6 Decision Making Tips to Help You Stay Productive

Imagine you’ve been offered a job, but you’re caught between having the stability and good friendships that you’ve got in your existing job… and the improved opportunities of your new one.

You like the idea of moving up the ladder and earning more, but pulled by the comfort zone you’ve created.

You sway back and forth.

You make a decision. You’re going to leave and give the new opportunity a go.

Ten minutes later, you change your mind. Doubt has crept in. Perhaps it’s best if you stay.

Like a pendulum, you’re tilting backwards and forwards.

It’s no good. You can’t decide!

It’s Hard Being a Leader!

It’s the same when you’re a leader. You may be presented with numerous issues and decisions on a regular basis.

Just like making them for your own career choices, you need to make a decision. You can’t let things just pass you by.

Here’s the truth: no-one makes the right decisions, all the time.

The problem that most people face is that they resist making tough decisions, because they’re hellbent on making the right decision…

And so, they often end up making no decision.

Which is still a decision. It’s just not a good one.

Use the decision-making tips in this article to help you overcome decision making inertia.

Here are the 6 steps to better decisions.

6 Quick Steps

Ok, so we’ve identified the limiting biases that can hold us back in making decisions.

Now it’s time to put them together into a common decision-making model.

If you’re eager to get going, then here’s the model:

  • Step 1: Stop giving yourself Analysis Paralysis;
  • Step 2: Don’t Sleep on It;
  • Step 3: Write Your Decision Down;
  • Step 4: Identify the pros and cons;
  • Step 5: What happened before?;
  • Step 6: Trust your gut (5 second rule).

Decision Making Tips – Step 1: Avoid Analysis Paralysis

Analysis paralysis comes from over thinking a problem. Ever been there? We have a problem. We then identify some solutions. And then we go back and forth in our minds, questioning everything.

We then return and delve deeper, and deeper.

You constantly question where either decision is right or wrong.

Some people also analyse the decision to the n’th degree, even after they’ve taken it. This only adds to your anxiety.

Once you’ve taken that decision, forget about it. Move on.

Try not worry until you’ve seen the results. Because the moment you think about the results, that’s when the anxiety kicks in.

This will free up your emotional and physical time to work on more of the important things you must do.

Decision Making Tips – Step 2: Don’t Sleep on Your Decision

It’s usually suggested that you sleep on your decision. This only adds to anxiety and analysis paralysis. After all, instead of spending just enough time to make a decision, you keep it with you day and night…to compound things further!

When you have the facts, don’t spend long to think about the decision. Go with the process; make the decision and move on.

What needs to be decided, needs to be decided!

Take out some time of the day. At least three to four hours on that decision. Don’t do anything else, but research and sit on it.

Don’t over think it and over analyse. Here, you will think about the pros and cons of the decision.

You’ll review all the details and information about the decision and the potential outcomes.

And where needed, spend the time to talk about it with people in your team and those you’re close to.

Get their opinion and grounding, and clarity.

Decision Making Tip: Ensure you block book some time to go through all decisions, and don’t get distracted on anything else.

But don’t sleep on it!

Decision Making Tips – Step 3: Use the 10-10-10-10 Strategy

Look to the future.

Is what you’re about to do a good decision in 10 minute’s time?

What about 10 day’s time?

And 10 week’s time?

How about 10 month’s time?

The point is, look to the future and verify if it could be a good idea. How does it stand the test of time?

What could change? How would that effect other things?

Think about the impact of the decision on the present.

The impact on the mid term.

And the longer term impact.

This concept will help you take a quick decision so you don’t have to worry too much without analysing it.

Decision Making Tips – Step 4: Write Down the Problem

It’s worth taking note of the pros and cons of each idea / solution.

You can increase your chances of success by using a decision making tool to help you do this.

Ask: how will the decision affect my team / me? What could go wrong? How can it benefit us against the success criteria?

By doing this, you’ll be able objectively analyse the problem and solutions.

This will help you understand it at a much-detailed level. When you write the problem, and possible solutions down, you use your subconscious to help impact it, too.

This approach gives you time to calm down. To reduce anxiety in your decision making, and to logically accept the decision.

Decision Making Tips – Step 5: What Worked Before?

Conduct research about the decision that you’re making. It’s highly likely that someone’s been in this position before, so why not learn from them?

Speak to your network. Ask them if they’ve had a similar problem.

What did they do well?

What not so well?

What lessons could you learn from?

What would they do now?

It’s always best to get a second opinion, rather than just your own opinion. Doing this provide a fresh pair of eyes, another opinion and grounding.

Decision Making Tips – Step 6: Use Your Gut

We can easily over complicate problems. This means heightening it to unprecedented levels. The reality is that most of the time, answers are normally a whole lot simpler.

When you take over-importance out of something you’re stuck on – and by this I mean to not dwell on it and turn it into a beast of a problem through worry and fear… then simply relaxing and forgetting about it temporarily pays dividends.

Only when you have peace, you can then use your gut.

Your gut feel is more than just a heads or tails process. Your gut represents your sub conscious mind becoming more involved.

As a rule of thumb, look at the problem, analyse the various decisions… and then quickly decide within 5 seconds of going through this data.

This 5 second rule is powerful because in the first 5 seconds of making a decision, you’re using your sub conscious rather than your logical thinking brain. Beyond this threshold, you’ll start to break it apart, challenge your thinking, go through the pros and cons and lose focus on your instinctive answer.

From my experience, when you’re more attune with your sub conscious, and make decisions based more on gut, most of them are usually right!