Everyone has to make decisions. Some of those decisions are big, life-altering types of choices. Some decisions are mini half-second opinions. Most of us make those micro decisions quickly and without much thought. But when it comes to the large decisions we hesitate. If we’re honest with ourselves sometimes we wait too long. It doesn’t really matter whether we know the right choice already, we still wait. Sometimes this comes from a fear of failure, but sometimes it comes simply because we don’t like the idea of change.
Wait! I’m not going down that rabbit trail. I am talking today about a different aspect of decision making. Making the hard business decisions. Doing what you know should be done but have waited to do. Procrastinating on decisions already determined. Got it? I’m not talking about rushing into decisions which should be discussed, reviewed, and debated with team members. These are the decisions you’ve already made but don’t implement.
Delaying the inevitable
I’d like to look at only those decisions where you already know the answer or the choice you need to make. To be clear – I’m not debating the question, doubt, or uncertainty of whether or not a decision should be made or a change should be undertaken. I’ve written about that in other posts. Today is looking specifically at those times when you know the right decision but you hesitate in making it. You are only delaying the inevitable. Here’s three ways to help make quicker decisions.
1. Listen to Others
I’m writing this post directly from personal experience. Recently I had to implement a new software solution in the office. We needed just the right system. There were several available options we found on GitHub (because we love open source). I was evaluating them and almost immediately there were some questions raised in regards to one solution. It was written in a different language and required a unique server setup. But I liked it. It looked “pretty” and it seemed like it would do what I wanted. Almost 16 work hours later..I gave up on it. This particular solution just wasn’t ready and if I had listened more to others I might not have tried to make it work as long as I did.
2. Watch the Clock
I touched briefly on this point in the previous paragraph. As you are working through your choices and following your first-choice decision keep an eye on the time you’ve spent. Don’t forget that if you have multiple people working with you on your project then you have to account for all those hours. Yesterday it was two of us working through my first choice and therefore the time spent was doubled. Keeping a close eye on the amount of time spent as you pursue your choice will help you as you determine whether or not you should continue. Quicker decision making means being ready to pull the plug on something and move on if your time involved becomes too great. Be decisive. Be ultra-controlling of your time.
3. Learn from Past
This is a quote by Albert Einstein which I absolutely love. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We laugh and believe we would never be that way but the reality is too often in every day decision making we do this very thing. It’s insane. We believe we have the answers and we forget the lessons we’ve learned in the past. We can help make our decision making better and faster if we learn from our past.
I believe I am making quicker decisions than I used to make. Of course remember I am referring to those decisions where I already know I need to make the decision but procrastinate in actually doing so. It’s a learning process. It’s probably a never-ending learning process. More (and better) experiences help to re-enforce a constant observance of how to improve decision making processes.
By the way, we did scrap my first choice and move to a better solution. The results have been fantastic. The new tool ends up being far far better. I only wish I had been even quicker in my decision making and done what I new would be better earlier; but oh well, live and learn.
Keep this in mind. You only have so much time. Your life is limited and your time is the most valuable asset you have. Don’t squander it. Especially when you already know the decision which needs to be made.
decision making decisions procrastination productivity