can never be regained. There’s an advantage to being decisive.
Those that struggle with life tend to make decisions slowly and change their mind often. Successful people make decisions quicker and stick with them. If you can be more decisive, it’s likely your life will improve.
Make decisions quickly and confidently with these strategies:
- Understand why you’re hesitating. When you’re stuck, there’s a reason. Figure out what that reason is and you can move forward again. Are you afraid of failing? Making a decision you can’t undo? What’s stopping you from pulling the trigger on your decision and charging full-speed ahead?
- Know your values. Decisions are easier when you know what’s important to you. Having a firm grasp of your values makes many decisions obvious. If you don’t know who you are or what’s meaningful to you, decisions can be tricky.
- If you need to clarify your values, write them down and put them in order. Now see if your decision is easier to make.
- Set a time limit. Stalling rarely results in a better decision. It only wastes valuable time. When you can’t choose between two or three options, it means that they’re equally as good. It would be better to pick one and get busy. Give yourself a day or two to make up your mind and then charge ahead.
- A poor decision is often better than no decision at all. If you’ve given your situation any thought, it’s unlikely you’re even considering a poor decision.
- Make fewer decisions. There’s a reason that many CEOs and even a few presidents choose to wear the same thing each day. It cuts down on the number of decisions they have to make. You can only make so many decisions before your decision-making apparatus becomes fatigued.
- Do the simple things the same way each day, such as eating breakfast. Save your energy for the things that matter. Create as many habits as you can to free up your mind for those important decisions.
- Avoid trying to make the perfect choice. Every option you have available to you has advantages and disadvantages. You’ll never find the perfect option, so avoid wasting your time and energy finding a solution that doesn’t exist. Narrow your options as best you can and then pick something.
- Be clear on what you want to accomplish. What are you hoping to accomplish with your decision? Imagine you are trying to decide between two vacation destinations for your family. Both sound good, but which is the best? That depends on what matters to you.
- Is it important to save money?
- Take your kids to the beach for the first time?
- Go someplace educational or historical?
- Stay close to home?
- Sleep in a tent?
- Think about what you want to accomplish with your decision and the best option will be more apparent.
Do you struggle with the big decisions in life? If so, you’re not alone. Decisions can seem so complicated, but the act of making a decision is often more important than the actual option chosen.
Know yourself and your desired outcome. Narrow your options and make a decision. Then, forge confidently ahead based on whatever decision you’ve made.